Sub-national coordination occurs when national coordination is decentralized and clusters/sectors are established in zones of special operational importance. Structures may be established at more than one administrative level if required (in both provinces and districts, for example, as in Pakistan), though it remains a firm underlying principle that the number of coordination structures should be minimized. Sub-national coordination is critical when responses take place in remote areas (such as parts of Sudan) or extend over a large territory (as in DRC).
Humanitarian operations that employ national and sub-national clusters have been found to be more effective than ones that coordinate through a single national cluster. Though sub-national coordination structures may vary across regions, they should facilitate decentralized decision-making and shorten response time. They are also in a better position to
- Adapt standards to local circumstances.
- Work closely with local authorities and international, national and local NGOs.
- Implement the strategic plan, and cross-cutting and multidimensional issues.
- Strengthen accountability to affected people.
Assessment and strategic planning start at sub-national level. Different regions may have different needs and therefore different strategic objectives and prioritization.
 Reference Module for Cluster Coordination at Country Level, page 13.