I International Conference Latin America and the Caribbean in 2030

I International Conference
Latin America and the Caribbean in 2030: world visions, continental views
Santiago de Chile, 24 and 25 September 2014
Concept note
The Conference in brief
The Conference Latin America and the Caribbean in 2030: world visions, continental views, aims to
establish a network of individuals and organizations interested in strengthening capacity building
towards the understanding of future world trends and the implications for public policy in the
region. The Conference will take place on 24 and 25 September 2014, at ECLAC headquarters in
Santiago, Chile.
ECLAC, through ILPES and with the support of the Republic of Korea, is convening the event, with the
following objectives: to highlight the importance of long-term thinking, to promote the use of the
foresight discipline in the design of development policies, and to enrich the knowledge of —and to
promote collaboration and exchange on— methodological tools and approaches to planning in the
region, all in the context of activities agreed with the authorities gathered in the Regional Planning
Council, the subsidiary intergovernmental body of ECLAC for development planning.
Background: crisis, uncertainty and the need to anticipate
The international context and the international insertion of Latin America and the Caribbean have
changed significantly in the last 15 years. The integrationist process has shifted from a preferentially
South-North orientation to a superposition of various forms of horizontal (South-South) and vertical
integration (North-South), reflecting a progressive enhancement of the region’s self image and its
role in the world. Moreover, progress in the region is evidenced by the strengthening of democracy,
economic stability and growth, poverty reduction and institutional consolidation, under an
international context characterized by moderate economic growth and trade in the foreseeable
medium term.
Despite the progress reported, the structural problems persist, namely a low tax burden, productive
heterogeneity, a vulnerable external integration and high inequality in several dimensions that
altogether constitute fundamental challenges of long-term development. The region’s knowledge is
scant about mega trends shaping tomorrow’s world; let alone the impact they will have on the
countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. There is slight concern for building a sustainable and
prosperous future with inclusion and equality and they remain as the more salient development
challenges in the region. Indeed, several foresight exercises undertaken in Latin America and the
Caribbean lack a regional view and the existing reports assembled by the Millennium Project, CAF
and ECLAC are in that sense, more the exception than the rule.1
A number of important reports and studies that analyse mega-trends and explore the World´s future
have been published in the recent period. It is very likely that the onset of the global financial crisis
of 2008 has led or accelerated a renewed interest on improving the region’s preparedness to face
See CEPAL (2013) Prospectiva y desarrollo, El clima de la igualdad en América Latina y el Caribe a 2020; Corporación Andina de
Fomento (2010), Visión para América Latina 2040 - Hacia una sociedad más incluyente y próspera; The Millennium Project (2012),
Escenarios de Latinoamérica 2013.
unexpected and disruptive events; hence the importance of thinking about the future and apply
foresight techniques to cope with uncertainty and risk which have been exacerbated in recent years.
In this sense, foresight and future studies provide a public policy instrument and the pertaining tools
to anticipate shocks of varying nature and mitigate its impact.
Most of the existing studies that explore the future are conducted from the perspective of the
developed world —in its capacity of inducing mega-transformations and determining its own future
and perhaps the world’s—. The type of studies produced in Asia (mainly in China and Southeast
countries), incidentally a region well known for its ancient tradition of long-term thinking, represents
an indication of the growing economic and political weight of this region, which affects the way they
look at the world as well as at themselves. In this configuration of the trends and drivers of change,
Latin America and the Caribbean exhibits scant presence or none at all, neither as a driver of
transformation nor a disruptive space or generator of its own future.2 Its relevance is often linked to
its biodiversity and natural resources, which are later transformed and sold as commodities to the
rest of the world.
Therefore, ECLAC, through ILPES, is encouraging a permanent and systematic thinking of the planet’s
future as well as the region’s as a whole to derive the pressing issues that will arise in terms of public
policy in a medium term scenario of slow growth of the world´s output and trade, if not virtual
stagnation. To start this quest, ILPES is organizing an International Conference at ECLAC
headquarters in Santiago, Chile, on 24 and 25 September 2014. The event seeks to understand and
clarify the ways through which the region can attain a better understanding of the world’s major
trends and plausible global future scenarios, for the design and implementation of public policies.
Institutional context: the ECLAC proposal and the work of ILPES
The world and the region are at crossroads and the current conditions are particularly conducive to
exercise foresight and long term planning in the public domain. The region should revise the
development agenda and growth engines adopted in the last 20 years, given the medium-term
scenario of moderate growth as well as the debate surrounding the post-2015 development agenda.
ECLAC’s agenda aims to place equality and its different dimensions in the center of the development
agenda. While the region has progressively adopted the proposal made by ECLAC, its fulfillment
depends on a continuous and sustained effort between the trinity of state-market-society.3
Foresight emerges as a tool that can be useful in narrowing the persisting development gaps, as a
possibility and as art, as suggested by Michel Godet, in order to defeat determinism, deviate
trajectories, break up trends and build up the desired future.
ECLAC, through ILPES, has been working in applying foresight and scenario planning as one of the
public policy tools best equipped to improve the quality and relevance of state intervention in the
processes of development. The agenda of structural change for equality proposed by ECLAC is
inherently long term and requires foresight vision. To change the patterns of regional development
See for example, Atlantic Council (2013), Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for the Coming Technological Revolution,
http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/en/publications/reports/envisioning-2030-us-strategy-for-the-coming-technology-revolution; Asian
Development Bank (2011), Asia 2050: Realizing the Asian Century, www.adb.org/publications/asia-2050-realizing-asian-century;
World Bank (2010)/Centro de Investigaciones sobre el Desarrollo del Consejo de Estado de la República Popular de China (2013),
China 2030, Building a Modern, Harmonious and Creative Society, www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/document/China2030-complete.pdf; National Intelligence Council (2012), Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds,
www.dni.gov/files/documents/GlobalTrends_2030.pdf; Daniel Gros y Cinzia Alcid (eds) (2013), The Global Economy in 2030: Trends
and Strategies for Europe; Unión Europea-ESPAS, http://europa.eu/espas/pdf/espas-report-economy.pdf.
See ECLAC’s documents on the triology of equality: CEPAL (2010), La hora de la igualdad, brechas por cerrar, caminos por abrir; CEPAL
(2102), Cambio estructural para la igualdad, una propuesta integrada de desarrollo; CEPAL (2014), Pactos para igualdad: hacia un
futuro sostenible. On the realtionship between the trilogy of equality and the post 2015 development agenda, see CEPAL (2014),
“América Latina y el Caribe en la agenda para el desarrollo después de 2015: reflexiones preliminares basadas en la trilogía de la
igualdad”, LC/L.3843.
of the last decades requires transformations and institutional changes that will only be achievable in
the medium-long term and for which planning and foresight are first-class instruments, as they
contribute to strengthen the thinking of the future, the long-term vision and to envision sustainable
paths for the required transformations.
While ILPES makes a contribution in terms of training human resources and developing institutional
capacity in the field, the Institute is also pursuing a line of research aimed at exploring the use of
foresight in promoting development. Given the alternatives and multiple uses of foresight, efforts
have been oriented toward driving development processes at different scales: regional, national,
continental and global. To that extent, existing progress and gaps have been identified in order to
outline a program of work that could contribute in areas with significant deficiencies. This
conference will contribute to the consolidation of previous institutional processes as well as their
regional and global projection.
General and specific objectives
The overall objective of the conference is to enable the triggering, coordination and acceleration of
the process of building the region’s long-term vision of its own development. This is one key
component of the work that the Institute undertook with the authorities of the Regional Council for
Planning, which seeks to strengthen the role of planning as an instrument of development policy. In
the near future the Conference aims to consolidate a network of policy-makers, public officials and
institutions in the region and outside the region, who wish to advance capacity building for
understanding world’s future trends and their implications for public policy in Latin America and the
Caribbean. More precisely and in addition to the above, the conference seeks:
Raising awareness to different audiences, especially those without formal knowledge on the
theory and practice of foresight, on the importance of building a collective vision of the region’s
future (LAC). To this end, the conference seeks to provide a global overview of the visions,
stemming from different approaches, which have been envisioned about the world’s future and
the corresponding strategies for preparedness and response. There will be space and time
during the conference for keynote speakers and the exchange of ideas and opinions. In
addition, a discussion between government authorities will be available on the topics presented
in the conference.
Promoting an encounter and the exchange of experiences between two communities growing
apart and without proper synergies; on the one hand, the community of government
organizations and public officials already engaged in forward-looking and long-term planning,
particularly those working in development planning at national, sectoral or territorial level. On
the other hand, the community of specialized, academic and research centers, responsible for
formal training in these topics, as well as in the generation of basic and applied knowledge. To
this end, the conference will host interactive sessions that will encourage the dialogue and
active participation between public officials, researchers and specialists.
The establishment of a network of practitioners, organizations, experts, scholars and
government officials interested in studies of the future, strategic foresight and scenario
planning for LAC’s development.
The network of strategic foresight is expected to organize the II conference in 2015, with a theme
and emphasis to be defined.
Target Audience
In accordance with the general and specific purposes, the Conference is expected to attract several
- Heads of government organizations in the region related to long-term planning and foresight;
- Researchers, practitioners and Latin American experts on issues related to foresight and the use of
foresight as an instrument of public policy;
- Non-expert audiences in matters of foresight, particularly students of the II International Course for
Foresight and Development delivered by ILPES.
Other Activities within the Conference and beyond
II Development Planning sessions
During the Conference, the II Development Planning Sessions will be held. The selected works of the
Call for Papers made by ILPES will be presented by their authors. More than 180 abstracts were
received in topics including foresight studies and methodologies, future visions and long term
development. Around 15-20 papers are expected to be presented in parallel sessions in both the 24th
and the 25.th
Launching of the Chilean Council of Planning and Strategy
At the end of the 24th the Chilean Council of Planning and Strategy will be presented. The Council
brings together a group of politicians, academics and diplomats, whose main objective is to
contribute to the development of foresight in Chile and to develop strategies for the future the
country and its international integration. The Council is an independent, multi-sectoral and interinstitutional, pluralist and open-call instance.
Workshop on Future Research and Development Planning
Following the Conference, on August 26th, the Workshop on Foresight and Planning for
development in Latin America and the Caribbean will be held as part of the work commissioned to
the Institute by the authorities gathered at the Regional Council for Planning, to strengthen the
foresight profession in the region, as an instrument for development and to support cooperation
and exchange of experiences, lessons and good practices among professional planners and
II International Course on Foresight and Development
From 29 September to 10 October the second edition of the International Course on Foresight for
Development will be held in the classrooms of ILPES. The purpose is to provide a general knowledge
of the discipline of foresight, for understanding and envision its use as instrument of management
and public policy, mainly through tools to a) the development of visions of long-term development
using scenario methodology b) conducting exercises in anticipating trends and shocks to support
decision-making processes.