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The System Analysis and Foresight Briefs Unit publishes science-based Foresight Briefs that highlights hotspots of environmental change, features emerging science topics, or discusses contemporary environmental issues. The Unit also carries out system analysis activities that can help with the exploration and understanding complex and dynamic systems and policy options under the Triple Planetary crisis, such as the global food system, the climate system, and the biodiversity system. The Unit contributes to the synthesis and enhancement of UNEP’s collective efforts towards environmental early warning as one and delivering on UNEPs Early Warning for the Environment.

The Foresight Briefs provide guidance and inspiration for policy and action, by exploring a range of plausible, alternative futures and their implications. They help to identify emerging environmental issues and trends that need to be monitored and assessed for early warning.. The public at large, and decision makers at all levels, are provided with the opportunity to learn about what is happening to their changing environment and the consequences of everyday choices, and to think about future directions for policy which they can influence through their policy processes. There is a growing need to keep information brief, visual and relevant for policymakers while describing the implications of environmental change in terms of human impacts. Foresight Briefs incorporate systems thinking analysis with a focus on environmental change, emerging issues, and futures.  


UNEP Foresight,Emerging Issues and Futures

UNEP Foresight is focused on emerging environmental issues and that global problems and challenges faced. In order to address interconnected and complex global challenges, systems thinking, simulation modeling and horizon scanning approaches are used and through our analysis provide policy insights.


System AnalysisSystem Analysis

Provides unique insights using systems thinking-based analysis and system dynamics modelling of emerging issues.  

Foresight BriefsForesight Briefs

Presenting emerging issues, systemic insights, and possible policy solutions.


Foresight ResourcesForesight Resources

Highlight hotspots of environmental change, feature emerging science topics, or discuss contemporary environmental issues.                   

Recently Published Foresight Briefs


The 33rd edition of UNEP’s Foresight Brief looks at how to apply circular principles to water management, and how circularity in water management is key to addressing both the triple planetary crisis and a global water crisis.

Foresight LP

Are you a global thinker with expertise on an emerging environmental issue and interested in authoring a Foresight Brief? If so, please contact us at unep.foresight@un.org