From visions to scenarios for nature and nature’s contributions to people for the 21st century: workshop report

12-08-2019 | Publication

PBL co-organised a workshop to build on the Nature Futures Framework, developed by the IPBES scenarios and models expert group, which serves to discuss future visions based on how people value nature. The development of scenarios based on this inclusive framework will be an ambitious process that seeks to reflect the plurality of human-nature relationships.

In March 2019, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) expert group on scenarios and models and its technical support unit, which is based at PBL, organised a workshop on Nature Futures. The meeting was hosted by the NF-UBC Nereus Program, the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (PWIAS), and the University of British Columbia, Canada, from 25th to 27th March 2019. It aimed to build on the efforts supported by IPBES to develop a next generation of scenarios on positive futures for nature and people, incorporating potential synergies, trade-offs, and feedbacks between nature, nature’s contributions to people, and human well-being.

Building on the Nature Futures Framework

The workshop, attended by 43 participants, centred around the Nature Futures Framework that emerged from prior stakeholder consultations, and explored the steps required to use the framework for developing scenario narratives. It allowed a familiarisation of the participants with the three perspectives of nature for nature, nature for society/people, and nature as culture, and the exploration of how each of these perspectives would shape the future, focusing on various cross-cutting issues, such as species diversity, indigenous and local knowledge, politics and power, and technology, among others.

Recurring topics of discussions were on:

  • Where the focus of a new generation of scenarios should be within the Nature Futures Framework
  • How to conceptualise the Nature Futures Framework and represent it visually
  • How to use the Nature Futures Framework for scenario development
  • Indicators and modelling of the scenarios
  • Drivers to consider in the scenarios
  • Incorporating socioecological feedbacks into the scenarios
  • How the new scenarios could inform the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) post-2020 agenda

Further development and application of Nature Futures scenarios

The workshop concluded with a positive outlook on the future application and development of the Nature Futures Framework, with participants recognising the abundance of useful content which can be used for communication and policy support. Important next steps were identified, including laying out what can be modelled and what needs to be explored further, and incorporating different policy interventions, key feedbacks, and quantitative and qualitative indicators at different time and spatial scales. Tasks to produce concrete outputs capturing what was done so far have been divided and planned. Participants expressed hope that IPBES will continue to promote participatory approaches that embrace plurality and understanding as a community of practice, and that it will support alignment with the Nature Futures Framework across its various lines of work.

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