The Center for Studies and Strategic Foresight (CEP) of the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food was created in 2008 in order to provide the institution with strategic monitoring, strategic foresight work and policy evaluation. Part of the Statistic and Strategic foresight Service, within the Secretariat General of the Ministry, its work contributes to public debates and provides policy makers and analysts with valuable input. The CEP addresses complex public issues that often have an international importance: agricultural production, markets and prices, relations within sectors, competitiveness, nutrition, food industries, food safety, energy, climate change, environmental services, agricultural practices, risk management, land tenure, new patterns of rural life, human capital, world agricultural diversity, globalization, emerging countries, etc.
The CEP communicates in various formats: summaries for the Minister's counselors or Ministry administration, technical works (Notes et études socio-économiques technical journal, working papers, Food news survey), or publications for a wider audience, such as 4-page Analysis notes, survey blog and monitoring briefs, book reviews.
CEP activities has five missions:
- Alert: general and sector-specific informational watch, information sources monitoring, spotting of weak signals of change, change-bearing facts, policy evaluation results.
- Sensitize: outreaching on strategic foresight and evaluation methods in order to get the administration to integrate issues into their work.
- Support: providing council and expertise, intelligence, methods and acting as a general resource center, providing training sessions on strategic foresight and policy evaluation methods.
- Network: engaging internal and external networks, introducing stakeholders, managing focus groups and projects, etc.
- Promote: publishing of internal studies and work, taking part in public debates, promoting evaluation and strategic foresight results, etc.
- Represent: taking part regularly in meetings and events of strategic importance for the Ministry, contributing to national and international networks, etc.
The CEP works with all Ministry services as a provider of information, methods or more extensive expertise.
Among other transverse functions, the CEP manages the Ministry's annual study program. It also launches and manages calls for research projects (the focus for the year 2018 being on agricultural income). All studies that are funded have a strategic goal and constitute genuine decision-making support tools.
The CEP contributes to the design of large audience events such as conferences, seminars or study groups. Each month, a seminar, Les Rencontres du CEP, is proposed to the Ministry's staff and decision makers, where they can listen to a young PhD presenting his or her work.
Being often solicited by external partners, the CEP is often involved as a member of many focus groups or steering committees of various institutions: Ministries and government agencies, research organizations (e.g. Inra, Irstea, Cirad), OECD, European Commission, etc.
Informational watch and technical monitoring is at the core of the CEP's missions. They concern the Ministry's area of competence, locally and globally, from public policies to industrial activities, and encompass various publications (books, articles, conferences briefs, etc.) and sources (medias, web sites, national and international organizations, think tanks, research institutes, foundations, journals, editors, etc.). This work is notably used to produce a monthly general newsletter filed on internet and freely accessible (Bulletin de veille du CEP), a "Food watch", but also to respond to specific, ad-hoc requests from other Directorates of the Ministry.
Strategic foresight is another key activity of the CEP. It has notably issued in 2012 the book Le monde agricole en tendances (The agricultural world in trends), published by the La Documentation française. This strategic foresight study combines the expertise of fifteen scholars and proposes a prospective social portrait of the men and women that will tomorrow work the land in France. The CEP also released in 2013 a report on the possible strategies for coping with climate change in agriculture and forestry (Foresight study AFClim).
The CEP published, in March 2017, the findings of its strategic foresight study on the globalization of food systems (MOND'Alim 2030), which was carried out with a group of thirty experts of different profiles (sociologists, economists, political scientists, geographers, legal scholars, etc.). Local dynamics are increasingly affected by global factors: employment in the Brittany region in France is linked to changes in food industry in Brazil or New Zealand, rural development in Malaysia is dependent on the European consumer’s relationship to palm oil and rainforests, etc. This approach, which also considered the world as a system, has helped us best assess threats and opportunities for France. The book is organized into six thematic chapters that single out the most significant trends and contemplates their possible extensions, inflections or breaks.
Providing advice and support regarding policy evaluation are also core activities of the CEP. CEP agents offer advice to colleagues at different levels: on the relevance of an evaluation, its preparation, management, referential and methods, indicator definitions or expert identifications, etc. The CEP thus contributes to the methodological outreach and the Ministry's policy evaluation abilities.
Finally, the CEP carries out economic analysis work, notably with the use of an econometric model called MAGALI. The CEP provides economic expertise to the Ministry, in order to shed light on the effect of various agricultural policies and tools.
For more information regarding the CEP: http://agriculture.gouv.fr/le-centre-detudes-et-de-prospective-cep
To visit the information watch newsletter: http://veillecep.fr
To read the publications of the CEP in english : http://agreste.agriculture.gouv.fr/_analyses-en-anglais/
To contact the CEP: firstname.lastname@example.org