Framework of cooperation

The increased collaboration between UNDP and the EU over the last 15 years should be seen against the backdrop of the EU’s policy towards the United Nations. In 2001, the European Commission issued a Communication entitled "Building an effective partnership with the UN". In 2003, this message was reinforced by a Communication entitled "EU-UN relations: The choice of multilateralism".

Strategic Partnership Agreement

In 2004, UNDP and the European Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding called the Strategic Partnership Agreement, which outlined the two organizations’ "shared goal of establishing the solid foundations for peace and recovery from crisis and of promoting the Millennium Development Goals, particularly, the fight against poverty".

In May 2012, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark met with EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, to review and discuss the future of the UNDP-EU Strategic Partnership. In a joint statement, they reaffirmed their wish to carry forward the UNDP-EU cooperation in areas of common interest, continue working together towards establishing solid foundations for peace, sustainable development and recovery from the economic crisis, and to promote the Millennium Development Goals.


To harmonize and simplify financial and administrative contractual work between the EU and the UN, the Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement (FAFA) was signed in 2003. The FAFA provides an overarching framework governing the contribution-specific agreements signed between the two institutions.

The FAFA facilitates administrative cooperation by standardizing contractual modalities and by its stated commitment to rely on UN standard auditing, control, accounting and procurement procedures. This agreement is applicable to all European Commission Directorates-general and all the UN organizations that are party to it. An addendum to FAFA was signed in February 2014.

At least once every year the FAFA Working Group meets to review the implementation of the FAFA. In addition, a Joint Reference Group (JRG) serves as a platform where issues broadly related to the day-to-day implementation of the FAFA can be referred to.


The ‘Joint Action Plan on Visibility’ between the EU and the UN was signed in 2006, and builds on the FAFA. The action plan emphasizes the shared commitment to communicate the results of the UN-EU partnership to beneficiaries and external stakeholders, both in the interest of transparency in the use of public funds - and as a means to foster global solidarity.

An important communication tool, the ‘Joint Visibility Guidelines for EC-UN actions in the field’ was adopted in April 2008 and provides practical advice to staff from both organizations who work in the field.

Aid Effectiveness

Both UNDP and the EU share a commitment to improving the quality and impact of development assistance. Both organizations are signatories to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005), which defines a series of targets based on the principles of: ownership on the part of partner countries; donor alignment as regards strategies and procedures; donor harmonization; managing for results; and mutual accountability. 

During the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, UNDP and the EU also endorsed the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (to which UNDP, together with OECD, acts as a secretariat). Both UNDP and the EU are represented in the Steering Committee of the Global Partnership.

The Global Partnership builds on international efforts on aid effectiveness, broadening the agenda from one focused on aid to one which aims to get maximum impact from all forms of development co-operation. The EU and UNDP have agreed to make a shared effort to encourage all stakeholders, including emerging economies and private sector actors, to be actively involved in this Global Partnership.

Further, the "New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States", adopted at  the Busan conference in 2011, proposes key peacebuilding and statebuilding goals, focuses on new ways of engaging, and identifies commitments to build mutual trust and achieve better results in fragile states where 1.5 billion people live. 

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