The capacities of those delivering response to humanitarian crises determine the quality of aid, its relevance, effectiveness, and sustainability, and is key to the effective application of humanitarian principles. But in a rapidly changing aid ecosystem, how can humanitarian organisations better recruit, retain, and develop competent staff? How can individual practitioners have greater clarity on how to enter the aid sector and be effective for people in need? How can learning providers better target the most acute learning needs?

These are some of the questions that the first international study on humanitarian professions attempts to answer – the State of Humanitarian Professions 2020. Over the past year, Bioforce has been carrying out interviews and workshops, as well as a large-scale survey, with humanitarian actors, individual practitioners, and learning and development providers worldwide. The results include insights into the current state of 24 humanitarian professions and what their future will be. In addition, the study has looked at the core competencies across all humanitarian professions, how they are changing and what they will look like in the future.

On 17 November, we organized an online conference launching the State of the Humanitarian Professions 2020 study. This was an opportunity to learn more about the results of this study, as well as to discuss their wider implications for humanitarian work. We also encouraged all registrants to respond to a brief survey about the impact of COVID-19 on humanitarian professions, the results of which were presented during the conference.

For more information about the initiative, please visit the project page.

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Introductory remarks

Gilles Collard Gilles Collard Managing Director, Bioforce
Bénédicte Schutz Bénédicte Schutz Director of International Cooperation, Government of Monaco


Charlie Dalrymple Charlie Dalrymple Independent Consultant
Rory Downham Rory Downham Director of Learning and Development, Bioforce


Keiko Cornale Keiko Cornale International Human Resources Manager, French Red Cross
Yves Horent Yves Horent Senior Humanitarian Adviser, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)
Virginie Lefèvre Virginie Lefèvre Program & Partnerships Coordinator, Amel Association International
Boris Lissassi Boris Lissassi HR Manager, UNICEF


Angharad Laing Angharad Laing Executive Director, PHAP