Policy-screening scenarios are used in ex-ante assessments to forecast the effects of alternative policy or management options (interventions) on environmental outcomes. In policy-screening scenarios, a policy, or set of policies, is applied and an assessment of how the policy modifies the future is carried out (Figure SPM 2).

Policy-screening scenario analysis can contribute significantly to policy design and implementation.

Figure SPM 2: Policy-screening scenarios illustrated by a graph of changes in nature and nature’s benefits over time. The dashed lines represent various policy options under consideration.

Table 3.1: Combining scenario approaches and policy objectives (in the context of policy-screening scenarios ).

Approaches for using scenarios

Brief summary

Relevance for policy making processes

Role of indirect and direct drivers

INTERVENTION: Policy screening using ex-ante assessment

Depicts the future effects of environmental policies

Policy Screening and impact assessment of alternative policy options before implementation

Driver projections are used as reference for policy options

Examples of assessments which have used policy screening scenarios:

  • Strategic Environmental Assessment of Hydropower on the Mekong mainstream (SEA Directive, 2001).
  • Assessment of biofuel policies on direct and indirect land use change (e.g. Moser and Mußhoff, 2015, DOI: 10.1111/1477-9552.12114)
  • Rethinking Global Biodiversity Strategies