Regions and Cities Governance Lab (Re-LAB)

Over the past decades, regional organisations have gained an essential role in the global governance structure. By now, these organisations cover almost every part of the globe and their number continues to increase every year. The proliferation of regional organisations provokes their overlap, adding a further level of complexity when it comes to governance. It is also a dynamic and volatile process: regional configurations expand and retract, as they constantly redefine the delineations of inclusion and exclusion. Even established regional organisations remain vulnerable to nationalist sentiments calling for disintegration.

Moreover, regional governance is becoming increasingly complex due to the number of actors involved. Beyond the autonomous nation-state, various actors at the supra- and sub-national levels shape a multitude of domains, from value chains to humanitarian action. In many cases, the administrations of regional organisations have attained a notable level of agency. They conduct their own external relations with non-members, international institutions of the United Nations system, and with other regional organisations, including non-state actors such as transnational corporate groups and civil society organisations. Substate regions and cities are following suit and have gained stature on the international stage.

The Regions and Cities Governance Lab is about understanding the institutional dynamics surrounding regional organisations. In addition to internal developments, Re-LAB studies interregionalism within a multi-level governance ecosystem, exploring how regions and cities engage in an international system that is under stress and in need of reform. Re-LAB considers transnational governance as a laboratory of continuous institutional adaptation and thereby provides a transversal linkage for all other research programmes and clusters at UNU-CRIS.


• Provide UNU-CRIS with methodological foundations of comparative regionalism (ontologies, theories, issues of comparability)

• Study the external relations of regional organizations, including relations with the UN and interregionalism.

• Examine the substance and forms of transnational governance mechanisms.

• Deepen the understanding of institutionalised regional cooperation and integration.


The Shared Neighbourhood Between the EU and Russia: From Conflictual towards Cooperative Regional Orders

EU Conflict Mediation in its Wider Neighbourhood: Mapping and Explaining the EU’s Incoherent Involvement in Peace-Making

Applying Multi-Level Governance i n ASEAN Higher Education: The Case of ASEAN-Philippines Regional Cooperation 

From Unequalto Equal Partners: Understanding Africa-EU Relations Through a Historical-Strctural Approach to Injustic

Handbook on Regional Cooperation and Integration

Special Issue on Disintegrations

The African Political Integration Process and Its Impact on EU-AU Relations in the Field of Foreign and Security Policy 

Regional Prevention Networks in Europe and Asia 

Globalisation Projects of Regional Organisations 

  • Partner: Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics
    • 2021-2023

A Reassessment of Relations Between the EU and African Regionalisms (ARREAR) 

Regional Governance in Organisations with Limited Capacity: An Analysis of Regional Policymaking and Implementation Across the Global South