Regionalism and Humanitarian Action in West Africa and Southeast Asia

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HPG, Humanitarian Policy Group,ODI, Overseas Development Institute

Regional organisations’ humanitarian ambitions have grown in recent years, both in terms of their engagement in humanitarian activity and in terms of the attention they have received in humanitarian research and policy fora. While the potential of regional organisations is there on paper, in reality there are several obstacles to identifying how regional organisations can best contribute to humanitarian action – and the role of other key humanitarian actors in this shift.
This short paper discusses the factors that shape the humanitarian approaches of regional organisations, as well as the issues that they identify as key in developing their humanitarian roles and responsibilities. It describes the experiences of facilitating an exchange programme between two regional organisations, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

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