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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Joining forces to achieve development goals: European Commission and UNDP agree on strategic partnership for conflict zones and democratic governance

UNITED NATIONS, 28 June, 2004 – The European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today announced agreement on a unique strategic partnership to strengthen both organizations’ ability to deliver efficient, high quality aid to developing countries, particularly in the areas of governance, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction. The new UNDP partnership is the first of a series of partnerships the Commission plans to establish with UN agencies.

European Union Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Poul Nielson said at the signing ceremony at UNDP headquarters in New York today: “We have had successful collaboration with UNDP in the past. Now we want to build on this experience and expand our collaboration. This is the signal we are sending today. The UNDP has key expertise and is uniquely placed to be an important delivery vehicle for a number of our policy priorities. We have to capitalize on the complementarily of our two organizations. If we succeed in forging closer ties, the quality and the effectiveness of our aid will improve to the benefit of the poor. ”
EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Poul Nielson [left] and UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown [right] sign Agreement on Strategic Partnership for conflict zones and democratic governance. Foto: Shamsuz Zaman, UNDP
UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown said: “We are extremely pleased and gratified to be announcing this new partnership, the first of its kind between the European Commission and a UN agency. This strategic collaboration will greatly strengthen our ability to respond swiftly and thoroughly in conflict and post-conflict crisis situations, where early and vigorous and well-conceived intervention is absolutely essential for long-term impact. As with the Commission’s support for our continuing work on democratic governance, this should also help move the world community a step closer to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. ”

The EC and the UNDP have a long history of close cooperation in the field of development assistance, particularly in areas such as de-mining, conflict prevention, human rights and democratization. EC support to UNDP-led activities totaled € 124 million from 1999-2002. Co-operation has usually been on an ad-hoc basis. The new strategic partnership – the first of its kind – now provides for a more systematic and well-targeted collaboration. This will involve regular policy dialogue at headquarter level to foster common development aid approaches, paving the way for more systematic collaboration in the field.

With a closer collaboration in the field, the EC and UNDP will become better positioned to capitalize on their respective comparative advantages, officials from the two institutions said. The result should be a division of labour that promotes efficiency and avoids duplication. In addition to the efficiency gains, the promotion of common approaches would play well into efforts by recipient country governments to promote donor co-ordination and strengthen ownership of the development process, thereby boosting quality and sustainability of the aid efforts.

The overall objective of the new partnership is to promote the shared goals of establishing solid foundations for peace and recovery from crisis in developing countries and to promote the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the fight against poverty. Initially the partnership will focus on governance, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction. Particular attention will be given to improving the transition from relief to rehabilitation and development in countries that emerge from conflict.


Relations between the EU and the United Nations have developed over time into a diverse network of co-operation and interaction, spanning virtually the entire range of EU external relations. Total EC support to the UN family in 2002 reached €364 million. The UN, with its universal mandate and legitimacy, is uniquely placed to advance global solutions to our common challenges. Strengthening co-operation with the UN and with the specialized agencies is thus an important priority for the EU as a whole, as was underlined by recent Commission Communications on “Building an Effective Partnership with the UN in the field of Development and Humanitarian Affairs” (May 2001), and on “the European Union and the United Nations: The choice of multilateralism” (September 2003), and the European Council Conclusions of December 2003).

Further information

In Brussels for the EU Commission: Jean-Charles Ellermann-Kingombe: 02/2956053
In New York for UNDP: William Orme, E-mail:;
tel. (212) 906-5382

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