Scenario method in strategic environmental planning


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Environmental planning, Scenario method


Scenario has been often used in corporate planning to explore future and anticipate uncertainty in the context of strategy formulation or assessment. Scenario has been often used in long term planning for socioeconomic development at local, regional and supra regional level, for the assessment of alternative policy options as well as for the elaboration of a vision for an area. In contrast to forecasting which aims at defining what will happen, scenario perceives future as open, to be shaped. For this it describes future with the help of alternative future states which do not correspond to forecasting. Scenario is not defined with a unique way, while for its development a significant number of substantially different methodological approaches and techniques can be used leading to different types of scenarios. Of particular interest is the utilization of Scenarios for Strategic Environmental Planning with the aim to anticipate uncertainty, to adopt a long term perspective, to develop a strategy for sustainable development, as well as a tool to support participation, negotiation and learning among participants. Within this context the use of Scenarios in the Coastal Area Management Program (CAMP), which is being implemented in the Mediterranean region, under the auspices of the United Nations Program for the Environment (UNEP), will be presented with the aim to highlight opportunities arising from the use of the scenario method as well as to identify weaknesses in its implementation. Finally some general guidelines for the development of scenarios are presented.