Alphabetical index
This page is available in 15 languages
New languages available:  CS - HU - PL - RO

We are migrating the content of this website during the first semester of 2014 into the new EUR-Lex web-portal. We apologise if some content is out of date before the migration. We will publish all updates and corrections in the new version of the portal.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Partnership with the United Nations: development assistance and humanitarian aid

This Communication aims to strengthen the partnership between the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) in the fields of development and humanitarian affairs. The Commission believes that closer coordination is required in this respect, in order to achieve the objectives set at international level, with the first priority being to combat poverty.


Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 20 May 2001 - Building an effective partnership with the United Nations in the fields of development and humanitarian affairs [COM(2001) 231 final - Not published in the Official Journal].


The European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) conduct joint actions at a global level. Their cooperation extends to the majority of the areas covered by the EU’s external policy and to all of the areas provided for by the Charter of the United Nations (peace, security, human rights, economic and social affairs, development, humanitarian aid and trade policy). In addition, the EU is one of the main donors to the UN’s specialised agencies, funds and programmes.

This Communication analyses the means for reinforcing their partnership in the areas of humanitarian aid and development assistance, in particular for implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Improving cooperation: the objectives

The partners can adapt their framework for cooperation through:

  • examining the possibilities for cooperation between the EU and the UN during the drawing up of the per-country multiannual programming instruments of European external policy;
  • recasting the Financial Regulation of the EU for greater flexibility in terms of participating in UN activities;
  • reforming the framework agreement between the EU and the UN concerning the financial management, control and audit of UN programmes and projects.

In addition, the Communication recommends increasing the representation and defence of EU interests within the UN. It is therefore necessary to increase policy dialogue with UN agencies, funds and programmes, and to improve EU participation in the system of multilateral governance.

Operational cooperation: recommendations

The EU, the UN and their partners conduct joint ground operations in the areas of humanitarian aid and development assistance. This cooperation can be improved by respecting two core principles:

  • the division of labour must be made according to the added value or comparative advantage brought by each partner;
  • development assistance activities should focus on combating poverty.

In addition, the coordination of donors must be improved, as well as the internal coordination of the UN, and the strategic planning of operations based on common objectives.

Concerning the UN’s partner organisations, the Commission recommends:

  • supporting those organisations whose mandate corresponds to European policy priorities, and strengthening policy dialogue and exchanges with these organisations;
  • prioritising multi-annual financial programmes and coordinating the funding from different donors, as well as combating financial fraud.
Last updated: 09.09.2011
Legal notice | About this site | Search | Contact | Top