Global Scenario Group

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The Stockholm Environment Institute convened the Global Scenario Group in 1995 to examine the prospects for world development in the twenty-first century. It was set up as an independent, international and interdisciplinary body to engage in a process of scenario development that has now completed. A central theme was the policies, actions and human choices required for a transition to a more sustainable and equitable future. The diversity and continuity of the GSG offered a unique resource to researchers, decision-makers and the general public.
Why scenarios? Sustainability seeks to reconcile development and environmental goals over the long-term. It is concerned with the future. Scenario analysis is a means to illuminate the vast range of possibilities in a structured way. A scenario is a story, told in words and numbers, concerning the manner in which events might unfold. It must be constructed with detail, rigor, and imagination. Scenarios help us to understand where we might be headed, but more, they offer guidance on how to act now to direct the flow of events towards desirable futures and away from undesirable ones.
Why a global perspective? Sustainable development must be pursued at many levels – global, regional, national, and global. At each level, different sets of issues and opportunities come into focus. In our globalizing world, regional and national strategies will be myopic unless they placed in a global perspective. Globalization takes multiple forms – stresses on the biosphere, far-reaching cultural impacts of communication technology, expansion of worldwide commerce, and the rise of new geopolitical tensions.
Driven by this powerful constellation of forces, the world system is at an uncertain branch point. To understand adequately the human condition and possible future paths, regional and disciplinary perspectives must be complemented by an integrated global panorama.
The GSG conducted research, provided global assessments and collaborated on regional and national scenario studies.
GSG research included analysis of the driving forces, critical uncertainties and stresses on social and environmental systems for each scenario. It quantified economic, social, resource and environmental patterns for eleven world regions both currently and for each scenario. The research identified the policies, values, institutions and life-styles required for a sustainable future. SEI's PoleStar System provides a comprehensive data base and accounting framework for developing alternative scenarios.
GSG scenarios provide a resource for the growing number of projects requiring comprehensive scenarios. These have included the UN Commission on Sustainable Development's Global Modeling Forum, UNEP's Global Environmental Outlook Project, the US National Academy of Science Board on Sustainable Development, the OECD Environmental Outlook, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.
The GSG conducted scenario projects throughout the world. Using GSG data and scenario analyses, along with detailed information provided by local partner organizations, regional and national scenarios are efficiently developed – a "rapid future assessment". These studies provide the basis for meetings to discuss and debate the meaning of sustainability, to consider alternative visions of the future and to craft policy and action programs.
The GSG maintained a Secretariat at SEI-Boston that provided scientific and administrative support for the GSG work program. Dr. Paul Raskin and Dr. Gilberto Gallopin served as co-coordinators. Major funding was provided by the Nippon Foundation, the Stockholm Environment Institute, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute.

El grupo del GSG, en su libro Great transition - the promise and lure of the times ahead” [La gran transición: la promesa y el aliciente de los tiempos venideros], dice lo siguiente:

“Un nuevo paradigma de sostenibilidad cuestionaría tanto la viabilidad como lo deseable de los valores convencionales, las estructuras económicas y los arreglos sociales. Ofrecería una visión positiva de una forma civilizada de globalización para toda la familia humana. Esto sucederá solamente si sectores clave de la sociedad mundial llegan a comprender la índole y la gravedad de los desafíos y aprovechan la oportunidad de examinar sus programas. Hay cuatro agentes principales del cambio que, si actúan en forma sinérgica, podrían impulsar un nuevo paradigma de sostenibilidad. Tres de ellos son agentes mundiales: organizaciones intergubernamentales, empresas transnacionales y la sociedad civil, actuando por medio de organizaciones no gubernamentales y comunidades espirituales. El cuarto es menos tangible, pero es el elemento subyacente crucial: la amplia concientización del público en cuanto a la necesidad de cambio y la difusión de valores que recalcan la calidad de vida, la solidaridad humana y la sostenibilidad ecológica.
El cambio mundial se está acelerando y las contradicciones se están profundizando. Se necesitan con urgencia nuevas maneras de pensar, actuar y ser. Pero así como la necesidad es el acicate de una “gran transición”, la oportunidad histórica de dar forma a un mundo equitativo de paz, libertad y sostenibilidad es el imán. Esta es la promesa y el aliciente del Siglo XXI.”
Tomando esto como marco, en los 10 últimos años en nuestros países se han dado los primeros pasos hacia una mayor participación de la sociedad civil y una participación amplia en la toma de decisiones.