© 2022 Eduardo Rodriguez. Food and hygiene kit distribution in Maripa.

The year ahead – A daunting 2023 and the opportunity for change

Humanitarian crises are on the rise. This is not a surprise for people working in the international aid sector; we have seen an increase in the number and scale of these around the world.

Myriam Castaneda Solares

Myriam Castañeda Solares


Time to read: 2 minutes

Area of work:

According to the Global Humanitarian Overview, a record 339 million people will be in need of assistance by the beginning of 2023, an increase of 65 million people compared to the same time in 2022.

The estimated cost of humanitarian response for 2023 has reached $51.5 billion, making the $25 billion gap between resources and needs the widest in history. There are several factors that pose more challenges for the year ahead, but two pressing threats are the global economic slowdown and the escalating impacts of the climate crisis.

And while gaps in funding widen and more crises become protracted, the humanitarian sector continues talking about the same issues from years, even decades past. Yes, the sector faces extremely challenging and complex issues, and yes, those issues are not ‘solved’ in a short period of time, but as a new year reflection, we should ask, what concrete steps are we really taking to drive transformative change?

There are many topics that will continue to drive debate in 2023, and for Start Network, a systems change organisation, the themes that we will continue to focus on to transform our sector into a more proactive, locally led, and innovative one include:

  1. Protecting lives and livelihoods through anticipatory action
  2. The value of authentic locally led action
  3. Feasible solutions to climate crises
  4. Supporting communities to mitigate the global food crisis
  5. Dignified humanitarian assistance
  6. Doing more with less through pooled funds


The opportunity

With an alarming 2023 humanitarian forecast, historical ways of working are no longer fit for purpose, thus creating an opportunity for the whole sector to move into action. We know what we must do, the question is, why do we continue to work in an outdated and inflexible way?

 We will continue to advocate for:

  • Shifting power and decentralising decision-making to locally led networks and organisations.

  • Creating a global humanitarian financing system that is increasingly focused on reducing risk, anticipating, and acting ahead of predictable crises.

  • Supporting communities to develop innovative solutions to humanitarian problems.