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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…

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I’ve recently shared reasons why many governments are not systematically using Strategic Foresight despite the many advantages of doing so. Yet I could have written something similar about businesses failing to factor the future into their planning. According to research carried out at the University of Houston, only one in four Fortune 500 firms are practicing Foresight through in-house efforts.

The management consulting gurus at BCG have seized on this private sector shortcoming in a post jointly authored by Hans Kuipers, Alan Iny and Alison Sander. They observe that most businesses do multivariate modeling (a statistical tool using multiple variables…

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The Canada West Foundation (CWF) asked me and some other Asian trade watchers the following question:

On trade, Canada’s best path forward in Asia is expansion of the TPP*, the more the better. With the Biden administration putting trade on the back burner to protect its domestic agenda and mid-term election prospects Canada’s best chances of expanding the agreement lie elsewhere. The UK has already begun to apply and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu is prepared to apply as well. China has also floated hints of being interested. What are pros and cons for Canada…

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The success of Malaysia’s digital transformation will depend on strong political leadership, consistent government support, buy-in from key stakeholders like the business community and educators, and re-skilling of the country’s workers.

Automation is set to become a critical component in Asia’s productivity, and workers — particularly in low-skilled fields — are vulnerable to job displacement. The World Economic Forum predicts that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t exist today.

Deloitte assesses that the empowered employee of the future will create value by identifying salient problems from the…

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As I explained in a previous post, Strategic Foresight offers a range of benefits to organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. And yet…most aren’t using it. Here I examine some reasons why governments globally have been hesitant to embrace Foresight.

Given Foresight’s value proposition, what stops public sector organizations from using it? One leading reason is the immediate focus on the present. While an increasing number of governments use Foresight methods, the imperative to respond to the needs of the “here and now” draws decision-makers away from a look further down the road. Political leaders and partisan appointees…

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The COVID-19 pandemic shredded the plans and strategies of public, private and nonprofit organizations globally. Those responsible for risk analysis, business development, strategy formulation, systems and planning, and overall leadership are struggling to understand what may come next as we emerge from the crisis.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a surge in interest in Strategic Foresight (albeit from a low base). Strategic Foresight, or simply Foresight, is a structured and systematic way of using ideas about the future to anticipate and better prepare for change. …

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have apparently agreed on a new five-year country partnership strategy to guide the bank’s support to the country through the middle of the decade. (ADB reports that it has “generally endorsed” the strategy).

The strategy aligns with priorities under the PRC’s 14th Five-Year Plan, including natural resource management to combat climate change, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem damage; low-carbon development; social inclusion in the context of population aging; and regional health security. …

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Asian governments are scrambling to reboot their battered economies, following the COVID-19 pandemic. The key to generating a return to high levels of economic growth is a substantial increase in infrastructure investment.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has estimated that developing Asian economies need $1.7 trillion a year in climate-adjusted infrastructure investment in transportation, power, water and sanitation and telecommunications. Prior to the pandemic, only about two-thirds of that huge financing requirement was being met, overwhelmingly with government spending.

However, the public purse, stretched thin by the costly response to COVID-19, is unable to fill the massive gap. Only through…

Bart Édes

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

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