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Partnership between UN and European Union benefits millions – new report

Partnership between UN and European Union benefits millions – new report

Hundreds of millions of people around the world won the right to vote or were vaccinated, offered refugee protection or given emergency food relief during 2005 because of the work of the United Nations and the European Union (EU), according to the first detailed report on the partnership between the two organizations.

The report, released today in Brussels, found that the UN and the European Commission worked together in 80 developing countries and countries in transition during the year under review, operating mainly to improve economic development, protect human rights and provide humanitarian assistance.

The report – which was released to coincide with the visit of UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro – focused on the partnership’s activities in the field, and not on policy cooperation.

It found that 50 million people were able to vote, 400 million children were immunized, seven million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) protected and assisted and 22 million people hit by conflict or disaster fed because of work done by the UN and EU together. Mines were also cleared from 18 million square metres of land and nine million textbooks distributed to children.

Speaking to journalists at today’s launch, Ms. Migiro said the UN and the EU were “engaged in a vital, tremendously complementary partnership. The UN’s unique legitimacy, global presence and expertise have helped the EU to achieve greater impact. Together, we are making a positive difference in the lives of men, women and children throughout the world.”

The report observed that the UN has added value to the work of the European Commission in several ways, including on sensitive areas of governance that benefit from the global legitimacy and impartiality of the world body.

EU Member States provide 38 per cent of the UN’s regular budget, at least 40 per cent of peacekeeping operations and about 50 per cent of contributions to voluntarily funded UN agencies, funds and programmes.

Meanwhile, aside from attending the launch of the report, Ms. Migiro met with EU officials, including Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel, as well as Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht.