Bridging Long-term Scenario and Strategy analysis: Organisation and Methods (BLOSSOM) - Case study for Switzerland
Policymaking, particularly in environment-related areas, is characterised by highly complex problems and uncertainty about long-term future developments.
Problems often unfold over several decades, driven by many different forces across multiple scales, resulting in complex inter-linkages and feedback loops. Failure to manage such risks could lead to catastrophic impacts. However, the role and relevance of political context and the institutional embedding of futures thinking in governmental practice has traditionally received little attention.
To bridge this gap, the EEA commissioned a cross-country analysis to identify common themes and issues in institutional and governance arrangements, as well as distinctive aspects of different cultural and administrative traditions and approaches to futures thinking (Current BLOSSOM case study reports, and the cross-country analysis report are available at: http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/blossom).
Building on that example, the Swiss Federal Government decided to commission a BLOSSOM Case study for Switzerland. This study provided an in-depth analysis of the main institutional and governance arrangements for futures thinking in Switzerland, including how different futures thinking initiatives relate to each other and influence policymaking. It was completed following the same methodology and reporting structure as the previous case studies completed under the existing EEA BLOSSOM project.
The BLOSSOM case study for Switzerland identified the main success factors in ensuring futures thinking is embedded in policymaking (environmental policymaking in particular) as well as major barriers to success. To do so, the project team carried out an extensive literature review as well as a number of interviews with officials of several departments and agencies in the Swiss Federal Government.
Milieu was responsible for carrying out these interviews as well as for assessing their results and helping incorporate them into the overall analysis. Milieu experts also contributed to the final case study report.
The outputs of this project should prove instrumental in helping the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) to understand how to make better use of foresight and future studies in order to strengthen planning in environmental and natural resource policy areas.