Foresight South Africa is a United Nations South Africa initiative aimed at assisting government and stakeholders in planning, mid to long-term, for the unpredictable future. Whereas the future was once methodically planned according to trends and predictable outcomes, governments around the world today need to have the tools and the provision to plan for different possible futures, whilst empowering civil society with the skills to navigate and thrive at the pace of the changing times.

Thus, in 2015 the United Nations South Africa’s Development Programme, in partnership with Centre for Public Sector Innovation (CPSI), initiated a conversation on foresighting as a tool to support long-term planning. With growing volatility around the world economy, trade laws and employment sustainability due to the rapid development of technologies, the South African government needs to be at the forefront of optimising the usage of foresighting.

The Purpose

In partnership with the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), the United Nations South Africa aims to build a sustainable culture around foresighting, imagined futures and innovation in policy and decision-making.

In order to achieve the stated aim, the Foresight South Africa portal will become a hub to be used by multiple stakeholders who will contribute in the development and dissemination of a body of knowledge on foresighting techniques, learnings and best cases to better respond to South Africa’s governance, education, health, environment and socio-economic environment.

Objectives of Foresight South Africa Programme:

  • Break new ground to ensure transparency and accountability of UN investments in country
  • Plan with the long term in mind: 15-50 years into the future and supporting government partners to overcome short-termism
  • Make it possible for people in country to use data to drive public accountability
  • Model the UN’s role in channelling new asset classes to support governments advance the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Design, delivering and monitoring public service programmes drawing on the best minds in the country they serve; channelling collective intelligence
  • Support government to engage with superior innovation, transparency standards, new finance flows and new data through risk management, privacy and ethics frameworks.