The Future Is Now: Putting Scenarios for Peace Operations in 2025 into Today's Operational Context

A Challenges Forum Research Workshop was hosted by the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) in Berlin in October 2012 on the theme "The Future Is Now: Putting Scenarios for Peace Operations in 2025 into Today’s Operational Context". ZIF in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office became the 19th member of the Challenges Forum in 2011.


Over the last year and a half, the Challenges Forum Partner; Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) has been working with a group of experts on developing scenarios peace operation might face in the future. The research workshop brought Challenges Forum Partners together to discuss the developed scenarios and to derive operational requirements for peace operations related work today. The aim was to compile a list of concrete recommendations that will be processed by ZIF and provided in due course after the workshop. The Research Workshop was both a Challenges Forum stand-alone event in itself, but it was also aimed to inform and advance the Challenges Forum Thematic Working Group on Future Concepts and Models for Peace Operations as well as the other Thematic Working Groups on Auhtority, Command and Control, Impact Evaluation and Assessment, as well as Comparative Policies, Principles and Guidelines for Peace Operations.


In order to predict and influence future events – one of mankind’s most ancient activities – everything from celestial objects to tea leaves has been used in the past. ZIF has applied modern scenario methodology and, together with a group of international experts from a number of fields, created Zifreport_Berlin2012four distinct scenarios for peace operations in the year 2025. While a look thirteen years ahead may not seem overly ambitious, or informative, one should keep in mind that thirteen years in the past, in 1999, few could imagine a “War on Terror” or an “Arab Spring” – or their consequences for peace operations.

Scenarios are not about exact predictions or probabilities of occurrence – in that sense they are not a forecasting tool – , yet they can serve as the foundation for strategic planning and help us to develop concrete measures that lead to desirable outcomes or avoid less desirable ones. In this Challenges Forum Research Workshop possible scenarios was utilized to derive operational requirements for peace operations related work today and help to facilitate a change from the current rather reactive modus operandi in response to the numerous crises in the world to a more active and preventive one.