COVID-19, climate change, new technologies, new actors delivering humanitarian aid, the claim of colonialism in aid, and the changing power balance in global governance: humanitarian action is situated in a rapidly changing world. KUNO facilitates reflection on the current role of international humanitarian actors and the roles they may fulfil in the future.

The future of humanitarian aid

Several trends will change humanitarian practice fundamentally. COVID-19 and the renewed debate on racism and colonialism stress the need to put local actors in the heart of humanitarian responses. Climate change will annually increase the amount of natural hazards and their intensity, and seemingly ceaseless protracted conflicts will cause an increase in the annual number of people in need. New technologies have the ability to both help relieve conflict situations and exacerbate them. Shifting power dynamics in global governance and an ongoing war on terror, also affect the humanitarian system.

International NGOs have to consider these trends and think about their role in future scenarios. Recent reports have indicated that if international humanitarian NGOs are not to become side-lined by parallel structures, they should start thinking about their added value and strategize for the future. KUNO organizes reflective discussions with humanitarian actors and others on the consequences of the new humanitarian setting and the possible added value of Dutch humanitarian organizations in the future.

Further readings

Theme articles