European Union External Action

UN and other international organisations in Vienna

16/05/2016 - 18:33
Overview

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the United Nations at its core, is a central element of its external action. This commitment is rooted in the conviction that to respond successfully to global crises, challenges and threats, the international community needs an efficient multilateral system, founded on universal rights and values

The EU works with all UN bodies, agencies and programmes across virtually the entire range of UN activities, such as security policy, peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance, industrial development, energy policy, environment, human rights and culture.

As an observer within the UN, the EU has no vote as such but is party to more than 50 UN multilateral agreements and conventions as a non-State participant. It has obtained a special "full participant" status in a number of important UN conferences.

The UN Section of the Delegation is responsible for the representation of the EU to the following UN and other International Organisations in Vienna: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), United Nations Industrial Development Organisations (UNIDO), United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and United Nations , UNCOPUOS).

The IAEA promotes the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear science and technology, essentially by developing standards on nuclear safety and guidelines on nuclear security. It is the verification authority according to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and it verifies compliance with nuclear safeguards to assure that all nuclear material is used for peaceful purposes only (normative/inspection). To promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the IAEA is a clearing house for research on uses of nuclear and isotopic techniques and it provides technical assistance. In addition, it is the depositary/secretariat for several Nuclear Safety, Security and Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Conventions.

All EU Member States are members of the IAEA. Based on the 1976 agreement with the IAEA, EURATOM is observer and participates in all formal and informal meetings within its responsibility.  The European Commission has extensive scientific and technological co-operation with the IAEA and is also represented in the main technical bodies developing Nuclear Safety Standards and Nuclear Security Guidance. The outcome of this work is directly reflected in EURATOM secondary legislation, making these standards legally binding for EU Member States The EU and EU Member States provide significant technical expertise to the IAEA and are one of the biggest donors to the Technical Cooperation activities and to the Nuclear Safety Fund of the IAEA. 

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs, transnational organized crime, terrorism and corruption, and is the guardian of most of the related conventions, particularly the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the three protocols thereto (against trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in firearms), the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the international drug control and counter-terrorism conventions. UNODC was established in 1997 as a result of the merging of the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme. Around 1,500 people work at UNODC headquarters in Vienna and in field offices around the world. UNODC serves as a secretariat for the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and for the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal justice (CCPCJ).

The EU is a long-standing supporter of UNODC projects and programmes. The total budget of the ongoing 24 projects funded by the EU is €185 million. The projects are focused on the fight against drug trafficking, the fight against organised crime and corruption, alternative development, implementation of UNTOC and UNCAC, prison reform, criminal justice system reform, law enforcement capacity-building and anti-piracy measures.

UNODC has a continuing interest in enhancing cooperation with the EU. The EU is UNODC's major partner in West Africa. This includes a comprehensive EU funded programme in Nigeria consisting of 5 UNODC projects to the value of €100 million, supporting the justice, anti-corruption and drugs sectors. The EU also provides funding to support the ECOWAS regional action plan on illicit drug trafficking, related organised crime and drug abuse in West Africa (€11.7 million).

UNODC implements 11 regional programmes (North Africa and Middle East, West Africa, East Africa, South Africa, Caribbean, Central America, Afghanistan and Neighbouring countries, Central Asia, South-East Asia and Pacific, South Asia, South-Eastern Europe) and 6 country programmes (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Indonesia, Vietnam). In addition to the geographical programmes, UNODC also implements 10 thematic programmes (Container Control Programme, Airport Communication Programme, Maritime Crime Programme, Global Programme against Money-Laundering, Programme on Action against Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking, Programme on Corruption, Programme for Terrorism Prevention, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Reform Programme, Programme on Health and Human Development Vulnerabilities, Programme on Scientific and Forensic Services). Recently, the UNODC has presented a concept paper on the fight against smuggling of migrants in the Mediterranean.

EU participation in UNODC: the EU attends meetings convened under the umbrella of UNODC as an Observer, and the UNCAC and UNTOC Conferences of the Parties as a Party. 

UNIDO is considered one of the EU's key partners in realising inclusive and sustainable industrial development and eradicating poverty in developing countries. The EU and UNIDO have been cooperating since 2005 to support sustainable industrial development in more than 100 countries.

The EU and UNIDO’s main objectives are to reach inclusive and sustainable industrial development which helps to create growth and jobs, eradicate poverty, reduce inequality, and improve resource efficiency while limiting pollution, thus contributing to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

The EU Delegation follows developments with regard to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO).

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 September 1996. With the CTBT’s opening for signature on 24 September 1996, a de-facto international norm against nuclear testing was established. Currently there are 183 Member States who have signed and 164 who have ratified the CTBT, including three nuclear weapon States - France, United Kingdom and Russia.

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) was created as an interim organisation tasked with building up the verification regime of the CTBT in preparation for the Treaty's entry into force, as well as promoting the Treaty's universality. The Commission consists of two main organs: a Plenary (also known as the Preparatory Commission) and the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS).

As part of the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the EU has always been a strong supporter of the Treaty. The EU has supported the CTBTO Preparatory Commission with six separate voluntary contributions to date: The most recent one amounts to €3 million and will enable the CTBTO to further enhance its verification regime to detect any nuclear explosion and, in particular, to assist developing countries to participate actively in this multilateral verification effort.

In total the EU has contributed over €19 million to the CTBTO Preparatory Commission since 2006.

COPUOS was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to review the scope of international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, to devise programmes in this field to be undertaken under United Nations auspices, to encourage continued research and the dissemination of information on outer space matters, and to study legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space. The Committee has two standing Subcommittees: the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee.

The Committee and its two Subcommittees meet annually to consider questions put before them by the General Assembly, reports submitted to them and issues raised by the Member States. The Committee and the Subcommittees, working on the basis of consensus, make recommendations to the General Assembly. The Secretariat of COPUOS - the Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) - is based in Vienna.

UNCITRAL is the core legal body of the United Nations System in the field of international trade law. It is a legal body with universal membership specializing in commercial law reform worldwide for over 40 years. The Secretariat of UNCITRAL is based in Vienna.

UNCITRAL's business is the modernization and harmonization of rules on international business. In order to increase these opportunities worldwide, UNCITRAL is formulating modern, fair, and harmonized rules on commercial transactions. These include: conventions, model laws and rules which are acceptable worldwide; legal and legislative guides and recommendations of great practical value; updated information on case law and enactments of uniform commercial law; technical assistance in law reform projects; regional and national seminars on uniform commercial law. UNCITRAL has 6 working groups (Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises; Arbitration and Conciliation; Online Dispute Resolution; Electronic Commerce; Insolvency Law; Security Interests).

The Wassenaar Arrangement promotes transparency and responsibility in the transfer of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies. Participating States have to ensure that the transfer of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals, and are not diverted to support such capabilities. Currently, 26 EU Member States are participating in the Wassenaar Arrangement. The EU is interested in following the developments within the Wassenaar Arrangement as the EC Regulation 428/2009 sets up a Community regime for the control of exports of dual-use goods and technologies.

The NSG is a group of nuclear supplier countries which seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports. The NSG Guidelines are implemented by each Participating Government in accordance with its national laws and practices. Decisions on export applications are taken at the national level in accordance with national export licensing requirements. The European Commission participates as an observer.

HCoC was formally brought into effect on 25 November 2002 at a launching conference hosted by the Netherlands in The Hague. As of June 2016, 138 countries have subscribed to the HCOC. The HCOC is aimed at bolstering efforts to curb ballistic missile proliferation worldwide and to further delegitimize such proliferation. The HCOC consists of a set of general principles, modest commitments, and limited confidence-building measures. It is intended to supplement, not supplant, the Missile Technology Control Regime, and is administered collectively by all subscribing states.

A decision of the Council of the EU in the framework of the implementation of the EU Strategy against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction provides for several types of activities in support of the HCoC and of ballistic missile non-proliferation, carried out by the "Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique" as the implementing agency of the EU.

OPEC aims to co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among its member countries, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on capital to those investing in the industry.

IIASA is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change. IIASA and the EU coordinate their work in fields of common interest, such as energy, transport, water, environment, climate action, disaster risk reduction, agriculture, food, bio-economy and citizen science.

The Lisbon Treaty gives the EU a single legal personality. It also provides for the EU to replace and succeed the European Community, taking over all its rights and obligations, including with regard to its status within the UN. As a result, the EU can sign contracts, be part of an international convention or be a member of an international organisation, such as the FAO in Rome.

With Resolution GA/65/276, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 3 May 2011, the UN has granted the EU new participating rights at the United Nations, allowing EU representatives to present EU agreed common positions, to make interventions, present proposals and circulate EU communications as official documents. In Vienna, the EU common position is expressed by the representative of the EU Delegation or by the country holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, intervening on behalf of the EU. At the IAEA, the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) speaks on its own behalf.