Scale: Predictions over the impact of climate change and globalization suggest that we will see more frequent disasters in a greater number of countries, along with more civil unrest in those states less able to cope with this rapidly changing environment, all generating a greater demand for humanitarian and development assistance (cf. Walker, P., Russ, C., 2012. Fit for purpose: the role of modern professionalism in evolving the humanitarian endeavour. International Review of the Red Cross 93, 1193–1210.)
Complexity: The world’s problems are characterized by volatility, uncertainty, and complexity in a knowledge society. The industry to tackle these growing challenges has expanded rapidly to become increasingly professionalized, with a concentrated number of global players increasingly focused on the professionalization of more than 600,000 paid aid workers and over 17 million volunteers active worldwide in UN agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and the main international non governmental organizations (INGOs).
Innovation: The scale and complexity of humanitarian and development issues call for doing new things in new ways. The skills and processes that will prepare the humanitarian workers of tomorrow are not yet embedded in our educational structures. In fact, education is failing to prepare humanity for the challenges of the future. Existing partnerships do not address this gap. Attempting to do more of what has been done in the past is not the answer. No single organization can solve a question of such immense and worldwide importance. It is the future of humanity that is at stake.
Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls via flickr.com