Exploring plausible futures for a territory, to steer public action

Results & impact 4 August 2021
What will the Niayes region in Senegal look like in 2040? Several plausible scenarios have been built within the framework of the Niayes 2040 project. The underlying aim is to fuel debate about the future, inform current decisions in the light of possible futures, and demonstrate the possibility of steering territories towards a desired future.

Harvesting potatoes in the Niayes © C. Jahel, CIRAD

Short project video (in French)

The Niayes region is the leading horticultural zone in Senegal. It faces a range of challenges: falling water tables, urban sprawl, pollution, and so on.

Looking to the future

The Niayes 2040 project, funded by AFD, is nearing completion. In particular, it has included a series of workshops that have brought together players from the region involved in waste management, land use planning, agriculture, education, etc. Four facilitators from CIRAD and ISRA led workshops to build scenarios, with around fifteen participants.

Six scenarios built and debated

Those workshops resulted in six plausible futures, and the pathways to them. This foresight exercise was followed by several debriefing sessions and debates, led by the workshop participants, on the futures people in Niayes want to build for their region.

Building a culture of anticipation…

This type of operation serves to build a culture of anticipation within a community, in other words an ability to imagine various future scenarios, in order to choose between them.

… to steer public action within a territory

This territorial foresight method combines a diagnosis of past local dynamics, a participatory foresight exercise and spatial modelling, to provide quantitative indicators for the various scenarios. It serves to think collectively about sustainable pathways, and as a decision support tool for public action on a territory level.

Long version of the project video (in French):