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Humanitarian Horizons

Achieving better outcomes for people affected by crisis.

Myanmar, Photography by Greta Carroll

About the program

Humanitarian Horizons 202124 is the second iteration of HAG’s strategic, sector-wide research program.

Focusing on the Indo-Pacific region, Humanitarian Horizons works with our partners  to ask the hard questions about how things can be done differently and provide alternatives to make change happen.

The program has been at the forefront of humanitarian thinking and practitioner-based research in our region over the past five years. The 2021-24 program builds on our experience and research work from the pilot phase (2017–18) and the Humanitarian Horizons 2018– 21 program.

The proposed research program for 2021–24 builds on achievements to date via three interlocking research streams. All streams reflect our commitment to locally informed humanitarian research and approaches that support constructive change.

Humanitarian Horizons is delivered by HAG in partnership with trusted regional partners and is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The views expressed through this research are the authors’ alone and are not necessarily the views of the Australian Government.

Research streams

People, Power and Local Leadership

The shift to a more localised and equitable system that facilitates ethical and effective humanitarian action must be built from evidence and clear pathways for action.

Greening the System

Supporting the sector to measurable reduce the negative impacts of humanitarian on the climate and environment is critical to work towards a joint creation of a vision for Green Response.

Real Time Analysis and Influence

Translating research into practice remains challenging. Creating a space for brave debates on newly emerging issues for time-poor practitioners and policy-makers is essential for the humanitarian sector.

Governance, Accountability and Learning

Humanitarian Horizons is constantly learning and adapting to maximise the impact of research findings through partner engagement and accountability, transparency, ethical principles and its Research Advisory Committee.

What we're building from

During 2020-21, HAG undertook an in-depth design process in order to bring together sector priorities into cohesive and innovative research streams.

The conceptualisation and design process included consultations through key informant interviews, regional briefings for the Pacific, South Asia and Southeast Asia, a global survey, findings from an independent Mid-Term Review of the current Humanitarian Horizons program and desk review to capture the current state of knowledge related to the research streams.

Our guiding principles

How we conduct our research is just as important as what we produce, and we believe the research process is strongly linked to uptake and outcomes.

Our guiding principles and values underpin the research program and will also inform the development of our research partnerships.


Collective impact: our approach to partnerships

Our research is designed to be culturally sensitive and appropriate, with consideration and appreciation of context at every stage. We aim for diversity and representation in our research process. Humanitarian Horizons will draw on best practice in localised approaches to research, including examples from our own work in the Pacific such as the Localising the Research Process: Walking the Talk Insight Series and our ongoing partnership with PIANGO. 

Partnerships are central to our way of working and we believe that working in partnership enables a collective contribution that can more effectively drive positive change in the humanitarian system. That is why we are committed to collaborating with other organisations – particularly national researchers and organisations – to achieve collective impact in a meaningful, mutually beneficial way. We are guided by our Partnership Framework which provides a basis for us to engage with existing and prospective partners.

Australia, Photography by Greta Carroll


We recognise that tracking research impact is complex but incredibly important.

Our approach aims to track not only research outputs, but also impact on thinking and practice. In order to do this, we need to recognise and factor in the time between generating evidence through research and the subsequent impact on the sector that may evolve over several months and years. For this reason, our existing Monitoring and Evaluation Framework will continue to track the impact of the existing research portfolio into 2021-22, at the same time as building a rigorous approach to monitoring impact of the new research streams. 

Read the latest tracking impact report from our 2018-21 program.

We work with advisors and our national partners to ensure our communications are relevant and strategic. 

The 2021–24 Humanitarian Horizons program will develop a strategic communication and engagement strategy that aligns with the overall organisational communications strategy. It will allow HAG and partners to act on the mid-term review recommendation to improve the strategy, visibility and resourcing of our communication and engagement.