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Humanitarian Horizons: Practitioners’ Guide to the Future

The Humanitarian Horizons project is a futures capacitybuilding initiative intended to assist the humanitarian sector to prepare for the complexities of the future. It operates by enabling organizations to enhance their anticipatory and adaptive capacities.

The project is implemented jointly by the Feinstein International Centre of Tufts University and the Humanitarian Futures Programme of King's College, London and was launched in 2008. The project report, Humanitarian Horizons: Practitioners' Guide to the Future, has recently been produced (Jan 2010).

At the outset of the project, four reports were commissioned on what the future might look like, focusing respectively on climate change, globalisation, demographics, and changes in the humanitarian system. An Inter-Agency Working Group (IWG) - comprising Catholic Relief Services, the International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, World Vision Australia, World Vision Canada, and World Vision International - collaborated to reflect on these reports, and this analysis is presented.

In examining possible future scenarios and their consequences for humanitarian agencies, three central themes emerge. They are:

The authors consider the guide as just one tool to encourage creative thinking and more experimentation with new practice. It should stimulate debate about agency futures and the futures of the communities they serve, working with them to develop new ways of providing assistance and protection.

The report and the commissioned papers are available to download at

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Reference this page

Humanitarian Horizons: Practitioners’ Guide to the Future. Field Exchange 38, April 2010. p22.



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