Baltic and Nordic Region
‘BLOSSOM – Bridging long-term scenario and strategy analysis: organisation and methods’-Sweden country case study- PDF Print
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EEA Technical report, No 5/2011
European Environment Agency, 2011

This report sets out the current status of the main institutional and governance arrangements for futures thinking in Sweden with respect to environmental — and environment-related — policymaking. It is an update of the case study report completed under the previous Blossom project in October 2009. The report particularly tries to identify the success factors in ensuring futures thinking is embedded in environmental policymaking; however, barriers to success are also identified.

Futures-oriented studies are undertaken in many parts of Swedish government. Moreover, the country has a long tradition of carrying out these sorts of studies: the defence sector was perhaps the first to do so. In the early 1970s, the government created a Secretariat for Future Studies. This body was originally connected to the Prime Minister's Office but, in 1980, it became a unit under the Research Council Committee (Forskningsrådsnämnden) and, in 1987, it became an independent research foundation, the Institute for Future Studies. It should be emphasised that this Institute is in no way a central body for futures-oriented studies. Indeed, one of the key characteristics in Sweden is that futures-oriented work is carried out independently by many different bodies in the public sector.

Sweden has extensively used futures-oriented studies and these have played an important role in shaping environmental policy. Perhaps the most important is the country's long-standing commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development. This has prompted the government to take launch futuresoriented studies and set long-term objectives to achieve these goals. Sweden's commitment prompted the Sweden in the Year 2021 study as well as the creation of the parallel EQOs, which set long-term objectives in order to address key environmental problems within a generation. In effect, the EQOs provide the environmental pillar of Sweden's Sustainable Development objectives.

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‘BLOSSOM – Bridging long-term scenario and strategy analysis: organisation and methods’-Finland country case study- PDF Print
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EEA Technical report, No 5/2011
European Environment Agency, 2011

This report sets out the current status of the main institutional and governance arrangements for futures thinking in Finland with respect to environmental — and environment-related — policymaking. It is an update of the case study report completed under the previous Blossom project in October 2009. The report particularly tries to identify the success factors in ensuring futures thinking is embedded in environmental policymaking; however, barriers to success are also identified.

There is extensive use of futures thinking across the Finnish administration, and the value and benefits it brings to policymaking are explicitly recognised in the structures which formalise the foresight process. The economic recession of the early 1990s, when the country's GDP decreased by over 14 % from its peak and unemployment increased to almost 20 %, signalled the need for a new approach to policymaking. The general consensus across the political spectrum was that the country was completely unprepared for the factors that led to the recession, which highlighted the need to improve the capabilities for anticipating and coping with future developments. To respond to the economic crises, the government demanded information on the major factors likely to affect Finland's future and key policy challenges faced by the country.

Futures studies are initiated and conducted in Finland through the Government Foresight Report and the associated processes and systems.The Committee for the Future contributes to the Government Foresight Report, providing cross-government input into the studies, ensuring the outcomes of the work are communicated to regional actors and providing a mechanism by which feedback from regional stakeholders is incorporated into the committee's response to the government (i.e. the parliament/government futures dialogue). Research institutes, experts (often from academia and industry) and government ministries also contrinute to the Government Foresight Report. The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) is the national research and development institute within the environmental administration of Finland and works with other government ministries on futures-oriented studies to provide advice/input on environmental issues.

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