Disasters and crises in the next decade and longer future are predicted to grow significantly in magnitude and frequency and aggravated by technological, socio-economic and geopolitical factors at regional and global levels. Such possibilities give rise to the demand for humanitarian actors to build new expertise and capacity to prepare for the much more complex and uncertain future. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how a public health crisis can cause profound humanitarian, socio-economic and security consequences. It thus serves as a reminder for humanitarian organisations about the need for institutional transformation to deal with future disasters. Apart from drawing lessons from the past experience, it is essential to take an anticipatory approach to preparing for future scenarios that will be likely to see the concurrence or interface of different types of disaster at higher intensity and frequency. Against this background, humanitarian organisations will need to develop the mind-set and capacity to deal with the future disasters.
The RSIS workshop on humanitarian futures will focus on future challenges facing the military sector and civil-military relations, as a result of intersection of both old and new disruptions in Southeast Asia and the broad Asia Pacific. The workshop will consists of two parts. Part 1 will be a half-day meeting to map out the trends and factors that will lead to future disasters. Part 2 will be full day. Participants will discuss the possible disaster scenarios in the future, the essential capacities of the military and practical steps to build the capacities. As Southeast Asia will aim to realise the ASEAN vision 2025 on disaster management and the world will strive for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, this constitutes a first step of the exercise to inform policy makers and humanitarian actors and thus help the region better prepare for humanitarian challenges in the new decade and beyond.