Embracing New Perspectives in Technology, Methodology, and Strategy

by International Academy of Red Cross Red Crescent (IARC) Hosted by the Red Cross Society of China | Jan 2, 2024 | Thought Pieces

We prompted reflection on global humanitarian challenges and how to embrace new landscapes in the fields of technology, methodology and strategy. From climate crises to escalating conflicts, questions arise. How do we overcome localization barriers? What is our role in systemic issues? And what are the innovative solutions and perspectives for a resilient organisation in 2024?

As we stand at the threshold of a new year, it is imperative for humanitarian professionals and stakeholders to to critically examine the evolving landscape and anticipate the challenges that lie ahead.

In the field of global governance and humanitarian action, 2024 promises to be a year of both opportunities and obstacles, and we call on all parties to work together to upgrade their humanitarian techniques, tactics, and strategies in exploration, practice, learning, and connection to better respond to the new global changes.

Climate change, new armed conflicts and population movements are major challenges in 2024

As we explored at the 3rd Soochow International Humanitarian Forum in 2023, the climate crisis will continue to evolve on the scale of single events and long-term changes; people and communities, flora and fauna, and ecosystems around the world, in cities, towns, and villages, will have to cope with drastic changes.

August 2023 – Chinese Red Cross Foundation responding to the flood in Beijing, Hebei, and Tianjin – © Red Cross Society of China

New armed conflicts are increasing in number and intensity, taking a direct and violent toll on civilians and the societies they lived while leaving a long period of trauma recovery and social reconstruction, during which peace will still need to be carefully preserved and the expansion of the conflict into a regional crisis be concerned.

These two types of hazards have led to a new peak in the growth of the global displaced population, which has increased by 20% in the past year alone. This dynamic is further compounded with economy, food crisis, infectious diseases. We are faced not just with isolated incidents of humanitarian crises, but with a complex global system that is increasingly generating humanitarian crises as it develops.

Exploring innovative solutions: AI, anticipatory action and cross-sectoral cooperation

Technically, we are embracing the digital age and beginning to reshape the way we collect data, communicate, coordinate, analyze and fundraise, manage supply chain, and deliver services, as well as cautiously ereducing multiple ethical risks. The opportunities and challenges that artificial intelligence presents for humanitarian work remain largely unknown. We need to find pathways for an ambitious people-centered technological imagination.

We are also actively proposing changes in methodology. The mainstreaming of  anticipatory action is a positive dynamic that holds promise for reducing humanitarian needs. Capacity building for response at national and local levels is showing positive impacts, for example in China, where many local organizations already have a strong awareness of responding to meteorological warning forecasts. More collaboration between the humanitarian and scientific communities promises positive hope.

Perhaps the strategic challenges facing humanitarians are even greater. What are the core barriers to localization that have stalled or even set back the process? Is it still possible to push forward? From specific access to conflict-affected areas to broader policy advocacy, how flexible should the boundaries of humanitarian diplomacy and cross-sectoral cooperation be? In climate and other global systemic issues, do we want to fight for more humanitarian funding, or play more of a supporting and complementary role?

In meeting the challenges of 2024, we are well aware that the future will require both more professional humanitarian workers and more collaborators with a humanitarian vision; breakthroughs in humanitarian theory and practice, as well as the integration of humanitarian with development, peace, science, business and many other fields.

Perspectives from the International Academy of Red Cross Red Crescent (IARC): for a “Community of Human Destiny”

The International Academy of Red Cross Red Crescent IARC – Hosted by the Red Cross Society of China, will continuously uphold the innovative developing perspective and stands ready as a base for personnel training, a highland for theoretical research, a place for value dissemination and a platform for international humanitarian cooperation, so as to implement the idea of “community of human destiny”. We will contribute our wisdom and strength to achieve the high-quality development of the global humanitarian cause.

The International Academy of Red Cross Red Crescent (IARC), jointly founded by the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC), Soochow University and the Chinese Red Cross Foundation, is a teaching and research institution dedicated to theoretical research, talent training, cultural communication, academic exchanges, and international cooperation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. 

The academy brings new impetus into the network and a platform, wisdom and solutions for the development of global humanitarian undertakings.

17th July 2023 – Flood response in the city of Chongqing, southwestern China – © Red Cross Society of China

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