The Imagining a Post-COVID United Nations project addressed the need for resilient and adaptive organizations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted a foresight exercise to analyse driving forces and future global trends influenced by the pandemic. This resulted in three future scenarios to illustrate what the post-COVID world might look like, to help shape the UN’s organizational development. Our work developing and validating scenarios should guide decision-making and course corrections two to five years into the future.

Our impact

The project helped make UN decision-making more proactive and future-oriented. It had a significant effect on the UN’s planning processes because the organization now integrates foresight methodologies into its strategic and operational planning.

The process of developing the three scenarios revealed blind spots in the UN’s path and created new possibilities by exploring alternative futures. The project identified challenges and opportunities associated with each scenario, which deepened participants’ understanding of the challenges.

Our lessons

  • Considering future scenarios in the long and medium term is crucial for effective UN organizational planning.
  • This exploration can prevent complacency and test the resilience of current policies.
  • It’s important to share future scenarios outside the UN to promote broader learning and understanding.
  • Foresight methods should be integrated into strategic planning to enhance preparedness for future challenges.
  • Anticipating and preparing for different scenarios is essential for robust risk management and adaptability.

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