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The Philippines: Resilient Cities, Brighter Futures

On 8 November 2013, the Philippines was hit by typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, which devastated portions of Southeast Asia, and particularly the Philippines. From 21 to 24 May 2014, a forum-workshop will take place in Laoag City in the Philippines, which aims to discuss, assess and explore the futures of Philippine cities in a post-Haiyan scenario using anticipatory thinking and strategic foresight methods. The event is organized by UNESCO, the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines and the Center for Engaged Foresight (CEF).

As Philippine cities continue to struggle to fund existing crisis management systems and level up in their adaptive capacities, cities have to find alternative ways of preparing and responding to mega disasters. Individuals, decision-makers and institutions might need to re-perceive or re-frame their narratives and ways of knowing the city and the futures of cities.

The forum-workshop aims to build the capacities of participants to use the future more effectively for decision making to transform Philippine cities in a climate change driven era. The focus is on enhancing participants’ capacity both to make sense of existing and emergent systems, of all kinds, that create social and economic value as well as to begin to identify the potential for the novel approaches that are necessary to achieve a transition to sustainable societies. It offers participants a learning-by-doing experience in “using the future differently.”

The objective of this forum-workshop is neither to predict the future nor offer to find solutions, but to enhance the participants’ decision, strategy, and policy making capacities by enlarging their understanding of the anticipatory systems, including those that turn uncertainty into a resource, a way to grasp the otherwise invisible novelty generated by the profusion of experiments and creativity in the world around us.

The key facilitator of the workshop is Mr Sohail Inayatullah, one of the world’s most influential futurists. Prior to the workshop, he will also be delivering a UNESCO Future Lecture entitled “What is Futures Thinking and Strategy Development?”.

Watch the live webcast at