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JIIS Bulletin - May 2013
A range of future scenarios
Combining their many areas of expertise, the Outlook team set to the task of building scenarios that reflect a range of future situations in a context of high uncertainty. The scenarios, they note, may or may not materialize, but by putting different options on the table they have opened a dialogue on topics that have hitherto been largely ignored.

Combining their many areas of expertise, the Outlook team set to the task of building scenarios that reflect a range of future situations in a context of high uncertainty. The scenarios, they note, may or may not materialize, but by putting different options on the table they have opened a dialogue on topics that have hitherto been largely ignored. They applied their out-of-the-box approach to examine social, economic and environmental trends and processes that have occurred over the last 20 years. They then came up with a business-as-usual scenario and six alternative scenarios, each of which has a different focus – ranging from market economy, to the geopolitical context, to a bureaucratic-institutional framework, economic-political ideology and through to social and state resilience to crises – but that share the variable of uncertainty.

“The different scenarios have different levels of sustainability (environment, wellbeing and resilience),” their report reads. “An analysis indicates that the level of sustainability in each scenario is far from the desirable situation and that we should be able to reach a higher level of sustainability whatever the scenario.” 

Moreover, they added, it is of course impossible to presuppose whether and which of the scenarios may ultimately unfold. That is exactly why they say that “a vision of where we want to go” must be defined. And that vision needs to be viable and realistic, not utopian.

In formulating their vision for sustainability in Israel in 2030, the project team anticipated that,] "Israel in 2030 will be a country whose citizens live in an environment that provides economic wellbeing, social resilience and personal security while enabling a diverse range of community lifestyles. It will be a country that promotes innovation and enterprise, thriving urban life, inclusion and access for all of the population to employment opportunities and services. It will be a country where there is absolute decoupling of economic growth from deterioration of the environment and the continual rise in material consumption. In 2030 the quality of life in Israel of the current generation will be high but will include responsibility for protecting natural resources for the present and future generations."

They stress that if Israel opts for a "business as usual" approach, then even incremental steps it takes to improve existing systems, beneficial as they may be, “will only perpetuate the existing situation without leading to the desired long-term outcome.” In other words, deep strategic intervention coupled with a courageous look into a better future are needed to close the gaps that exist between the scenarios and a vision for a sustainable Israel.
Their detailed recommendations are outlined in the 2030 report. 

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