Scaling out scenario-guided policy and investment planning

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Project Description

The Future Scenarios project has developed socio-economic and climate scenarios as a tool for strategic policy planning and investment decisions. Through workshops and close collaborations with policy makers, the team has facilitated the adaptation and use of these scenarios, which help next-users establish more robust plans, policies and strategies and provide “no-regrets” options in the face of diverse futures.

Keys to the success of the CCAFS scenario project has been a focus on specific policies, plans and questions; openness and adaptability of the scenario method; and ensuring strong process ownership by decision-makers.

For instance, with support from the scenarios project team, the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries finalized a Climate Change Action Plan, signed off in 2014, that featured scenario-guided climate smart agriculture investments, and capacity building on scenario-guided planning. Scenarios were also used to develop and test content for the Bangladesh Planning Commission’s 5 Year Plan.

Scenarios are also used to cross policy levels: in Honduras, an agricultural climate adaptation policy was developed at the national level with the help of scenarios, and is since being adapted for implementation in sub-national regions, again using a scenario-guided process. In Ghana, a process focusing on bridging gaps between policy levels, using multi-level scenarios, has been conducted, and scenario-guided policy processes are underway in Colombia, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and Uganda.

Workshop participants develop future scenarios of development, food security and the environment under climate change in Southeast Asia. Photo: E. van de Grift

In 2015 and 2016, a number of regional case studies toward policy outcomes will be completed, and additionally, the project will focus on supporting global partners, working on global foresight studies, capacity development and synthesizing insights across the regions for global-level planning.


By 2019, at least five national climate-smart agriculture/food systems policies have been finalized and are being implemented that have been developed and tested against scenarios to make them more robust in the face of multiple climate/socio-economic futures. At least five major regional/global organizations have used scenarios outputs and methodology in their priority setting and policy guidance.

Expected Impacts

From the project inception in 2010, over 240 different organizations, including major development partners, have participated in the CCAFS scenarios process, helping to create credible and collaborative evidence-based scenarios, which are now guiding decision-makers in all five CCAFS regions.

By the end of 2013, national and regional stakeholders in all five CCAFS regions were setting up processes, which employed CCAFS scenarios to develop adaptation and mitigation policies. By the end of 2014, one scenario-guided policy has been finalized; 3 more are close to finalization and at least 3 policies are the focus of new scenario processes.

Expected Outputs

  • Publications, including journal articles, highlighting the various regional scenarios and policy processes
  • Policy briefs on the various regional policy guidance processes
  • Workshops, engagement activities, and communication products.
  • Journal article and policy brief on global scenarios synthesis
  • Training guide scenarios methodology and online materials and tool for developing scenarios through driver analysis
  • Policy brief on global partnerships and multi-regional collaborations.


The CCAFS scenarios team has strong ties to University of Oxford, and has been supported by a number of global partnerships, notably UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), the Food and Agriculture Organization fo the United Nations (FAO) and Oxfam GB.

The team works with multiple local and regional partners, including Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Cambodia, Ministry of Agriculture, of Livestock and Fisheries Development in Tanzania and in Uganda, the Ministry of Water and Environment and Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, the University for International Cooperation (UCI) in Costa Rica, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR) in Colombia, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries (MAGAP) in Ecuador, Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock in Honduras, the Bangladesh Planning Commission and the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD). 


The scenarios are being used by decision-makers in East and West Africa, South and Southeast Asia, the Andes and Central America and by global actors.

Further information

For further information, please contact Joost Vervoort, CCAFS Scenarios Officer (