Regional Organisations Humanitarian Action Network conference paper 2017

Briefing papers
January 2018
Barnaby Willits-King

The third meeting of the Regional Organisations Humanitarian Action Network (ROHAN) took place from 7–9 November 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, hosted by the African Union Commission Department of Political Affairs. The meeting brought together representatives from centres and secretariats of regional organisations involved in humanitarian action to exchange experiences, share knowledge and build relationships and networks. It also offered an opportunity to reflect on ROHAN’s future role and how to take the network forward. 

The network has continued to build links among members through regular quarterly coordination calls and knowledge-sharing through different platforms. Members, and ODI as the informal secretariat, have provided updates on ROHAN to interested stakeholders, including the UN Agenda for Humanity reporting platform, the European Union presidency and the media. ROHAN also introduced regional organisations to each other – for example, this helped the Intergovernmental Authority on Development better understand the dynamics of working in disaster and conflict prone areas.

Regional organisations have a unique place in the international architecture, with a number of comparative advantages in their relationships with both affected member states and international bodies. They are playing increasingly important roles, with growing response capacity, but awareness of their role is still limited; they face a number of common challenges, particularly around capacity. Key areas of collaboration include setting up operational agencies and around thematic issues such as displacement, but there is scope for a higher level of ambition for ROHAN, which can be taken forward over the coming year.