GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

Why and How Latin America Should Think about the Future: Global Trends and the Future of Latin America


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Purpose of the Report

Latin America must strengthen its ability to plan forward and deepen its strategic reflection if it is to govern better and improve the design of public policies. Achieving this may require countries in the region to familiarize themselves with global scenarios and to explore the types and scale of challenges that they might confront. A national perspective is not sufficient, a global vision is essential.

Globalization creates a stream of effects that cannot be controlled by individual countries. With an outlook that takes into consideration the rest of the world, Latin American governments could improve their capacity to anticipate events and, when those events occur, to effectively respond to uncertainty and rapid change. Through strategic planning that envisions a myriad of diverse situations, countries of the region may be able to skirt damage or even identify advantageous responses. In effect, human action might alter trajectories in ways that could bring the region closer to desirable outcomes.

In this study, I set out to explore the nature and potential impact of trends and scenarios that could emerge and I make recommendations for building anticipatory capacity. The first part of this report summarizes the global trends and scenarios I believe are most likely; the scenarios are based on reports from leading research centers in developed countries. In the second part, I identify where Latin America—both individual countries and the region as a whole—should focus. I then underscore the fields in which countries of the region should strengthen their capacity for foresight study.

– Author Sergio Bitar