Regional inter-governmental organizations from the Americas to Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific are playing an increasingly visible role in humanitarian action. While it is often stated that regional organizations are an ‘emerging’ humanitarian actor, many have in fact been involved for many years in numerous areas, including disaster risk reduction, early warning systems, humanitarian coordination and aid delivery, and in a variety of crises, ranging from natural disasters and conflicts through to epidemics such as Ebola.
These institutions understand their regions better and have broadly shared cultures and, in some cases, shared languages. They are also directly impacted by – and thus have a greater incentive to address – transnational issues in their neighbourhood, whether major disasters, environmental challenges, refugee flows or conflicts with a potential to spill across borders. Regional Organizations are also involved in peace mediation and peace support operations. Regional Organizations offer governments and humanitarian agencies another option to pursue when responding to crises based on the particular conditions on the ground.
The Regional Organisations Humanitarian Action network (ROHAN) was launched to strengthen capacities and collaboration within and between regional organisations which have been increasing their capacity to complement both national and international humanitarian response and preparedness efforts.