Students gather at a UN school in Nablus, West Bank, to participate in the EU-UN days.Photo: UNRWA, Shareef Sarhan, West Bank, 2012.
Over the years, as the EU-UN partnership has deepened, UN agencies, departments, funds and programmes have been intensifying their presence in Brussels. Today, the UN-family in Brussels is made up of 26 members.
Following this, UN coherence and coordination have become more and more important – not least to optimize time and resources in the relationship between the EU and UN. Another important reason is that by joining resources, the UN more effectively advocates UN standards and conventions in the Brussels setting. It is also better able to raise the UN image and visibility – thereby promoting political and financial support for development and humanitarian work and support for the work of the UN.
The UN-team in Brussels has therefore adopted a "Working as One" approach. Among other things the team does joint advocacy and outreach activities and coordinates internally on operational and policy matters related to the EU-UN partnership.
The Director of the UNDP Office in Brussels is also the UN Secretary-General’s representative to the EU and the Belgian authorities. The UN/UNDP Director supports the UN Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General and UN Secretariat in fostering the UN’s partnership with EU institutions. He also coordinates the 26 Brussels-based UN agencies, funds and programmes.
The UNDP Brussels office, having the dual role of being also the United Nations office in Brussels, supports and coordinates joint activities of the whole UN-family in Brussels. Among other things, it acts as a secretariat for numerous joint policy, advocacy and communication initiatives. Every year, the office also supports over one hundred high-level UN officials when they undertake missions to Brussels.
The mandate of the UN family in Brussels covers the three pillars of the UN: human rights, development and humanitarian work, and peace and security.
The UN-team in Brussels nurtures the partnership with EU institutions. It strives to build mutual understanding, and support for UN-system activities within the EU institutions and amongst a wider public in Europe. At the same time the team works to increase the knowledge and understanding within the UN-system itself of the EU and its policies.
One of the objectives of the UN-team in Brussels is to keep a constant dialogue with the EU on relevant policies, including advocating UN values and norms and promoting a consistency of approaches.