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Grand challenges are shaping twenty-first-century politics. Threats connected to health, climate, demographics and welfare are increasingly intruding on the lives of citizens. Still, governments are often found off-guard, and policymakers need strategies grounded in longer-term perspectives. Strategic foresight (SF) helps us to design and shape policies to prepare to withstand shocks, anticipating and adapting to changes. However, as governments work towards embedding SF into their policymaking processes, the empirical evidence suggests that applications are still piecemeal and predominantly limited to the agenda-settings and policy formulation stages. In this article, we argue that to drive anticipatory governance, foresight needs to be applied at all stages of the policy cycle, including in evaluating policies to draw lessons for future interventions. We maintain that considering SF systemically throughout the policymaking cycle, from agenda setting to evaluation, strengthens anticipatory governance.
In the Southern Mediterranean region, the European Union (EU) supports the establishment of rule of law, pressuring for both the adoption of institutional guarantees of judicial independence and the enhancement of court administration capabilities. Drawing on a set of interviews with key EU and domestic actors, this study compares Morocco and Jordan, examining changes adopted at the institutional and administrative level since the ‘Arab Spring’ broke out. The findings show that external incentives for change penetrated only the administrative level of domestic judicial systems, while a path-dependent effect persisted at the institutional level. The evidence confirms the thesis that in areas of low politics even a mere normative pressure is able to drive rule adoption, whereas in more sensitive policy areas, as in the case of institutional judicial guarantees, the higher costs of adaptation make veto players resistant to external influences for change.
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