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Cities and regions building strategic foresight capacity to better prepare for the future  

City and regional representatives working on strategic foresight came together for the first time as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities at an event organised by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Commission. Approximately sixty participants discussed how local and regional authorities can build greater anticipatory capacity for the benefit of the citizens.​

Foresight is the discipline of exploring, anticipating and shaping the future to help build and deploy collective intelligence in a structured, systemic way to anticipate developments. The CoR and the Commission share the objective of spreading a foresight culture and embedding it in EU policymaking.

The first part of the foresight event on 10 October brought together speakers from the two EU institutions, as well as the European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It was widely agreed that while foresight is a discipline that gives local and regional authorities many benefits, and stretching thinking to imagine a variety of futures is gaining ground at subnational level in Europe. International organisations play an important role in ensuring that foresight is practised more systematically by more actors.

​The second part of the event took the form of a participatory laboratory in which four good foresight practices were presented by civil servants from Hauts-de-France, Helsinki-Uusimaa, Ostbelgien and Sardinia. The Partnership for Regional Innovation project was also presented by the Joint Research Centre. The objective was to share good practices and inspire representatives of other regions and cities to use strategic foresight tools such as horizon scanning. 

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