The author of this article, Cornelio Sommaruga, was President of the ICRC between 1987 and 1999. In it he draws some conclusions from his long experience and also looks to the future. In his opinion, some of the main challenges facing the humanitarian community may be summarized as follows, namely, to stop the criminalization of war, to clarify the purpose of humanitarian action, to understand the victims' interests, to link ethics and international relations, to make humanitarians more receptive to other considerations of civil society. In his closing remarks the author invites all those interested in the future of humanitarian action to reflect on what must be done to tackle extreme poverty, to safeguard the natural environment, to increase respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, to improve the status of women and to prevent natural disasters. — Rejecting a fatalistic approach, the author calls for action.