State of the science of “political futures”: Exploring how to improve the representation and usability of socio-political factors in the SSPs

Event Type

Location / Date
Bonn, Germany, 24.10.2022 until 25.10.2022


Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), V-Dem Institute, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS)

Rationale: Enhancing the use of social science expertise is fundamental to the development of scenarios of climate and societal futures that are responsive to a wider range of challenges towards strong climate action and sustainability. In particular, there is an agreement that socio-political factors must inform scenarios and be integrated in scenarios in a more systematic way (cf. O’Neill et al. 2020). This need is especially pressing for the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), which are employed in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments.

Objective: This workshop serves for mapping the state of the science of existing approaches that model future scenarios of governance institutions and violent conflict. As governance has been conceived as a crucial enabler of sustainability transformations (in particular in climate, energy and health scenarios), there is a need to identify ways how to quantify the socio-political factors that comprise governance/political institutions/violent conflict and integrate them in scenarios. To inform the efforts of research groups that are already engaging in these efforts and to encourage additional research activities, this workshop is the first step in the direction of a “structured model inter-comparison” following the best practices for such efforts and for dissemination to the scenarios research community. Main objectives of the workshop thus are:

  • Mapping of the state of the science of existing approaches of future scenarios (short-term goal)
  • Define steps and agree on commitments to develop a structured and publishable model inter-comparison (mid-term goal)


This workshop assembles a small group of experts who have been working on understanding and projecting sociopolitical drivers and trends. As a next step, we aim to organize a workshop for a broader range of participants, which allows us to bring in different perspectives from different regions.

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