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In March 2020, the Canadian and U.S. governments jointly decided to close their land border to non-essential travel. The restrictions have been in place for 16 months. However, the Canadian government has just announced that, beginning on 9 August 2021, U.S. citizens and permanent residents (including unvaccinated children under 12 traveling with their parents) will be allowed to enter Canada for discretionary travel without the obligation to quarantine for 14 days.

In contrast, on 21 July 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a notification that non-essential travel from Canada would remain restricted for an additional month on the…

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The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is picking up pace in low- and middle-income countries in Asia, raising hopes that government restrictions on mobility and mandatory quarantines will be loosened in the coming months. Nonetheless, the increasing availability of vaccines does nothing to address a problem that bedevils many countries, and not only in Asia: the lack of vaccine enthusiasm, the reluctance, in other words, by a large share of the population, to get vaccinated. This phenomenon could give COVID-19 variants the opportunity to evolve, spread, and significantly slow the pace of economic recovery.

The Philippines, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia now…

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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a leading international proponent and user of Strategic Foresight, has published a thought-provoking report featuring global scenarios for the year 2035. The report identifies half a dozen emerging changes and trends that the OECD’s Strategic Foresight Unit believes will transform the world in the coming years.

These changes and trends include the effectiveness and alliances of states (the role of states versus markets at a time of geopolitical power shifts), common risks to humanity (including environmental degradation), shifts in value and values (digitalization and changing views on well-being), influence of non-state actors…

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In January 2020, the Government of Spain established a strategic foresight office at the center of government. The Oficina Nacional de Prospectiva y Estrategia (National Office of Foresight and Strategy) was set up within the cabinet of the Presidencia del Gobierno (Prime Minister’s Office).

The rationale for creating the office was to counter the short-term thinking prevalent in government, and to ensure the future interests of Spain. …

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Strategic Foresight is a valuable asset for organizations that want to improve their preparedness, competitiveness, and resiliency in an increasingly uncertain world of rapid change. What steps can you and your organization take to benefit from what Foresight has to offer?

Identify resources

What staff and budget can you harness to make Foresight a regular part of your organization? Can you assign someone as the Foresight focal point, and provide them with support? More and more organizations are including Foresight and futures thinking as part of a designated staff member’s job description. …

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In the five years leading up to the emergence of COVID-19, Latin America and the Caribbean experienced its most anemic quinquennium economic performance since World War II, as highlighted by José Antonio Ocampo, a board member of Colombia’s central bank. Earlier progress in addressing inequality stalled, poverty increased, investment in R&D remained low, and manufacturing declined as a share of GDP. Political crises wracked countries around the region, most visibly in Venezuela, where a catastrophic failure of governance, civil unrest, and economic melt-down spurred millions of refugees to flee the country.

And then the pandemic hit, bringing even more suffering…

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Port cities offer a vital — and overlooked — way to help decarbonize the global economy. The maritime sector has been seen as a laggard in decarbonizing, but port cities are perfectly positioned to help catalyze a reduction in shipping emissions. Over half of all maritime emissions come from ships while berthed in ports.

A port can provide clean renewable energy to ships in port — as well as to the city and surrounding industrial clusters — and support vessels can provide clean electricity to ships on the approach to the port.

Port cities can also provide the infrastructure needed…

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To successfully tackle the enormous challenge of climate change, it is critical that all sectors and industries contribute to the global effort. Given its role in funding economic activity, the finance sector has a particularly central role to play in achieving a net-zero transition. This role is recognized by the Paris Agreement, which calls for “making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate-resilient development.” However, a new report published by CDP, a not-for-profit charity, highlights the need for greater disclosure and decarbonization in the finance sector.

London-based CDP runs the global disclosure system…

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Every four years, strategic thinkers at the National Intelligence Council (NIC) assess the key trends and uncertainties that will shape the strategic environment for the United States over the next two decades. Then they make their analysis publicly available. Their latest assessment is found in the report, Global Trends 2040 — a More Contested World.

The NIC has constructed its analysis of the future in several stages. First, it explores structural forces in four core areas: demographics, environment, economics, and technology. …

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Some in Ottawa are calling for the federal government to unilaterally withhold Canada’s contributions to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a way of punishing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for a variety of actions it has taken domestically and internationally. The proposal is based on a misperception of the bank’s ownership, mission and activities.

Those who want to withhold Canada’s payment seem to think that the AIIB is a proxy for the CCP, and that taking this action would in some way censure China’s leaders. Although creation of AIIB was indeed China’s idea, the institution is not a…

Bart Édes

Author of Learning from Tomorrow: Using Strategic Foresight to Prepare for the Next Big Disruption

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