Foresight: Science for Navigating Critical Transitions

The next several decades will witness a convergence of multiple transitions affecting our global society, critical among which are the future of human health, the sustainability of our resources and environment, and the digitalization of economies and communities. These transitions are occurring at unprecedented pace and the world’s leading economies – represented by the G20 countries – must have the foresight to alleviate system-level economic and societal disruptions that could ensue during these transitions. Science and scientists must help governments identify impending risks, but they also must aggressively work together with policy-makers to explore the “solution space” for addressing these risks.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia exhibits a microcosm of these global challenges and seeks to play a principal role in helping navigate these critical transitions. Three key priorities for the S20 have been selected for examination by three task forces (TFs). These priorities both individually and synergistically impact global economic, societal and environmental stability. They are:

  1. Future of Health: Preventing Pandemics and Expanding Personalized Healthcare
  2. Circular Economy: Holistic Solutions for Our Environment
  3. Digital Revolution: Achieving Universal Connectivity and Smarter Communities

A fourth task force (TF), Connecting the Dots, will examine system-level synergies between these three key priority areas. The general question being posed in this year’s S20 discussions is how science can be used as a collaboration tool to encourage effective policy-making that will enable the global community to navigate critical global transitions.