Our latest gathering of the Strategic Advisory Committee for the Futures Initiative was convened on October 11th, 2023, to deliberate on the project’s progress, discuss challenges and opportunities, as well as provide feedback on the project’s deliverables. This group plays a critical role in guiding Cooperation Canada’s research team and advising on the project’s strategic orientations including project’s process, development, and implementation. The meeting was the opportunity for the project lead, Andy Ouedraogo, to review the project’s goals and methodology, revisit the structure, and present the achievements.

The committee’s structure, mission, and objectives were revisited leading to a major decision to consolidate the two governance bodies into one to maximize efficiency. The Committee agreed to absorb the Core Advisory Group, a subset of the Strategic Advisory Committee which mandate was to provide guidance on projects inputs and outputs. With this mandate now sitting under the Strategic Advisory Committee, the number of meetings will increase from 3 to 5 throughout the lifespan of the Futures Initiative.

The committee members also engaged in discussions around the milestones reached since the inaugural meeting. Accomplishments include research activities such as focus group discussions, an environmental scan report, as well as Canadian and Global workshops. The environmental scan provided a global inventory of events and trends in development cooperation and is informing our foresight processes. A workshop was organized with the Humanitarian Response Network (HRN), a coalition of Canadian organizations working in the Humanitarian sector, to understand growing signals of change and emerging challenges. Similarly, we have rolled out five regional dialogues in Africa, Asia, the Caribbeans, Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa regions to survey civil society actors on emerging issues, signals of change, priorities as well as their vision of the future of development cooperation. A reflection piece on the latter will be published in the coming weeks so stay tuned.

The Committee provided constructive feedback on the environmental scan undertaken as part of the project’s research activities, with recommendations on how best to improve its structure and ensure that the report remains both relevant and innovative. The meeting concluded with mentions of what is to come, with action items set forth.