Megatrends and the future of humanitarian action

31 December 2011 Elizabeth Ferris

This article assesses the implications of six megatrends for humanitarian action in the future, including changes in demography, technology and science, economics, political power, climate, and patterns of conflict. The interaction of these trends suggests a particularly complex landscape for future humanitarian response. For example, conflict in the future is more likely to take place in cities that are growing as a result of economic and environmental factors. Social media are contributing to both political change and humanitarian response, while changes in global political and economic power are likely to influence the way in which the international humanitarian system is financed and supported.

About the author

Elizabeth Ferris
Senior fellow at the Brookings Institution

Elizabeth Ferris is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-director of the Brookings–LSE Project on Internal Displacement. Her most recent book, The Politics of Protection: The Limits of Humanitarian Action, was published in 2011.