Special Session. Future Preparedness Index
List of speakers

On October 18, 2014, within the framework of the 14th Annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, a special session was held, devoted to the results of the Future Preparedness Index, a  joint project of the Valdai Club and VTsIOM.

The idea of the Future Preparedness Index calculation is based on the assumption, that it is possible to assess the degree of countries' readiness for the various challenges of tomorrow, relying on the study of a set of parameters, that characterize the state today and in the near future in economic, political, cultural and humanitarian areas.

The project is designed to show, that there are countries, that are most responsible for self-organization and their experience can be used to improve the picture of the future in other states, said Andrey Bystritskiy, chairman the Valdai Discussion Club.

Valery Fyodorov, General Director of the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), spoke about the methodology of the project. Researchers have identified ten areas that seem most important from the point of view of predicting the future of mankind and the future of the world's largest states in a time horizon of 10-15 years.

These areas include state consistency, economics, technology, culture and communication, society, science, education, ecology and natural resources, international influence, the quality of public administration.

Furthermore, the researchers identified key trends in each of the investigated areas. The next steps involved analysis of the statistical data and an expert survey, where 96 experts took part - half of them were from foreign countries. At the final stage of the study, the collected data were combined and the Index was formed. This year, the survey covered the G20 countries.

Leader of the aggregated Future Preparedness Index, which is a derivative of 10 sub-indexes, is Germany. On the second place is the United States, on the third - the United Kingdom. Japan closes the group of leaders.

The second group on the level of preparedness for the future includes the following countries: France, Canada, South Korea, the European Union, Australia and China. In the third group are Italy and the Russian Federation. The fourth group consists of India, Mexico, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia.

According to the general opinion of experts, the conducted research makes us think about the most problematic areas of development. Andrei Fursenko, Aide to the President of the Russian Federation, emphasized, that this research is valuable because it provides an opportunity to discuss important issues related to the development of states. At the same time he drew attention to the fact that the future consists not only of opportunities, but also of risks.

Hans-Joachim Spanger, Head of Research Group and member of the Executive Board of the Peace Research Institute, Frankfurt, expressed the opinion, that there is no index in the world without flaws, and called for more detailed processing of expert opinions. But, as Valery Fyodorov explained, in this study, the statistic data were primarily used, while the expert resource was perceived as a way to adapt the Index to a rapidly changing future.

Perhaps the main remark of experts regarding the Index was the lack of scenarios of the future itself, to which the countries should be ready. Andrey Bystritskiy agreed that the issue of future scenarios is indeed the most important. He noted, that the authors of the study continue to reflect in the direction of expanding and supplementing the Index, including the increasing of the number of measured countries.

In conclusion, Valery Fyodorov expressed the hope that the evaluations of the authors of the project, which may seem too alarmistic, will help the leadership of the states to take measures, necessary to increase their readiness for future challenges.e authors of the project, which may seem too alarmistic, will help the leadership of the states to take measures, necessary to increase their readiness for future challenges.