Understanding anticipatory climate governance in Central America: The links between anticipation and policy

Anticipation practices, such as participatory scenarios, quantitative scenarios and visioning processes, are increasingly used to imagine how countries will be affected by climate change and to proactively plan climate strategies that preempt major social, economic, environmental and health impacts of climate variability. These anticipatory practices are increasingly used to guide transformative planning processes in vulnerable sectors such as agriculture and livestock. However, these anticipatory processes have not been scrutinized as mechanisms of steering of the future in present planning processes. Anticipatory practices might incorporate framings that unwillingly reinforce inequalities and injustices, particularly in the vulnerable regions of the Global South. – Building on half a decade of foresight research and practice in one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change, Central America, this paper bridges the foresight and governance community in order to critically study foresight as a governance intervention. By analyzing 25 cases of anticipation practices and policy formulation in the aforementioned region, we examine the links between anticipation and policy by addressing first-order questions such as; what type of anticipatory practices are used, who initiates and funds these processes, and who participates? Thereafter, three cases are studied in-depth in order to interrogate more implicit notions of the conception of the future. We analyze how knowable and manageable the future is perceived to be, what the desired end is of engaging with the future and how it is seen to impact policy choices in the present. The analysis in this paper can be used for future research on the role of anticipatory practices in climate change governance and transformation processes. The paper contributes to the Earth System Governance conference stream ´Anticipation and Imagination´, as well as the Earth System Governance Task Force on Anticipatory Governance.

Published on



  • Veeger, Marieke
  • Muidermann, Karlijn
  • Tulloch Lapresa, Alexander




Veeger M, Muidermann K, Tulloch Lapresa A. 2019. Understanding anticipatory climate governance in Central America: The links between anticipation and policy. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).