Planning from the future: A new approach to aid

On 12 December, PHAP organized a briefing on Humanitarian Futures: Capacities for 21st century humanitarian organizations. The event featured presentations from Randolph Kent and Joanne Burke, creators of the Humanitarian Futures Platform, and Beris Gwynne from Incitāre, introducing the concept of the “humanitarian futures challenge” and discussing the capacities that humanitarian organizations will need to prepare for future.

Beris Gwynne, started off by describing the growing concern with “humanitarian futures” in the humanitarian community given the accelerating speed of change and the complexity of conflicts and disasters around the world, prompting a need to think differently about how we approach humanitarian aid.

Her introduction was followed by Randolph Kent, who stressed the importance to look beyond calculations and evidence-based analyses, and explained the need for humanitarian organizations to start developing an anticipatory and adaptive thinking and behavior, adopt innovative practices and new forms of collaboration, and foster strategic leadership within their organizations.

Joanne Burke presented a new set of tools and resources that have developed in the framework of the Humanitarian Futures Platform for enhancing the organizational and inter-organizational capability of humanitarian actors to prepare themselves for the future by planning from the future. The toolkit consists of the “Futures Roundtable” focusing on policy development, the “Testing the Future” exercise with a focus on practical challenges, the Ferghana Valley scenario with an emphasis on the need for collaboration, and the Organizational Self-Assessment Tool (OSAT).

If you missed this event, you can now find the recordings of these presentations and of the Q&A session at


24-25 May 2018 - Special Workshop on Humanitarian Futures: Preparing for the Future

For those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the concept “humanitarian futures” and the capacities needed to effectively deal with an ever more complex and uncertain humanitarian landscape, read more and apply for PHAP's Special Workshop on Humanitarian Futures in Geneva, 24-25 May 2018, with Randolph Kent, Joanne Burke, and Beris Gwynne.


PHAP Briefings

PHAP Briefings is a series of online events targeted to all humanitarian practitioners, and aimed at sharing an overall critical perspective to the latest discussions on different topics and issues affecting the humanitarian sector. The sessions focus on updates, overviews, and introductions to new research, trends, concepts, and approaches to humanitarian action.