This paper presents the outcomes of a workshop on consolidating existing research on the development and use of scenario analysis in exploring and understanding the interplay between human and environmental systems.

It is structured around the key challenges that must be met in order to support of decision making and learning with respect to our highly uncertain socio-environmental futures. It identifies a practical research agenda, focused on challenges before, during and after the creation of scenarios:

  • enhancing the role of stakeholder and public engagement in the co-development of scenarios
  • linking scenarios across multiple geographical, sectoral and temporal scales
  • improving the links between the qualitative and quantitative aspects of scenario analysis
  • addressing uncertainties, especially surprises
  • addressing diversity and consistency between scenarios together
  • communicating scenarios, including visualization methods
  • linking scenarios to decision making.

The paper builds on both the workshop discussions and subsequent review work. It serves as a review of the state of the art in research on scenarios, including  processes and products for socio-environmental systems analysis, modeling and decision making.