Rio+20 and beyond: The Agenda 21s of tomorrow




Institutions: Planning and territory Offices / Bureau des Territoires, Ministry of Ecology, sustainability and energy; ETD, national agency dedicated to local development; 4D.

Design: François Jégou, Adèle Seyrig, Christophe Gouache, Strategic Design Scenarios.
Challenge: Putting uses to work to take Agenda 21s to new heights.

In what ways will developments, current and upcoming trends change regional landscapes, their modus operandi and their overall organization? For the revolution to become reality, what changes will sustainable development and Agenda 21 territory-targeted projects be required to undergo? A year-long exercise in forward-thinking and long-term perspectives commissioned by the Territorial Planning Bureau brought together local authorities, forecasters and key actors involved in Agenda 21 grassroots programs with the goal in mind during the Rio+20 conference to not only establish a brainstorming platform, but also a springboard, thrusting pooled synergies toward a radical regional rework using transformed and tempered Agenda 21 initiatives.

Process: Co-designing future Agenda 21 user scenarios

The working group sessions enabled SDS to engender an original
and hands-on approach with the possibility to invent, if not re-invent, the future of Agenda 21 programs with the help of coordinators in the field. Emerging from an inventory of the 800+ French Agenda 21s and their assumptions, a series of simulation exercises and long- term audiovisual tools, such as a group of special reporters in 2032 delving further into how new-gen Agenda 21s will have managed to curb, control and eventually conquer territorial challenges over the next twenty years, empowered participants to more effectively sport a strategic cap, enabling them to generate three scenarios around innovations covering governance, citizen-driven commitment, cross-functional partnerships, and tools for future planning and preparedness.

Outcome: A new direction on Agenda 21 positioning and a toolbox to go even further

When looking ahead, the process counts just as much as the result, if not more. The subsequent scenarios are food for thought: Their goal is to get the creative juices in communities flowing, spark debate among community members, and adopt a broader and less conventional thought process oriented around Agenda 21 programs, planning, and perspectives. Looking ahead seeks to unlock a multitude of possibilities, such as the strategic setting picture, group-driven foresight exercises, terms of interaction, concrete and tangible exchanges, intermediary results, etc. All factor into the toolbox. Three local authorities are currently in discussions over how to apply a pilot program to their respective region and adapt the contents of this toolbox accordingly in a joint effort to not only define their very own Agenda 21 grassroots scenario, but also deploy it.