Critical Choices:
Triaging Humanitarian Priorities  

Each year, the Humanitarian Congress Berlin brings together leading and emerging experts from around the globe to share experiences and knowledge in an international and multidisciplinary setting. Over the past two decades, the Humanitarian Congress has created a platform for a growing community with a shared interest in the major issues and challenges confronting humanitarian action. Furthermore, the event involves and engages young professionals who are interested in humanitarian issues and humanitarian practice.  

This year’s programme will revolve around navigating humanitarian needs against the backdrop of diverse crises. The rise of authoritarian regimes, a global shift towards right-wing politics, the climate crisis, the systematic erosion of humanitarian principles and attacks on humanitarians accompanied by drastic budget cuts amongst others are putting unprecedented pressure on humanitarian actors, further politicising them and endangering their safety. When it comes to making decisions, humanitarian actors often find themselves grappling with dilemmas, delicately managing available funding, competing urgent needs, and access to vulnerable populations. Navigating these decisions mirrors the concept of triage. Balancing these factors requires careful judgement and ethical reflection, emphasising the need for transparency and accountability in humanitarian action. However, in some instances, the urgency of the situation may preclude thorough deliberation, underscoring the imperative to act swiftly and decisively despite limited information or resources. Moreover, a solid basis in humanitarian principles is crucial to avoid further humanitarian deserts, where too few actors are present. The congress will explore how, besides growing priorities in a multipolar world, a coherent vision for humanitarian intervention as well as forward-thinking approaches such as the use of AI in humanitarian action, anticipatory action, and the long-term consequences of crises can be applied to seek solutions for equitable, resilient, and sustainable futures.