Implementation of backcasting in a development project in Nepal: The role of the transition manager

By Eva Wieners, Pushkar Pradhan, Martina Neuburger and Udo Schickhoff.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability: Annual Review

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 24, 2015 $US5.00

In order to make development cooperation more accountable, projects have become increasingly output-focused during the last decade. However, this can limit the focus of a project and restrict the role of the project manager and thus make it difficult to use synergy effects. This can reduce efficiency especially in rural societies where livelihoods are seen in a very holistic way. Backcasting is a method to generate future visions that have been jointly elaborated with all concerned stakeholders and to assess possible pathways towards a sustainable future. This paper presents benefits of backcasting implementation in a development project with a focus on the role of the transition manager. The results show backcasting leads to an open-ended and highly participative process and ensures that invested funds are allocated according to the recipients’ real needs. Furthermore it strengthens the feeling of inclusiveness amongst the members of the community. The demands towards the transition manager are very high though, as his/her role has to exceed the role of a mere facilitator towards one of a process manager. Moreover, the transfer of planning results into action is challenging. In order to make development cooperation more accountable, projects have become increasingly output-focused during the last decade. However, this can limit the focus of a project and restrict the role of the project manager and thus make it difficult to use synergy effects. This can reduce efficiency especially in rural societies where livelihoods are seen in a very holistic way. Backcasting is a method to generate future visions that have been jointly elaborated with all concerned stakeholders and to assess possible pathways towards a sustainable future. This paper presents benefits of backcasting implementation in a development project with a focus on the role of the transition manager. The results show backcasting leads to an open-ended and highly participative process and ensures that invested funds are allocated according to the recipients’ real needs. Furthermore it strengthens the feeling of inclusiveness amongst the members of the community. The demands towards the transition manager are very high though, as his/her role has to exceed the role of a mere facilitator towards one of a process manager. Moreover, the transfer of planning results into action is challenging.

Keywords: Backcasting, Transition Manager, Nepal, Sustainable Transitions, Participation

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability: Annual Review, Volume 11, 2015, pp.35-46. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 24, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 465.620KB)).

Eva Wieners

Ph.D Student, Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability , Institute of Geography, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

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Prof. Pushkar Pradhan

Professor, Central Department of Geography, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal

Dr. Martina Neuburger

Professor, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Dr. Udo Schickhoff

Professor, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany