Humanitarian Horizons Research Programme


A military aircraft passes by the washed out coastal villages in the province of Leyte, Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.
Photo: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

The humanitarian space is facing unprecedented challenges. With more protracted crises in the world than ever before and demand for humanitarian funding at an all-time high, humanitarian actors need
 to be more effective and efficient. 

Australia is a key contributor to the humanitarian world, providing government and public funding, technical support and personnel, and research and thinking that contributes to improving the humanitarian system.

Launched in 2017, Humanitarian Advisory Group’s Humanitarian Horizons research programme, supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was established to both inform and elevate the profile of humanitarian action in Asia and the Pacific.

Research Advisory Committee

The research program will be informed and shaped by strategic advice from key stakeholders in the region. The Research Advisory Committee consists of members comprising of a private sector representatives, academics and peak body representatives. The role of the Research Advisory Committee is to provide strategic advice for the research program and inform research priorities, processes and findings. Click here to see our Research Advisory Committee.

Scoping report on research priorities in the region

The first phase of the research will involve mapping out the research priorities for the region to shape a more comprehensive three-year program. The scoping process will involve consultation with key research partners and other regional and global stakeholders. Humanitarian actors in Asia and the Pacific are invited to rank our research ideas by their practicality for informing their work. We also encourage you to suggest completely new ideas.

Multi-year Research Projects

Research Project 1: Localising humanitarian action in Asia and the Pacific

This projects explores how Australia and its Pacific partners can develop the most appropriate and effective approaches to implementing and measuring their progress against the localisation commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit.


Research Project 2: Diverse humanitarian leadership

This project explores how diverse leadership contributes to more effective humanitarian action. It will start by mapping leadership roles to form a baseline that can be tracked over time, and then provide an evidence base for the anecdotal benefits of diverse leadership in humanitarian response operations in the Pacific.

Practice Paper Series

The Humanitarian Horizons practice paper series provides rapid analysis of emerging humanitarian issues to prompt critical reflection and awareness among responding actors and donors. Short, sharp and easily digestible, the papers focus on examining current responses, key gaps and new challenges at the regional and global levels.

Practice Paper 1: When the Rubber Hits the Road: Local Leadership in the first 100 days of the Rohingya Crisis Response

The international community has committed to a humanitarian system that is locally owned and led. This means a shift of power, resources and decision-making to local and national responders in humanitarian action. But how is this manifested during a humanitarian response of the scale and complexity of the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh? This rapid real-time analysis considers how the global localisation agenda has influenced the current operational response, and prompts questions about what happens when localisation moves from theory to practice.

Researched and written in partnership with Nirapad.