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Humanitarian Futures in the Post-COVID-19 World
03 Jun 2020
Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies

The COVID-19 pandemic shows that the threat of a public health emergency at such a global scale is real and imminent and its ramifications go beyond direct responses to the pandemic. The humanitarian community is affected both directly and indirectly. Challenges facing humanitarian action are compounded by simultaneous emergencies, unique features of infectious diseases, disrupted supplies of humanitarian items, and cuts to humanitarian funding to name some of the most salient. The outbreak highlights the need for the humanitarian sector to reconsider its future planning to be better prepared for a much more complex and uncertain future.

The outbreak has given rise to different demands from conventional humanitarian needs. The communities displaced by disasters are more vulnerable as healthcare for them is minimal and not designed for dealing with infectious diseases at such a scale. The strong transmissibility of the disease further increases the vulnerability of these groups as their living conditions make it difficult to implement the necessary prevention measures. The ability of the humanitarian community to respond is compromised. Humanitarian actors face such challenges as protection for humanitarian workers, shortage in available humanitarian workers and competing humanitarian needs.

Complex situations with a public health emergency occur alongside pre-existing humanitarian problems and pose challenges to the existing response system in terms of leadership and coordination. Given the probability that the pandemic may last for an extended period and with the risk of concurrent outbreaks of other infectious diseases, it is timely and imperative to discuss the mindset, expertise, capacity and institutions that will inform the humanitarian community in the years ahead.

This webinar brought together a panel of speakers with different backgrounds related to humanitarian affairs to discuss how the current COVID-19 experience impact the future planning of the humanitarian sector. It examined how the mindset about future planning needs to change and what humanitarian needs will there be in the field. It also discussed the expectations on/of countries and regions, as recipients or donors, in humanitarian action.

Catch it here on the RSISVideoCast YouTube channel:

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