Skip to main content


Scenario Planning

Aim of the resource

The focus of scenario planning is to explore possible futures that may arise under different conditions and what those different futures might mean for current decisions. Assumptions about future events or trends are questioned, and uncertainties are made explicit.

Using the resource
Requirements for using the resource:
<li>More formal decision analysis methods can be used to support the evaluation of planning options under a range of scenarios, avoiding some of the pitfalls of subjective strategy evaluation.</li>
<li>Schoemaker (1991) suggests that scenario planning should be used as a preliminary phase in the decision-making process, enabling the decision makers’ ideas to be clarified, before moving to formal decision-analysis methods designed to support decision-making under uncertainty (e.g. MAUT), although reservations about this approach have been raised.</li>
Practical information
UN languages in which the resource is available:
Development stage:
Full, working product
Contact details
IPBES Secretariat

Scenario planning is a tool for exploring possible, probable and/or preferable futures. Identifying strategies or options that are robust to a range of possible scenarios is also key in scenario planning. Scenario planning typically takes place in a workshop setting, in which participants explore current trends, drivers of change and key uncertainties, and how these factors might interact to influence the future. To do so, they draw on both qualitative and quantitative information, including datasets, spatially-explicit data and expert/stakeholder judgment, and based on this information, a set of plausible future scenarios is developed.


Subregions covered