Scenarios for Peace Operations 2025

The world of peace operations has changed tremendously in recent decades and will surely continue to do so in the future. That’s not exactly news. But how will it change? What will be the drivers and key factors, what will be the landscape for change? What kinds of conflict will we face and what concepts, instruments and resources will we have to face them?

In other words: How could the peace operations world look in the year 2025?


Building on the contributions of an outstanding group of experts, practitioners but also non-insiders to peace operations, ZIF has applied modern scenario methodology to shed some light on these questions and “create” four scenarios upcoming discussions can built on:



These scenarios are meant as a stimulus for further debate. We will discuss them with various international audiences discusses and aim to derive operational requirements for peace-operations-related work today.

Read the publication "Peace Operations 2025".

Why Scenarios?

Scenarios can be perceived as vivid pictures of the future. They can help us to imagine how a certain subject might evolve. Scenario processes are a useful tool for a number of reasons – particularly in highly complex fields shaped by a multitude of factors, actors and interests such as international peace operations.


First, these processes can bring together experts with diverse backgrounds and from different disciplines in order to avoid groupthink and allow for new thinking and fresh approaches in a given field. Emerging trends and developments can be assessed from different angles leading to a more comprehensive picture of possible future impacts.

Second, scenario processes help identify key factors likely to drive change in a given field and make it possible to distinguish between those factors whose development can be influenced and those that must be accepted as given. They help us think about which factors could truly change the game.

Third, while scenario development does not result in forecasts, it generates “big pictures.” Scenarios present both more and less desirable versions of the future and the pathways leading to them. They thus encourage thinking about how to promote preferred outcomes and avoid undesirable ones and can help prepare for a large number of contingencies.


While scenarios do not come with policy recommendations as such, they allow policy-makers to think about the future and their own options in a more structured manner.