(*) Relevant topic in work programme
Natural resources management optimization
Societal visions for 2050
Pathways for transition to sustainable and fair societies
Quick description of the project
4D implements a research project since 2011: « The infinity in a limited world » : which political,
economical and social transitions in a context of natural resources limitation, for the different scales of
action?”. This study aims to draw the pathways to an ecological economy in 2050. The concept of
« Ecological economy », claims that the sustainability of societies can’t be conceivable without
At first, the environnemental pressure is considered : only one planet and limited ressources.
4D published in June 2012 the first report : “ Controversy about natural resources : evaluation
and issues”. This report identify limits for 5 ressource’s categories : biological diversity,
mineral ressources, energetics ressources, natural ecosystems and finally agriculture
Toward the transition, three requirements are setting : equity and access for all to essential
services ; a democratic shape for public policies ; and new options, alternative to the consumer
This study engages a process of future’s exploration: put the future on light and enhance
citizen’s debate, professional’s thought and political decisions. Faced with international crises,
we need new proposals. 4D choose the backcasting methodology : we propose three visions of
a desirable future : “Green consumption”; Biocivilization” and “Cognitive civilization”. Three
different visions, with sustainable development goals, in order to define the transition
pathways. Research is investigating values, technological innovations, economical tools, public
policies and mechanisms behind societal transformation and the knowledge gained from
experiences at different scales, for different type of actors, with such societal transitions and
4D is working with many partners: economists, urban planners, sociologists, specialist for energy
Sharing and debate is in the core of our methodology : workshops and working groups are organized
This study contributes to the national program “Transitions to an ecological economy”, leaded by the
French Minister of sustainable development. This study also give rise to activities of the association :
trainings, debates, publications, pledges etc.
Next Steps :
- sharing the results of the french case study (long term societal visions and scenarios) with
European partners: researchers, NGO or local authorities.
Activities: comparative or additional/ thematic analysis, quantitative or qualitative.
- implementing a new research with European partner, with the backcasting methodology, at national
or territorial scale.
(*) Description of the expertise offered (up to 1000 characters)
4D propose some future’s visions, based on existing prospective studies and own works,
especially on natural resources.
4D has developed a methodology for prospective analysis with a participatory process, with
different actors: researchers, political leaders, citizens, civil society etc.
Our expertise is based on global and transverse vision : 4D works for 20 years on sustainable
development issues, at international, national and territorial level, connecting different levels of
action and decisions.
Our expertise is based on vision, data based management, but also on a skill for debate
organization and network facilitation.
Keywords describing the expertise offered (up to 10 words)
Natural resources management
Transverse analysis and participatory approach
Organisation and country:
Association 4D, France
Type of organisation:
□ Enterprise □ SME □ Academic □Research institute □ Public Body □ Other: Association
Former participation in FP European projects?
□ Yes □X No
Description of the organisation:
It was back in 1993, following the Rio Earth Summit, that Association 4D was created in order to
set up a citizen network to promote sustainable development and to keep track of the
commitments made by France as well as the other UN member States.
Association 4D encourages the sharing of information, knowledge and experiences through the
networking of local and global stakeholders : public authorities, territorial communities, unions,
NGOs, expert networks, research institutes, companies involved in social and environmental
concern, European and international institutions. All the themes that Association 4D works on
have an international dimension, but are also fully coherent with the actions undertaken at all
levels of society. Indeed, 4D has always considered the territorial approach, as well as working
with local citizens, essential.
4D is leading the French agenda 21 observatory : http://www.observatoire-territoires-
durables.org, and publishes the Sustainable Development Encyclopedia : http://encyclopedie-
4D is also the leader of the French Collectif RIO+20 : http://collectif-france.rio20.net/
(*) Contact details
Contact person CHERON Marie
Telephone 0033 (0) 1 84 16 60 27