The vast majority of the organisations in the humanitarian sector are rightly focused on the immediate. In order words, “How effective was our response in Haiti. How good are we at linking conflict prevention with humanitarian response? What are the roles of the military in a peace-building situation and other vital questions which are dealt with very effectively by a range of organisations in the UK and elsewhere? But very few are really asking what’s on the horizon and beyond? What do potential crises look like in 20 years’ time? So what is the HFP niche?
We’re willing to speculate about what might be – never in terms of prediction – but rather in an exercise to enhance the anticipatory and adaptive abilities of organisations which ultimately will be responsible for future humanitarian concerns. Our role is fundamental. It is not an added value service. It is essential. Whether it’s in the corporate, humanitarian or military sector, if you’re not thinking about the kinds of things which might happen and may not be prepared for, then you’ll be lulled into a false sense of security, locked into the same old ways of looking at things and you won’t be able to respond effectively to different kinds of challenges. The consequence is that we do the same old response using devices and systems which don’t really help those in need but make our job easier because we don’t bother to think more imaginatively.