1st Edition

Humanitarian Futures Challenges and Opportunities

By Randolph C. Kent Copyright 2025
    246 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    246 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Humanitarian Futures: Challenges and Opportunities explores the increasing types, dimensions and dynamics of crises threatening the world in the twenty-first century, and argues that those with humanitarian roles and responsibilities can only meet such challenges if their approaches to strategic and operational planning undergo fundamental paradigmatic shifts. Strategically and operationally, such shifts must begin by planning from the future, for the future.


    Author Randolph Kent, the UN’s first Humanitarian Coordinator, with experience in some of the most complex crises of modern times, including Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kosovo, Sudan and Somalia, provides a blueprint for dealing with ever greater complexity on planet Earth and beyond. That blueprint is not about upgrading existing tools or relying upon tried precedence. Rather, it points to a new paradigm for meeting crises. It begins by looking at the changing nature of humanness and governance, and then turns to plausible future crises based on such changes, before concluding with practical steps for dealing with ever more complex humanitarian threats, now and in the future.


    This book will be an essential read for humanitarian policymakers and practitioners as well as for humanitarian and global studies researchers and students who are and want to be engaged in understanding and preparing for ever more complex and unpredictable humanitarian challenges.


    Introduction    Cassandra’s Challenge and the Helenus Alternative


    Chapter 1          An Odyssey


    Chapter 2          The Changing Dimensions of Human Agency



    Chapter 3          Governance and Resource Prioritisation from a Futures  Perspective


    Chapter 4          Towards the Brink



    Chapter 5          The Entanglement Nexus



    Chapter 6          Managing Humanitarian Threats in a Polylateral World



    Chapter 7          The Humanitarian Organisation for the Future


    Chapter 8          The Helenus Alternative – Planning from the Future




    Randolph C. Kent is Visiting Professor, African Leadership Centre, King’s College, London; Honorary Professor at the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London; Senior Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institute and Director of the Humanitarian Futures Programme [www.humanitarianfutures.org]