A strength and advantage of the European Commission's department for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) is its worldwide network of seven regional offices and field offices in over 40 countries. The presence of field humanitarian staff across the world enables the Commission to have an up-to-date overview of humanitarian needs in a given country or region, which enables better development of intervention strategies and policy. It further ensures technical support and adequate monitoring of EU-funded operations and facilitates donors' coordination at field level.
The Commission's humanitarian experts support operations with their specific expertise (in areas such as food or health), or with their national or regional expertise, or they provide security or logistics assistance for operations.
The allocation of budget to the field offices as well as the opening of new offices in a region or inside a country depends on the assessed needs and the humanitarian situation. Accordingly, the size and type of offices and the number of humanitarian experts mandated in the field varies from one location to another.