Improving ASEAN’s resilience through foresight in science, technology and innovation

By Data61 editorialMarch 20th, 2021


The first workshop will focusing on the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and roads to recovery.

Representatives from ASEAN nations came together to develop foresight skills in the areas of science, technology and innovation, to prepare for future challenges and capitalise on opportunities across the ASEAN region.

The initiative is the result of a partnership between CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, and ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI).

Director of CSIRO’s data and digital arm, Data61, Dr Jon Whittle, said the work undertaken by the community could help anticipate future challenges, take advantage of emerging opportunities, and increase collaboration on shared cross-border issues.

“Foresight is the science of medium- to long-term planning, focussed on determining over-arching drivers of change, sometimes referred to as ‘megatrends’,” Dr Whittle said.

“The aim of the project will be to develop foresight skills across all ASEAN nations, particularly within the areas of science, technology and innovation, to improve resilience and investment decisions, forge collaborations and determine early warning signals for critical challenges.

“We hope to help build a community of practitioners across the ASEAN nations to better understand, implement, and utilise foresight skills in policy and development, particularly as it relates to the development and support of science and technology,” he said.

A series of workshops will be delivered, with the first focusing on the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and roads to recovery for the ASEAN region.

Australia’s Ambassador to ASEAN Will Nankervis, said he was excited about the new partnership between CSIRO and COSTI and the visions they may develop for the future.

“What will ASEAN look like in 2040? Asking this question now, informed by the best available tools and approaches of science and technology, will help us meet the challenges of the future,” Mr Nankervis said.

“I am delighted that the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program Phase II has been able to facilitate this ground-breaking collaboration between COSTI and CSIRO. I warmly encourage both parties to see this as the beginning of a long-lasting partnership

“These foresight capability-building workshops will provide guidance on the science of medium- to long-term planning. I am certain that ASEAN and Australia have much to learn from each other, and that through this partnership our region will be better prepared for the opportunities and challenges of the future. I look forward to participants tackling the issues and trends that will shape our region for decades to come.”

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