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Improving Lives

Partnership between the United Nations and the European Union in 2010


The UN Director wishes to thank the United Nations team in Brussels and in the field, the European Commission and the European External Action Service for their support in the preparation of this publication. Particular thanks are due to UN colleagues Laurent Standaert for his coordination of the report and Isabel Proaño Gómez for her unstinting support.

Graphic designer: Adelaida Contreras Solis
Developer: Yane Frenski

Cover Photo:
Gaza Strip. A man benefits from a job creation initiative preparing packages of food for Palestine refugees. Each package contains flour, rice, sugar, sunflower oil, milk powder and canned meat covering between 40-70% of caloric needs. © UNRWA, 2010, S. Sharhan

Improving Lives

Partnership between the United Nations and the European Union in 2010

United Nations

The UN Millennium Declaration and Millennium Development Goals agreed in 2000 guide our action:

“...certain fundamental values [are] essential to international relations in the 21st Century: Freedom ... Equality ... Solidarity ... Tolerance ... Respect for nature ... Shared responsibility...”

The UN-EU partnership is founded upon the UN Charter of 1945

“We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war .... To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights .... To establish conditions upon which justice and respect...for international law can be maintained ... To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”

In 2010, the UN and the EU worked together to support governments and societies over 110 countries.

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This report reflects the partnership between the United Nations and the European Union in humanitarian and development cooperation. The results belong to the governments and people of the countries since only their tireless efforts assure development – the EU- UN partnership can but support.

The EU was frequently part of multi- donor arrangements coordinated by the UN in support of country-led efforts. An independent evaluation underlined that by working together, the EU and the UN were able to achieve more than each could working alone.

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BAN Ki-moon


We face enormous challenges in today’s world. Environmental degradation, human rights abuses, poverty and conflict afflict millions of individuals and affect whole societies. These are cross-border problems that demand a global response.

Millennium Development Goal 8, which focuses on the global partnership for development, embodies our collective promise to meet the urgent needs of the world’s most vulnerable people.

This shared commitment is at the heart of the collaboration between the United Nations and the European Union. Our vibrant partnership spans all three pillars of the work of the UN - peace and security, human rights and development. Joining forces in over 100 countries, the UN and the EU have achieved much more than either could have separately.

This report illustrates how our partnership is making an impact where it counts most: in the lives of people. I commend it to all who share our determination to create a better future.

With great appreciation for the immense contribution of the EU, I look forward to strengthening our dynamic partnership in the years to come.

José Manuel Durão Barroso


I welcome this sixth report on the achievements of the partnership with the United Nations which continues to be of primary importance for the European Union.

This report shows how, together, the EU and the UN can improve lives. We help those whose human rights are in danger, ease the burden of people affected by hunger and contribute to sustainable improvements in the livelihoods of individuals and the creation of progressive societies that demand accountability of their governments.

Working with the UN and multilateral institutions, the EU’s recent initiatives, such as the Food Facility, Vulnerability FLEX and MDG Initiative, all target the poorest and most vulnerable countries. It is imperative that we, the international community and partner countries, do our utmost to achieve the MDGs and urgently tackle those areas where we still lag behind.

The EU accounts for more than half of global development aid. We are committed to ensuring that the effectiveness of this aid is maximised and that other potential sources of funds, including private sector investment, also foster sustainable growth. European taxpayers increasingly demand accountability and need to see that the funds spent on their behalf result in aid that is high in quality, impact and value for money.

This report demonstrates this very tangibly, highlighting the way in which the natural partnership between the European Union and the United Nations is a force for promoting peace, development and human rights, as well as for tackling new global challenges.

Catherine Ashton


The European Union is fully committed to a strong partnership with the United Nations. We strongly believe that today’s pressing complex global problems require effective multilateral solutions.

This year’s UN-EU Partnership report highlights the full spectrum of issues on which we cooperate, helping to make the world a more just, stable and secure place. Together we tackled the humanitarian crisis in Haiti following its devastating earthquake and the massive displacement and suffering caused by flooding in Pakistan, amongst others. At the same time, as this report highlights, we cooperated in many countries and regions of the world to ensure sustainable development.

The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2010 and the setting up of the European External Action Service strengthens the Union’s international role and strategic impact. The EU is becoming a more unified and effective partner for the United Nations, with a reinforced toolbox at our disposal. We are looking to further build our strategic partnership in all three pillars of the United Nations – security, development and human rights.

In challenging and uncertain times such as these, strong global partnerships are particularly important. The EU-UN partnership has repeatedly proven its worth. There is a lot we have achieved together in 2010 – but even more to be done.

Antonio Vigilante


The UN team in Brussels this year has chosen to illustrate the impact of the cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations with a more graphic representation of the variety and depth of activities on the ground. The programmes implemented have led to millions of lives being directly improved through emergency assistance, job opportunities, access to health and education, improvement of infrastructure, improved food security and agricultural productivity, safer living conditions and a protected environment. The capacity of national institutions and civil society organizations has also been strengthened.

The global challenges that humanity faces, and local development needs remain huge however. This is why joint work is a principal avenue to optimize development cooperation. The collaboration between the European Union and the United Nations will therefore be equally vital in the future, particularly in devising the appropriate policies, agreements and interventions that give concrete meaning to the goal of sustainable human development – including the enjoyment of human rights, peace and security – thus supporting developing countries’ own initiatives and priorities.

We are grateful to the European Union for all the support received in all continents in our work and we remain committed to make the UN-EU partnership continue to thrive.

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Universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. All rights are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent, whether civil and political rights – including to life, equality before the law and freedom of expression; economic, social and cultural rights – such as to work, social security and education; or collective rights – including to development and self-determination.

The EU supported the UN in the core of its work to strengthen international human rights law and its application by governments and other duty bearers. Together we supported governments to meet their obligations, and helped people know and claim their rights.

Mali. In Bamako, an eco-friendly dyeing factory constructed along the Niger river provided employment to 100 women and improved productivity. © UNESCO, 2010, Lâm Duc Hiên
Bangladesh. In the country, women face many obstacles due to discriminatory customs. The partnership promoted gender equality through sport, supporting communities to create Kishori Clubs, organizations formed by about 30 adolescent girls. They meet twice a week and discuss issues such as the benefit of outdoor sports, the right to education, or how to prevent early marriage or HIV/AIDS.
© UNICEF, 2010, N. Siddique

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EU funding helped reinforce UN international human rights mechanisms and bodies, and enabled the United Nations to strengthen accountability and the rule of law, advance the protection of human rights in situations of conflict and insecurity, and combat inequalities and poverty in pursuit of economic, social and cultural rights.

We helped counteract discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexual orientation. In 2010, with UN-EU support, Benin, Bolivia, Costa Rica and Uruguay developed national action plans against racial discrimination; Albania adopted an anti- discrimination law; while the Democratic Republic of Congo adopted Africa’s first law for the protection of indigenous peoples.

The UN Security Council recognizes sexual violence against women in armed conflict as a crime against humanity and affirms the vital role of women in peace negotiations and peace building. In 2010, we supported women’s engagement in national and regional dialogues on peace and security, including in the Southern Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan), South Asia (Pakistan and Afghanistan) and the Fergana valley of Central Asia.

There is clear evidence that reducing gender and other inequalities leads to faster poverty reduction.

Women’s empowerment and gender equality are key to progress across the MDGs.

A year ago, Babalu’s parents arranged for her to be married to a 45-year-old man who was unemployed and illiterate. Babalu had watched her elder sister’s health deteriorate from multiple pregnancies after being married aged 13, and wanted to avoid a similar fate. Villagers encouraged the discussion of issues such as domestic violence and girls’ education to find ways they could all agree upon to end harmful social practices. Through discussions, communities came to the view that everyone benefits when girls stay in school and delay marriage. Babalu’s parents agreed to cancel the wedding, and Babalu now attends school.

Discrimination against women and girls can be often rooted in social norms that perpetuate harmful practices and traditions. In 2010, the UN and the EU supported communities in Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Senegal, Sudan and India in their efforts to promote positive, respectful social change and to abandon harmful practices against children, especially practices of female genital mutilation/cutting and child marriage which affect the lives of millions of girls.

India. Babalu Garg, 15, outside her home in Dehra Village, Jodhpur District, Rajasthan State. © UNICEF, 2009, A. Khemka

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The Right to Food is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It protects the right of all human beings to live in dignity, free from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

There are over 925 million hungry people in the world. Most deaths from hunger occur outside of emergency contexts. In particular, recent hikes in food prices have exacerbated the problem for many millions of people.

The UN welcomes the EU’s efforts to accelerate progress in tackling hunger and its commitment to scaling up efforts to address chronic and acute malnutrition worldwide. In 2010, together we supported people in over 40 countries to stave off hunger and malnutrition, get the right nutrients for a healthy childhood, boost food production and improve food security. We responded to immediate needs while addressing structural problems that have hampered production of the appropriate foods, accessible to all.

Bolivia. In the poorest and most isolated areas of the country, 80,000 children aged between 6 and 14 attended school and received locally produced school meals as part of a national programme to alleviate hunger. Adding micronutrients to the school meals helps improve the nutritional status of children and their ability to concentrate and assimilate information. © WFP, 2010, B. Heger

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Millions of people in over 30 countries received humanitarian food assistance, providing them breathing space to withstand the consequences of drought, other natural disasters and displacement as a result of conflict.

Pakistan. Heavy rains across the country led to flash and river flooding, causing loss of life, destruction of homes and livelihoods, and significant displacement of people. Internally Displaced People received wheat flour, oil and high energy biscuits. © WFP, 2010, R. Skullerud

Pakistan. Thousands of children affected by floods received rations of a nutritious chickpea paste called “Wawa Mum”, a play on the expression in Pashto meaning “yum!” The paste contains all the vitamins and nutrients that young children need to grow and be healthy. During 2010, local factories produced 10.5 million Wawa Mum sachets per month. Production is on the increase, creating more jobs.
© WFP, 2010, A. Jamal

In the Sahel region, the UN and the EU helped address malnutrition before it became life- threatening in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia and Uganda.

In 2010 in Niger, more than 318,000 children under the age of five were treated for severe acute malnutrition in one of 822 therapeutic feeding centres in the country. In addition to assistance and specific nutrition advice, the centres taught families how to recognize the warning signs of malnutrition and when to seek treatment.

Niger. Mothers brought their children for malnutrition screening in a public health centre, Maradi region. © UNICEF, 2010, G. Pirozzi

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In efforts to transition from food aid (the distribution of food per se) to food assistance, we used a variety of different tools to ensure availability and access to nutritious food for the most vulnerable people affected by crises. Food assistance increasingly came in the form of conditional cash transfers that enabled families to purchase food in the market place, thereby boosting local production.

Beyond food access, the UN-EU partnership focused on nutrition security. Globally, 26% of children under the age of 5 are underweight and a third of all child deaths are a result of under-nutrition. The nutrients a baby receives in the first 2 years of life are vital to her ability to develop her full potential. We supported over 5 million pregnant and breast-feeding women and nearly 30 million children under the age of 5 to get essential nutrients.

Lesotho. A woman walks through a cornfield with her grandson in Botha Bothe. The partnership helped over 36.000 farmers over the country to get seed, fertilizer and tools after the global food price hikes. In Lesotho, most of the population relies on agriculture. © FAO, 2010, G. Guercia


Set up in 2008, the EU Food Facility responded to soaring food prices. In 2010, it allowed the UN to support 35 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, bridging immediate, medium and long term actions. Transitional safety nets protected vulnerable groups, addressing basic food and nutrition needs. Through support from the Facility, vulnerable people in Myanmar and refugees in Chad were able to deal with food price hikes. Support to agricultural production was scaled up, linking farmers to markets, and addressing food safety and quality controls. Over 9 million people received agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, seeds and microcredit. In Lesotho, we supported more than 36,000 farmers in all districts with agricultural inputs. Many benefited from improved rural infrastructure, vocational training and support to farmer organizations, as in Nicaragua where more than 4,000 farmers were provided with support in agricultural and marketing techniques.

Bolivia. Workers at the local Amuasa association package breakfast cereals to be distributed to 111 schools in the municipality of San Lucas, benefiting some 9,600 school children in the region. This is part of the government strategy to prevent poor and vulnerable children from going hungry, and generate jobs.
© WFP, 2010, B. Heger

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Awareness was raised amongst policy makers and the public on the links between demographic growth and food insecurity, contributing to behavioural change.

The EU Food Facility enabled the testing of new techniques. Purchasing food directly from farmer associations, under contracts that guaranteed the price in advance, reduced uncertainty for farmers and was a clear incentive to boost their food production. The Facility also enabled the targeting of other structural causes of food insecurity such as population dynamics and reproductive health in Niger.

Niger. A woman draws water from a well to water her crops in Keita. In the Tahoua region, where water scarcity and malnutrition are chronic, over 32,000 families have benefited from small parcels of irrigated land, where they can grow off- season crops.
© FAO, 2010, G. Napolitano

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The UN and the EU jointly developed needs assessment and early-warning tools for crop and food security assessments, carried out vulnerability analyses, and supported national early-warning systems and capacity building. In this way, national and international actors were better informed, prepared and able to target interventions based on accurate assessments of needs.

Guatemala. Land is the main source of food and life for indigenous families engaged in agriculture, like Juan Us and María Tum. Following the destruction of their crops by adverse climatic conditions in recent years, they moved from planting only corn and beans to diversifying their crop base and adopting sustainable agricultural practices and soil conservation. When asked about their new lifestyle, Juan answers:
“Utz az”, which means “very good” in the Quiché language.
© WFP, 2010, P. Fión

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The Millenium Development Goals are interrelated and progress on one Goal can have positive effects across all MDGs. One additional year of school for a girl improves her life chances and those of her children, who are more likely to be well-fed, healthy, educated and have a decent job. Tackling the MDGs in an integrated and equitable way lies at the heart of sustainable poverty reduction, and development.

In 2010, the UN-EU partnership on health ranged from the global to the local. We supported implementation of the International Health Regulations to secure national, regional and global health security. We invested in strengthening health policies and systems to provide universal health coverage, and helped countries in sector reforms, immunization, malaria prevention, and health and family planning.

West Bank. Boys in a class in the elementary school at the Al Am’ari Camp. With EU support, the UN operates one of the largest school systems in the Middle East which in 2010 guaranteed education for 500,000 Palestine refugee children. © UNRWA, 2010, A. Ghosheh

Ukraine. Olena Shukhlin, a medical assistant, works in the rehabilitated clinic of Vysoke village, in the Zhytomyr region, that provides medical services to 3200 inhabitants of five surrounding villages. Enabling communities to self-organize and empowering them to deliver their own solutions has improved cooperation with local authorities.
© EU, 2009

Niger. Fatima Adamou receives a prenatal consultation for her 6th month of her pregnancy. In the country, access to family planning allows the most vulnerable families to dedicate more resources to the nutrition, health and education of a smaller number of children.
© UNFPA, 2011, T. Djibo

Occupied Palestinian Territory. “The restrictions on movement, rendering Gazans unable to travel to Israel, Egypt or elsewhere for medical treatment, has led to severe health complications and in some cases death”, says Dr. Ghada Al-Jadba. The EU supported the UN facilities across Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria that enabled 4.8 million registered Palestine refugees to have access to primary health care.
© UNRWA, 2010
R. Halawani

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Conflict and natural disasters have major health consequences, since interruptions in health services can lead to increases in communicable diseases, malnutrition and other health and social problems. EU support enabled the UN to assist post-crisis countries to move as swiftly as possible from emergency interventions to a re-establishment of routine primary health care services.

The critical issue of shortages in healthcare workers was addressed by providing evidence to inform governments’ policy choices and by strengthening in-service training. Policy makers in over 50 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific deepened their knowledge on medicines and advanced regional harmonization and integration of pharmaceutical and regulatory policies. Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia were supported in the development of their national health policies. More than one million pregnant women and children were protected from malaria using insecticide-treated bed nets. Rwanda adopted an accelerated plan to support women and girls in dealing with HIV issues. In Uzbekistan, rehabilitation of infrastructure and the strengthening of mother and child health care systems enabled 14.5 million people to access health care.

In Angola, Benin, Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Guinea Conakry, Fiji, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, and Zimbabwe the UN and the EU supported local governments and community-based organizations to improve access to water and sanitation, while improving sanitation practices.

In Burkina Faso, where poor sanitation was resulting in child disease, 75,000 people benefited from improved water access and better hygiene. Drinking water was brought to 80 primary schools. 22 clinics and 8,000 latrines were built.

Burkina Faso. A woman and children at a community water point in Zorgho Village, Province of Ganzourgou.
© UNICEF, 2010, L. Marinovitch

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Immunization is a powerful and highly cost-effective way of preventing debilitating illness and saving lives. Pre-positioning of vaccine stocks, transportation and cold-storage, and training health workers and volunteers allowed millions of children to be immunized against contagious diseases. Bangladesh has remained polio- free since 2006: in 2010, a network of surveillance medical officers delivered polio vaccines to 22 million children under five. 20 million children were vaccinated against measles, while 15 million people were immunized against swine flu. The network’s success has led to increased demand on its capacities to respond on other issues.

Our partnership in education tackled both policy and its practical implementation, supporting sector reforms whilst at the same time delivering critical services. We contributed to increased girls’ enrolment and retention in schools and provided school feeding. In a number of countries, education systems were under pressure due to spending cuts in education. Innovative education assessment tools helped educators to better understand the needs of parents, pupils and teachers, enabling them to adapt and target their efforts to achieve the best results.

Republic of the Congo. Urgent mass immunization stopped the polio outbreak in early 2010. © WHO / UNICEF, 2010, O. Asselin

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As the world’s largest humanitarian donor, the EU is a vital partner to the UN in its mandate to coordinate humanitarian assistance and help countries recover from crises. With the staggering number of natural disasters in 2010, investments to prevent crises and reduce risks became ever more pressing.

Western Sahara. 90,000 Saharawi refugees received water and food. By 2010, they were still in camps in the south of Algeria in what has become one of the longest-standing refugee situations in the world, lasting over 35 years. The EU has been a major partner for the UN’s sustained support to “forgotten crises” – often chronic humanitarian issues that persist long after public attention has been lost. © UN Photo, 2010, M. Perret

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The European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid adopted in 2007 outlines the principles, objectives, values and guidelines for EU humanitarian action. It reiterates the EU’s strong commitment to the principles of neutrality, impartiality, humanity and independence of humanitarian action, enshrined in international humanitarian law. The Consensus strongly supports the central overall coordinating role of the UN in promoting a coherent international response to humanitarian crises. The EU remains strongly committed to the Consensus principles, and throughout 2010 made an increasing number of references to the Consensus in its public statements and policy documents.

Throughout 2010, the UN and the EU worked closely to ensure military assets were used appropriately in crisis situations to safeguard the independence, neutrality and impartiality of humanitarian aid in full respect of the 1994 Oslo guidelines on the use of Military and Civil Defence Assets in disaster relief.

Kenya. Somali refugees, Dadaab camp.
© UNHCR, 2009, E. Hockstein

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Responding to emergencies

In 2010, there were 44 million displaced people worldwide, including over 15 million refugees and 27.5 million people displaced within their own country as a result of conflict and persecution. The year saw 385 disasters triggered by droughts, floods, storms, earthquakes and tsunamis, causing suffering to 217 million people and some 85 billion euros in economic damages.

In 2010, in partnership with Non-Governmental Organizations, we secured food, clean water, shelter, and emergency health services in locations such as Afghanistan, Chad, the Gaza Strip, Haiti, Lebanon, the West Bank and Zimbabwe. With EU-UN support, in the aftermath of destructive typhoons in the Philippines, mobile phones provided a fast, secure and low cost way to transfer cash to 2,000 poor households in communities that were hard to reach in more conventional ways. This innovation now serves as a basis for the government’s social safety nets that give cash assistance to marginalized communities. After the floods in the Philippines, a million people received relief and 35,000 households participated in cash for work schemes.

Haiti. In the district of Moussambe, Haitians receiving humanitarian aid after the 2010 earthquake. Over 4 million people affected by the disaster received food. Nutritional supplements were distributed in earthquake affected areas to children between 6 months and 5 years and to pregnant and nursing mothers. © WFP, 2010, J. Farrell

Instrument for Stability supports the three pillars of the United Nations

The EU Instrument for Stability provides swift assistance when the need arises and when opportunities to act open up in pre- and post-crisis settings. Its flexibility to straddle the three pillars of the UN’s work - peace & security, human rights and development - enabled the partnership to tackle a range of issues including contested elections, helping returnees re-build their homes, counterterrorism, treatment of piracy suspects in the Indian ocean, and constitution-making processes.

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Recovering from conflicts and disasters

In 2010, the EU, UN and World Bank strengthened the instruments used by national and international actors to jointly assess, plan and mobilise recovery support for countries and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters. In this way, we provided a common platform for national actors and the international community to identify priorities and target support accordingly.

During and after crises, we strove to tackle a critical gap that all too frequently exists between initial life-sustaining humanitarian aid, and long term support for communities to get back on their feet – a gap which can have dramatic human consequences. Our support in Kyrgyzstan and Georgia in 2010 adopted this approach. We sought out opportunities to “build back better”, addressing underlying vulnerabilities and intensifying efforts in prevention and risk reduction.

Kyrgyzstan. Mansura sits in the remains of her family compound which was destroyed during the inter-ethnic conflict in the south of the country.
© UNHCR, 2010, S. Schulman

On the eve of 10 June 2010, inter-ethnic violence erupted in Kyrgyzstan forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. The conflict led to thousands of refugees in Uzbekistan, often living in dire conditions in factories or schools. Most were women and children. A rapid and large-scale humanitarian response delivered tents, blankets, kitchen sets and other basic relief items to 46,750 refugees in Uzbekistan and displaced people in Kyrgyzstan.

Once able to return home and before winter set in, the affected communities constructed shelters for 1,700 people whose houses had been destroyed. Strong participation ensured construction was finished in a record time of 3 months. Such support was accompanied by legal assistance. Strengthening housing and property rights will be crucial to remove a potential source of renewed tension.

Kyrgyzstan. Refugees leaving Uzbekistan on their way back to their villages in Kyrgyzstan. © UNHCR, 2010, S. Schulman

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Protecting refugees and internally displaced people

The EU is a long-standing sponsor of the UN’s mandated role to support people forced to flee their homes. In 2010, with EU support the UN helped 15 millions of refugees worldwide as well as many more internally displaced people. Protection of their rights was a major goal. Refugees and displaced people also received assistance including shelter, food, water, education and health services, with priority given to the most vulnerable such as unaccompanied children. The partnership strove for permanent solutions, helping refugees regain independence from aid, and assisting people to return home where possible, integrate in host communities or resettle in third countries.

Tanzania. The “1972 Burundian” refugees are one of the longest displaced populations in the world. But thanks to the Tanzanian government, Burundians can finally see light at the end of the tunnel with the opportunity for naturalization and local integration. After nearly four decades of refugee status, a Burundian woman has her fingerprint taken as a part of her application to become a Tanzanian citizen.
© UNHCR, 2008, B. Bannon
After conflict communities face many challenges, not least in restoring physical security through the removal of unexploded landmines and controlling the circulation of small arms and light weapons. In 2010, a sustained regional effort in the Western Balkans resulted in a 74% increase in the number of automatic weapons collected compared with the previous year.

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Strengthening resilience

There can be no question that reducing vulnerability to risks is infinitely preferable to fighting the human suffering and economic consequences of crises. In 2010, crisis prevention and disaster risk reduction was increasingly central to the partnership. We engaged local and national actors in capacity building to avoid or reduce the consequences of crises. We supported this with early warning systems, preparedness and response mechanisms, thereby providing decision makers with information to make informed choices to act.

Working across the coastal zones of Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Chile, students, teachers and community leaders were trained on contingency plans supported by tsunami warning systems. In Bangladesh, a disaster management act was drafted and the development of community risk assessments and risk reduction action plans benefited 600,000 people. 27,000 government officials were trained in planning and implementing risk reduction programmes, enabling this highly vulnerable country to become a policy frontrunner in disaster management. Campaigning globally on the platform “Making Cities Resilient: My city is getting ready,” the partnership engaged mayors in this critical fight.

Peru. Group of firemen executing search and rescue exercises as part of a three-day drill and simulation of an earthquake in Lima and Callao, seen here at the Leoncio Prado school in Callao. The central region of the Peruvian coast has suffered devastating earthquakes for the last 500 years, leaving 6 million inhabitants in the interconnected cities of Lima and Callao at high risk. Today emergency operations plans and centres are in place. Regular simulation drills ensure the population is better informed about how to react when an earthquake happens. © UNDP, 2010

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Decent work is central to people’s well-being. In addition to providing an income, work enables the social and economic advancement of individuals, families and communities.

The number of unemployed people in the world rose to 205 million in 2010 in part due to the continued effects of the global economic crisis. Women and young people were particularly hard hit. The UN and the EU work united in the international call to boost job creation while preparing for a greener, more balanced, fairer and sustainable global economy - goals encapsulated in the UN Global Jobs Pact.

Cooperation between the UN and the EU in 2010 spanned intergovernmental negotiations, advocacy and protection of labour rights, and concrete interventions to generate employment.

Haiti. A woman working on transitional shelter after the 2010 earthquake.
© UNOPS, 2010, C-A. Nadon

Sudan. Since the 1970s, civil war, desertification and drought have led to the rapid urbanisation of the Khartoum State due to a massive rural- to-urban migration of the country’s young population. In 2010, four new vocational training centres became operational and provided training to the urban poor, especially amongst the young population. Every 15 months 3,000 fully qualified technicians will graduate. © UNIDO, 2010, S. Sauerschnig

In 2010, vocational training was also offered to populations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in Georgia and in Bangladesh.

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Striving for fairer globalisation, we supported countries to negotiate their interests in global and regional trade talks. National trade capacity building was provided in Ethiopia as it prepared for accession to the World Trade Organization and identified its interests in negotiations on regional free trade areas. We helped countries get ready for global markets by investing in international standards and controls. In Bangladesh, we supported the establishment of an international accreditation board to ensure textiles and fisheries in particular would meet international quality standards required for export. We supported Brazil, China, India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mexico and South Africa in developing and meeting eco-labelling standards.

We promoted labour rights. An estimated 153 million children aged 5 to 14 work, which deprives them of a childhood. As part of the UN global campaign to eliminate the worst forms of child labour, the partnership supported the Federation of Employers in Kenya in its vigorous campaign to ban child labour among its members and to encourage companies to “Adopt a school” to keep children from poor families in the classroom. We strove to enhance national capacities to respect gender equality and protect migrant workers’ rights. For example, in Russia, trade union partners formed an integral part of the policy dialogue. Their campaigns informed migrants of admission rules and procedures, enabling more people to know their rights and access unions.

Boosting crop production and incomes in Sudan’s rural east

In Arabaat, a rural community 30 kilometres west of Port Sudan, farmers used to rely solely on rainfall for their subsistence crops. In 2010, thanks to generators and pumps that tap into rich groundwater resources, more than a thousand farmers cultivated vegetables and other crops all year round. “In the past some people used wells run by merchants who took 50% in profits and farmers earned little. Now each farm has a well”, recounted Hussein Musa, in charge of getting farmers’ produce to market. “Previously women were not represented in leadership but now they are part of the way we do business”, added Aisha Sharief, a member of the Arabaat Development Association.

Sudan. Irrigation support nurtures cultivation in Arabaat, Red Sea State.
© UNDP, 2010
K. Ringuette

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The UN-EU partnership helped to reinforce networks of migrants’ associations, diaspora, local governments and private sector actors looking to make migration work for development. Over 2,000 practitioners formed part of a migration and development knowledge network able to share good practices with one another and policy makers, ensuring future policy is informed by concrete evidence. In Sri Lanka, reintegration of migrants from Europe and the Middle East was a challenge for the individuals and the communities to which they returned. 300 returning migrants were helped to develop micro-enterprises and build a new life back home. The Tunisian union for agriculture and fishery encouraged migrants residing in Italy and working there in agriculture and fisheries to invest in these sectors back home by providing timely and accurate information on investment opportunities. In this way, migrants not only fulfilled their personal goals, but also brought their skills and resources to bear on the social and economic growth of their communities of origin.

Sudan. Livelihood support to fishermen benefited more than 100 families in Arabaat, Red Sea State. © UNDP, 2009, O. Abdelrahem

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The United Nations’ 10th anniversary summit on the Millennium Development Goals in 2010 highlighted the importance of biodiversity and healthy ecosystems for the achievement of the MDGs.

Making development environmentally, socially and economically sustainable is a core challenge. In developing countries, more people rely on the environment and its deterioration threatens livelihoods, food security and health. Most environmental problems transcend boundaries and are often global in scope. As such, they can only be effectively addressed through international co-operation.

The EU is a major proponent of UN-led frameworks to deal with worldwide environmental problems and challenges such as desertification, management of chemicals and waste, climate change, biodiversity, and the integration of environmental sustainability into development actions.

Nepal. In Basudevi village in Doti district, in the far-west of the country, local women farmers plant crops using the 7.3 kilometres of new irrigation facilities which have benefited 575 households in 2010.
© WFP, 2010, D. Shrestha
Mauritania. Technicians collect soil samples in Letfetar to assess the level and distribution of pesticide contamination as part of the country’s compliance with the 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
© FAO, 2010, M. Ammati
Bolivia. Locally trained technicians repackage hazardous obsolete pesticides for safe destruction.
© FAO, 2009, M. Davis

UN-EU support to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries enabled 24 states to create comprehensive national inventories of obsolete pesticides. Safeguarding operations of obsolete stocks were completed in Malawi and Kenya while contaminated sites were identified and assessed in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Technical staff from 10 countries received specific training courses in pesticide management.

2010 saw a major step forward in intergovernmental agreements. The Nagoya Protocol promised rules on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources. The EU also advocated for the new intergovernmental platform to provide a global response to the loss of biodiversity and the world’s environmentally but also economically-important forests, coral reefs and other ecosystems.

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As a party to many multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), the EU is responsible for their implementation within the Union. Working with the UN, the EU also helped other regions comply with and enforce MEAs. The African Union Commission and East African Community agreed to work together to support the East African Legislative Assembly update a trans-boundary ecosystem bill, sensitizing member states before the bill’s enactment.

Helping countries to address the impact of climate change on development in an integrated manner, we promoted countries’ capacities to move towards low carbon emission and climate resilient development strategies, initiating pilot efforts in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Morocco, Philippines, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Uganda.

In China, where vulnerability to climate change is high, we supported the national development and reform commission to translate its national climate change programme at the provincial level. On mitigation, schemes for energy efficiency, clean coal and renewable energy were piloted alongside efforts to improve land management and slow the rate of deforestation. Adaptation methodologies were applied to identify unavoidable impacts of climate change that needed to be addressed.

Egypt. The Zafarana Wind Power Plant Project is part of an approach to support national initiatives in promoting a greener economy and the use of renewable energy.
© UNFCCC, 2010, C. Anagnostopoulos

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The Millennium Declaration underlines the importance of good governance, institutions and participation to poverty reduction. The 2005 European Consensus on Development echoes this, emphasising that sustainable development includes good governance and human rights.

Institutions matter. A core thread of the UN-EU partnership in 2010 lay in strengthening national and local capacities to respond to the needs of all people in societies. Together, we addressed many sensitive issues of development that benefited from the impartiality of the United Nations.

Burundi. A woman casts her ballot during the 2010 legislative elections in Cibitoke. In total, 3.5 million voters were registered.
© UN Photo, 2010, M. Perret

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Around the world, we supported countries’ efforts to build o democratic and equal societies. We supported elections, strengthened legislative systems, improved access to justice and reinforced public administration including local governments’ capacity for planning, management, and inclusive consultation with communities.

Effective electoral assistance means focusing beyond Election Day and integrating support as part of the wider democratic development of the country. In 2010, we supported 25 countries in strengthening their electoral processes. This involved the strengthening of national electoral bodies, reviewing electoral laws, supporting political parties and women’s political participation, voter registration, and engagement of civil society in civic education, election observation and media monitoring. It also involved direct support to the conduct of elections in 11 countries: Burundi, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Niger, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Conakry, Moldova, Tanzania, Togo and Solomon Islands.

Tanzania. Polling staff enter the results from their station during the July 2010 Referendum on the Government of National Unity in Zanzibar.
In 2010, the EC-UNDP Joint Task Force on electoral assistance trained over 100 practitioners on effective electoral service and facilitated in-depth reflections of the international community on key electoral issues including electoral-related violence and conflict prevention. © UNDP

In 2010, the UN-EU partnership supported the Electoral Commission of Niger in holding sub-national elections, paving the way for legislative and presidential elections in early 2011, bringing to an end the transition after the coup d’état. Highlighting the role of women both as candidates and voters lay at the heart of a massive media and door-to-door campaign of sensitization and civic and voter education. Women’s engagement in the elections sent a strong and positive signal to society at large, helping to create a virtuous cycle between the credibility and legitimacy of the elections and trust in the country’s institutions.

Niger. A woman casts her vote during the 2010 Constitutional Referendum. © UNDP
Bangladesh. In rural areas, local institutions are faced with limited financial and human resources and capacities that hamper the delivery of local services. Responding to this challenge, the UN and the EU support the government in building basic service delivery capacities of local governments, the Union Parishads, increasing their financial capacity and accountability, ensuring a transparent expenditure system and introducing participatory planning techniques. By 2010, some 5 million people have benefited from 3,000 local development schemes, with 85,000 people directly involved in their implementation. © UNDP, 2008

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Beyond elections, we supported countries to modernize their constitutions through inclusive dialogue. In Somalia, we supported the federal-level constitution-making process in line with the Transitional Federal Charter. In Ghana, the constitutional review commission synthesised 80,000 submissions from citizens. In Kenya, the parliamentary committee redrafting the constitution was supported and institutional capacities were built to conduct the constitutional referendum, monitor and tally its results. In Zimbabwe, community consultations gave people the chance to express what they wanted from their new constitution.

The threats from transnational crime, including trafficking of people as well as illegal substances and arms, put increased pressure on law enforcement capacities. In Jakarta, “training of trainers” from the police, the corruption eradication commission and the attorney general’s office enhanced Indonesia’s capacities to gather counterterrorism intelligence, investigate crimes and make informed decisions. Taking a regional approach in Central Asia, the partnership strengthened integrated border management to combat illicit trafficking and strengthen regional security.

In Afghanistan, the police force grew from 50,000 to over 120,000 members from 2002 to 2010, yet administrative systems for police and prison officers were woefully inadequate. In 2010, the ministry of the interior established a personnel inventory system that computerized the payroll, allowing 80% of the police and 50% of prison staff to be paid electronically, improving timeliness and transparency of payments.

Under tremendous pressure and with limited capacities, the justice system in Bangladesh faces difficulties to cover the needs of the rural population, who often lack the knowledge and the means to access the formal justice system. Responding to this challenge, the UN and the EU supported the government through the activation of village courts and through strengthening capacities of local government officials, police and judges. In 2010, some 236 village courts were fully functional and the backlog of cases has been significantly reduced.

Bangladesh. Village court in Bahadurpur union, Sadar Upazila, Madaripur district, Dhaka Division. © UNDP, 2010, A. Rahman

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The contribution of culture to the MDGs

The UN Resolution on Culture and Development adopted in 2010 emphasizes the important contribution of culture for sustainable development and for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The EU has been a major proponent of this approach to integrate culture in development processes.

In Mali, the partnership put heritage to work for development. At the World Heritage site of Djenné, traditional waste collection was upgraded to improve conditions in the historical centre. In Mopti, the river harbour was rehabilitated and the urban master plan updated with a view to preserving the city’s cultural assets. Elected officials and local government staff were trained to identify the cultural specificities of their surroundings and develop cultural projects. These new culture-based development schemes provided local communities with a better insight into and awareness of their historical and cultural assets and allowed them to contribute to local solutions for development.

Mali. In order for culture to be part of local development, the first step to be taken is to improve knowledge of cultural heritage and disseminate it to local populations. In this regard, a heritage survey was carried out and implemented through national and local authorities in 40 villages along the Niger river in Mali, including the village of Sekoro, in the Ségou region. © UNESCO, 2010, Lâm Duc Hiên

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The partnership between the United Nations and the European Union goes far beyond the focus of this report. The collaboration captured here can be seen within the framework of Europe’s policy towards the United Nations expressed in the Commission Communication 2003/506: “The European Union and the United Nations: The choice for multilateralism.” This Communication identified multilateralism with a strong UN at its core as a basic principle of the EU’s foreign policy and called for a comprehensive strengthening and mainstreaming of EU-UN relations.

Haiti. A UN peacekeeper holds a child as her mother is helped down from a relocation truck in Port-au-Prince. The UN mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) moved the residents, displaced since the earthquake, from a tented camp to a more secure site. © UN Photo, 2010, L. Abassi

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The EU is the single largest financial contributor to the UN system. Together, the 27 EU member states fund 38% of the UN’s regular budget and about one half of all UN member state contributions to UN funds and programmes. The European institutions are a major contributor to UN external assistance programmes and projects. Since 2011, the European Union has had observer status in the UN General Assembly including the right to speak, make proposals and submit amendments, raise points of order, and circulate documents.
The UN and the EU are partners for peace. In 2010, the EU provided more than two fifths of the overall funding for UN peacekeeping operations and worked together with the UN in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo and Georgia. The EU also supported the African Union Mission to Somalia and provided training for the security sector of the Transitional Federal Government. High level strategic discussions on the above and other countries where the EU and the UN are operating, such as Guinea-Bissau and Haiti, took place at the 2010 Steering Committee meeting on crisis management.
We also worked together to help prevent conflict, strengthening each other’s mediation capacities and engaging in inter- institutional dialogue. In 2010, the EU supported the UN standby team of mediation experts who brought pecialized knowledge on natural resources, power-sharing, mediation process design, gender and constitutions to sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and other regions. In turn, the UN shared its mediation expertise and lessons learned with EU staff. The annual EU-UN desk-to-desk meeting on conflict prevention allowed for coordinated actions in countries like Madagascar, Myanmar, Nepal, and Niger.

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The European Parliament actively shares and promotes UN objectives. In 2010, its Members participated in UN conferences including those on climate change, the MDGs and biodiversity. An EU-UN Working Group visits the UN General Assembly annually and promotes the UN in all its three pillars - peace and security, human rights, and development and humanitarian affairs. The UN supports the work of the European Parliament through advice on key international challenges.
A financial and administrative framework agreement (FAFA) between the UN and the EU provides a single shared legal, financial and administrative framework for all programmatic cooperation between the two bodies. The FAFA facilitates cooperation and improves the efficiency of the aid delivered.
The EU and the UN share many institutional characteristics. Each has a multi-faceted agenda with Member States and an international, multicultural and multilingual staff in many locations. Such similarities motivate exchange of best practices which in 2010 included modernizing personnel selection and recruitment using social media; joint training of EU Ambassadors and UN Resident Coordinators on climate change and development; and the first tripartite exchange between the UN, EU and the African Union, on accountability in public administration..

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  • Impartiality and legitimacy as a platform to tackle sensitive issues;
  • Unique global mandates to tackle global problems;
  • Expertise for the core UN capacity building function;
  • Worldwide operating capacity including presence before, during and after a crisis;
  • Privileged policy dialogue with governments.


  • Supporting UN global coordination, including in humanitarian crises;
  • Using UN coordination mechanisms that reduce the burden on governments;
  • Maintaining the commitment to “forgotten crises”;
  • Leveraging European expertise;
  • Developing innovative financial instruments that allow fast and flexible responses.

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Headquarters of the United Nations in New York as seen from the north of the UN site. © UN Photo, United States of America


Refers to funds from the European Commission EuropeAid and ECHO. Management of humanitarian food aid was transferred from EuropeAid to ECHO in 2007. Source: European Commission 2011

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Refers to contributions from EuropeAid and ECHO, excludes regional programmes. OPT covers contributions to the West Bank and Gaza and support to Palestine refugees in the region. Source: European Commission 2011


Source: European Commission 2011

Copyright © 2011 United Nations System in Brussels
Material in this publication may be freely quoted or reprinted, but acknowledgement is requested.

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