The European External Action Service (EEAS) organised on 16 January 2013 a new edition of the course on the EU-UN Partnership for EU staff working in the field of external relations, both at Headquarters and EU Delegations at country level. This training, which belongs to the EEAS catalogue of knowledge-based courses, is jointly organised by the EU and UN on a periodic manner as part of the efforts to promote institutional understanding among them.
The lectures from the EU and various UN Agencies (UNDP, UNRIC, DPA/DPKO and OHCHR) tackled different aspects of the EU-UN partnership. It gave a general introduction to the UN system and explained the EU’s participation in the work of the UN, its structure, and the 3 interlinked pillars of the Organisation – security, development and human rights. The course also focused on the EU-UN cooperation in key policy areas including peace and security, development, human rights and electoral observation.
During the initial session of the course, participants looked into the evolution of the long-standing EU-UN relationship, and how the EU contributes to the work of the UN, both at the General Assembly and elsewhere in the UN system. The training also dealt with the implications for the UN of the adoption of Lisbon Treaty and analysed the broader challenges of working in the multilateral system and achieving joint UN-EU priorities.
A specific session on peace and security explained the EU cooperation with UNDP and the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery. It also looked into the collaboration with the UN Department of Political Affairs on mediation support, and gave an overview on the activities of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and on the contribution by the EU Common Security and Defence Policy to UN peacekeeping.
The participants also had the opportunity to get acquainted with the EU’s development cooperation in the framework of the UN, specifically the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UN General Assembly 2nd Committee both seen from the EU’s and the UN’s perspective. Only in 2011, the EU financial contributions to UN Specialised Agencies, Funds and Programmes were estimated at more than € 1.34 billion. The total EU support to UNDP in 2011 was over € 302 million. Also addressed was the process for the definition of the post-2015 development agenda. The EU is very engaged in many of the on-going thematic consultations and the EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs is a member of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The final session of the course dealt with the EU action in the UN Human Rights intergovernmental Fora, including the Human Rights Council and the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee, as well as the cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN special procedures.