NATIONS INSTITUTE FOR TRAINING AND RESEARCH
ORIGINS AND BACKGROUND
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) was established by the Secretary-General, following General Assembly Resolution 1934 (XVIII) of 11 December 1963, as a United Nations agency and an autonomous institution within the framework of the UN. In April 1993, the UN General Assembly decided to move UNITAR's headquarters from New York to Geneva, where most training programmes are designed and implemented. A liaison office remains in New York to coordinate training activities there.
UNITAR’s mandate is to enhance the effectiveness of the United Nations in its major objectives, particularly the maintenance of peace and security and the promotion of economic and social development. UNITAR’s mandate is unique; no other institution has a similar one.
The institute has, as its name implies, two main functions: training
and research, whereby the focus has recently been shifted to training.
According to its statute, UNITAR provides “training
at various levels to persons, particularly from developing countries, for
assignments with the United Nations or the specialized agencies and for
assignments in their national services which are connected with the work
of United Nations, the organizations related to it, or other institutions
operating in related fields.”
Basic research takes place only if extrabudgetary funds are provided. Existing research activities on training include selecting and gathering texts and articles, conceptualization of original case studies, and simulation exercises.
UNITAR’s governing body is the Board of Trustees. Its members (no fewer than 11 and not more than 30) are appointed on a broad geographical basis by the Secretary-General in consultation with the presidents of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Members serve for three years but usually not for more than two continuous terms.
The Secretary-General, President of the General Assembly and President of ECOSOC are also, like the Executive Director of UNITAR, ex officio members of the board, which highlights the institute’s special role and importance within the UN system.
The Board of Trustees, which meets at least once a year, has numerous tasks; its main ones are to formulate principles and policies governing the institute’s activities and operations and to establish conditions and procedures for the use of funds, including receipt and disbursement of special purpose grants. The board also approves the work programme, adopts the budget on the basis of proposals submitted by the Executive Director, and reviews the composition, structure and staffing of the institute. Furthermore, it determines the conditions of participants’ admission to the institute’s programmes, courses and meetings, and it makes the necessary recommendations for the effective functioning of UNITAR. Last but not least, the board advises the Secretary-General on the appointment of the Executive Director of the institute, who has overall responsibility for the organization, direction and administration of UNITAR in accordance with the regulations and rules of the United Nations.
The Executive Director exercises various functions: he or she submits the institute’s work programmes and budget estimates to the board for approval, including new programmes proposed by the Secretary-General or by governments through the General Assembly. He or she executes the work programmes, appoints and directs UNITAR’s staff, and designs programmes according to the board’s priorities. Furthermore, he or she may set up the necessary advisory bodies on training and research which represent specialized and related agencies within the UN system and public and private organizations particularly concerned with the institute’s activities. The Executive Director is also in charge of negotiating arrangements with governments, national and international public and private agencies to offer and receive services within UNITAR’s mandate. He or she coordinates the work of the institute with that of other international, regional and bilateral programmes in similar areas and accepts, following consultation with the chair of the board, voluntary contributions, donations and grants financing UNITAR’s activities.
UNITAR derives most of its funding from voluntary contributions made by governments, intergovernmental organizations, foundations and other non-governmental sources, as well as from income generated by the reserve fund.
The institute’s funding may be divided into three categories: general fund resources, special purpose grants and reserve fund resources.
-- General fund resources make up UNITAR’s regular budget--they finance the institute’s secretariat and UNITAR’s activities in the field of international cooperation, multilateral diplomacy and research on the United Nations.
-- Special Purpose Grants (SPGs) fund specific programmes and projects, particularly those concerning assistance to developing countries (training for economic and social development, research on energy and natural resources, etc.). UNITAR’s Executive Director signs an agreement with the representative of the source of funding for a special purpose grant project, pledging that resources will only be used for the agreed purpose and personally assuming accountability for the proper use of the grant. Funds raised from outside sources provide most of the support for the training programmes.
-- The reserve fund has two sources--proceeds from the sale of the institute’s capital assets, and donations and grants made for unspecified purposes.
The traditional concept of training, emphasizing transfer of knowledge and know-how, needs to evolve as modern society becomes more and more complex. Often “traditional” training services do not fully address the needs and priorities of recipient countries, nor do they facilitate the development of pragmatic solutions to address emerging problems.
UNITAR is working to change this situation. Its vision of training has been developed in light of experience gained and lessons learned through more than 30 years of training and research, and in consideration of changing patterns of international cooperation. This vision is centred around the conviction that training and research should be linked more closely to efforts at international, national and local efforts in order to initiate change. To ensure that training can indeed make such a contribution, UNITAR’s programmes are designed around several core themes and principles:
-- transfer of experiences, technology and skills through training must be driven by the needs and demands of partner countries;
-- training must be an integral component of capacity building and human resource development;
-- training must be linked to enhancing capabilities for task performance; and
-- training must contribute to national strategy development and policy making.
UNITAR is committed to supporting training programmes that will have a sustainable impact. The institute is convinced that only carefully-designed and implemented training programmes can make a lasting contribution to national development.
UNITAR does not conduct pure research; that function is ably carried out by other well-supported bodies within the United Nations family including the United Nations University (UNU), United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and the International Training and Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW). Instead, UNITAR’s research activities are linked to two categories of training: country-based research and research used in training.
UNITAR’s country-based activities are action-oriented. They are designed primarily to equip national teams with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary to undertake basic research. However, support for country-based research is not solely limited to training per se. Post-training technical assistance is also provided to ensure that the country-based research is then applied. In addition, country-based research supported by UNITAR involves policy-related research.
UNITAR also supports research to improve training and to develop better training programmes. The evaluation of country programmes under several UNITAR activities has ensured that lessons learned are applied to new initiatives. Another common approach has been the use of pilot projects to test a training approach prior to its application to a wider audience. Furthermore, UNITAR employs traditional research on training or pedagogical methods to determine the best approach to achieve training objectives. An example can be seen in UNITAR’s adaptation of the UN TRAIN-X system, a generic training development methodology, so that it might be applied to policy-oriented, multi-sectoral issues such as climate change or coastal zone management. As a result of UNITAR’s work, a new UN TRAIN-X Training Development Manual has been prepared and is being used by the UN division responsible for training in implementation of the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Partnerships With International Organizations
Through its partnerships with other international organizations, UNITAR ensures that its programmes respond to the capacity building required for the application of international legal agreements and conventions, such as the London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals on International Trade, and the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (with the United Nations Environment ProgrammeBUNEP and United Nations Food and Agriculture OrganizationBFAO) and the UN’s Desertification and Climate Change Conventions (Convention to Combat Drought and Desertification Secretariat, Climate Change Convention Secretariat, United Nations Development ProgrammeBUNDP, UNEP and Global Environment FacilityBGEF). National networks of experts also play a key role in UNITAR’s efforts to make its training programmes more relevant to national development and to provide follow-up to training events.
UNITAR recognizes that capacity building is a long-term process, and it works with partners to ensure that efforts will have a foundation beyond the life of a programme. This is accomplished through strengthening of existing capabilities and resources and working closely with local expert institutions. From knowledge gained through networks comprised of local expert institutions, UNITAR is also able to adapt its training programmes to more effectively respond to the individual, and most important, long-term needs of each region.
UNITAR’s partnerships also assist in the efficient preparation, review and dissemination of training materials. One of the greatest challenges facing UNITAR’s constituents is the difficulty in identifying and accessing relevant training materials. Through networks and partnerships, development and dissemination of such materials becomes more efficient and reaches a wider audience in a more timely manner.
Training Programme in Multilateral Diplomacy and International
Diplomacy Training and Fellowships
Training Activities for the Diplomatic Communities in Geneva and
UNITAR’s Training Programme in Multilateral Diplomacy and International Affairs Management is designed for the benefit of members of permanent missions accredited to the United Nations at Geneva and Vienna. This programme offers a variety of seminars, workshops and refresher courses focusing on general, specific and technical aspects that are instrumental for diplomats in order to accomplish their professional tasks in a multilateral setting. Courses are offered on topics such as International Economics, Current Issues in the United Nations System, Structure and Mandate of the Principal UN Organs, UN Documentation and Diplomatic Protocol. At the same time skills training is provided, covering the areas of Mediation Techniques, Chairing Meetings, Multilateral Negotiation, UN Conference Rules and Procedures, Report Writing, Communication Skills, and Public Speaking.
A la Carte Training
UNITAR offers training programmes designed on a tailor-made basis for UN Member States. Each curriculum is developed on an individual basis, following a needs assessment; the design aims to answer the specific and well-defined needs of the countries, agencies or bodies concerned.
UNITAR’s Fellowship Programmes are intended to equip qualified professionals from Member States with comprehensive subject knowledge in the areas of international affairs management, international law and international public administration. Information on these fellowships is disseminated via permanent missions, UNDP representations and law faculties. Nominees for each fellowship are selected by special committees. The participants receive a course certificate upon successful completion of the programme. The teaching faculty comprises experts from academic and international circles including practitioners from both within and outside the United Nations system. Current UNITAR Fellowship Programmes include the following.
UN/UNITAR Fellowship Programme in International Law (The Hague)
This six-week training programme for lawyers was established under the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Study, Teaching, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law. A limited number of places are available for lawyers from industrialized countries on a cost-covering basis. The course covers international criminal law, treaty law, law of the sea, environmental law, humanitarian law, refugee law, human rights, trade law and trade dispute settlement, dispute resolution and negotiation of international legal instruments.
UNITAR Fellowship Programme in International Affairs Management
Within this three-week training programme for junior to mid-level diplomats, fellowships are reserved for trainees from developing countries and countries in transition; diplomats from industrialized countries can also attend upon payment of a course fee. The curriculum covers the UN system, UN reform proposals, UN peacekeeping, preventive diplomacy, multilateral negotiations, dispute settlement, mediation, disarmament, international economic relations and financial management, international law, public speaking and new communication technologies.
Peacemaking and Preventive Diplomacy
UNITAR-IPA Fellowship in Peacemaking and Preventive Diplomacy
This annual programme is co-sponsored by UNITAR and the International Peace Academy (IPA) and offers advanced training in conflict analysis, negotiation and mediation to UN staff and diplomats who wish to learn or refine these skills. The primary focus of the programme is on preventing and resolving international disputes through the United Nations. The Core Programme, held each summer at the medieval castle of Burg Schlaining in Austria, provides a comprehensive framework for understanding how disputes begin, escalate and are resolved. The Extended Programme, held at the International Peace Academy in New York early each year, is available to participants who have completed the Core Programme and who desire a more in-depth analysis and examination of the issues with regard to specific conflict situations.
Senior Seminar in Peacemaking and Preventive Diplomacy
Launched in April 1998, this is a gathering intended to consider issues of relevance to peacemaking and preventive diplomacy at the highest levels of the United Nations. The first meeting studied how different models of power-sharing and various forms of local autonomy might contribute to the peacemaking process.
Programme of Training for the Application of Environmental Law
UNITAR, in partnership with the Commission on Environmental Law of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Programme, launched a training programme in environmental law in 1996. Distance learning through correspondence instruction is the central component of the programme in order to reach large numbers of people in both governmental and non-governmental organizations from countries throughout the world. This far-reaching training method has been designed to complement existing environmental law training efforts by other organizations. The programme has been conceived to strengthen the legal and institutional components of national capacity building for improved environmental management for sustainable development. While it is relevant for countries throughout the world, it has been designed specifically to respond to the needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The programme is directed to assist government officials, academics, lawyers, judges, planners and NGO representatives working in the field of environmental law, policy and administration to participate more effectively in their national efforts to pursue the goals of sustainable development. The initial emphasis will be upon providing training assistance to government administrators charged with responsibility for the implementation of international environmental treaty obligations.
Programme of Correspondence Instruction in Peacekeeping
UNITAR developed a Correspondence Instruction Programme on peacekeeping, which works closely with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to ensure the content of the courses properly reflect accepted UN practices and policy. Each of the eight courses offered covers a separate topic of peacekeeping. All are available in English, two are in French, three are in Spanish and additional courses are under development. Currently, this UNITAR programme has over 2,000 enrollments representing more than 60 contributing nations; new enrollments arrive at the rate of approximately 100 per month.
The International Migration Policy and Law Courses
The programme initially entitled The International Migration Policy and Law Courses was established in 1998 to provide comprehensive, in-service professional training in migration standards, policies and practices to senior government officials responsible for migration management and migration policy formulation. The overall goal is to strengthen the capacity of governments in all regions of the world to manage migration flows at national, regional and inter-regional levels, within a framework of international standards and policy accords, thus fostering international cooperation toward orderly migration.
The International Migration Policy and Law Courses Project is implemented under the auspices of its three co-sponsoring agencies: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UNITAR and International Office for Migration (IOM). UNITAR and IOM jointly hold administrative responsibility as Executing Agencies.
Regionally-based courses are conducted, each with some 40 participants from 15 to 20 countries in a particular regional context of common migration flows and concerns. The course programme strengthens and systematizes linkages between international migration policy formulation and its practical application by governments at the national and regional levels. Subsequent regional “refresher” seminars ensure ongoing implementation and coordination among governments.
The training framework facilitates access for governments to more advanced governmental and international migration expertise, and expands the creation of collective migration knowledge. The training methodology ensures that different governmental and regional migration policies and perspectives express themselves through inter-regional and cross-sectoral exchange.
A comprehensive Course Handbook has been developed and is distributed to participants. It contains a broad collection of relevant documents and texts of presentations and serves as a textbook during the course. The handbook is intended to serve as a permanent reference compendium in the ongoing professional work of participants.
Training and Capacity Building Programmes in the Field of Economic
and Social Development
Training and Capacity Building Programmes in Chemicals and Waste
UNITAR’s Training and Capacity Building Programmes in Chemicals and Waste Management (CWM) support developing countries and countries in economic transition in their efforts to ensure that dangerous chemicals and waste are handled safely without causing harm to human health and the environment. The programmes are closely linked to the implementation of Agenda 21 and related policy instruments which set out responsibilities of countries toward the goal of sustainable development. They are conducted in cooperation, and often jointly, with various international and regional organizations. UNITAR is a participating organization in the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC), a cooperative agreement among UNEP, FAO, World Health Organization (WHO), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), UNITAR and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). UNITAR contributes to the programme its experience in training and capacity building approaches and methodologies, while its IOMC partners contribute their substantive expertise in specific areas of chemicals and waste management.
National Chemicals Management Profiles
The UNITAR/IOMC Programme to Facilitate the Preparation of National Profiles to Assess the National Infrastructure for the Sound Management of Chemicals assists countries in assessing their existing legal, institutional, administrative, and technical infrastructures for the sound management of chemicals, following the UNITAR/IOMC National Profile Guidance Document. This guidance, which was developed in the context of country-based pilot projects, has been endorsed by the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS).
The UNITAR/IOMC Programme to Assist Countries in Organizing National Priority Setting Workshops for Chemicals Management and Safety addresses the interest of many countries to take a next step following the preparation of a comprehensive National Profile, that is to identify specific areas of national chemicals management that should be addressed as a matter of priority.
The UNITAR/IOMC Training and Capacity Building Programme to Assist Countries in Implementing National Action Programmes for Integrated Chemicals Management supports the implementation of a formal national process through which dedicated Technical Task Forces develop pragmatic solutions to selected national priority issues of chemicals management. To facilitate coordination among the various task force activities, a policy-level National Coordinating Team is established to guide and oversee the various activities conducted in the context of the National Action Programme (NAP).
The UNITAR\IOMC Capacity Building Network for the Sound Management of Chemicals was initiated in 1997. The network aims to facilitate an active dialogue and exchange of experiences between interested international organizations and governments in the field of chemicals management capacity building.
CC:TRAIN, The Climate Change Programme
UNITAR established the Climate Change Programme in 1998 in view of the growing number of activities that have developed around CC:TRAIN, which has been supporting national implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since 1993. The effectiveness of global conventions depends on national implementation. The mission of the UNITAR Climate Change Programme is to promote this and to bridge science and policy making at the national level. One of the most pressing barriers to national implementation is the “bottleneck” that is often encountered in the policy-making process. In this context, training is designed and provided to facilitate the performance of real tasks and commitments that have to be fulfilled by national teams. The climate change programme comprises the following.
-- CC:TRAIN--Training Programme to Support the Implementation of the UNFCCC: a GEF- and bilaterally-funded UNDP capacity-building programme implemented by UNITAR in partnership with the Climate Change secretariat, UNEP and IPCC, and with regional partners Environnement, Développement et Action-Tiers Monde (ENDA-TM, Africa), Fundación Futuro Latinoamericana (FFLA, Latin America and the Caribbean) and the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP, Pacific).
-- Pacific Islands Climate Change Assistance Programme (PICCAP): a GEF-funded capacity-building programme involving 12 Pacific Islands countries implemented in partnership with SPREP and the University of the South Pacific.
-- Certificate Training Programme on Vulnerability and Adaptation: a long-term training course on climate change vulnerability and adaptation, taught at the International Global Change Institute (IGCI) of the University of Waikato (New Zealand) and the University of the South Pacific (Fiji).
-- CC:TRAIN Library: an initiative to compile and disseminate climate change-related training and information resources through the Internet and CD-ROM, in partnership with the Global Environmental Information Center (of the United Nations University and the Japanese Environmental Agency) and the Climate Change secretariat.
-- Information Systems for Assessing Climate Change Impacts: a programme aimed at developing and teaching GIS and related techniques and tools for analyzing climate change impacts. It is implemented in partnership with Clark University (United States) and funded by Info-Dev/World Bank.
Training Materials and Courses
Several training packages are being developed under the Climate Change Programme. Using the following training materials, UNITAR is able to organize the corresponding training courses and workshops.
-- Workshop Package on Climate Change and the UNFCCC: Challenges and Opportunities
-- Training Package on Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment
-- Training Package on National Greenhouse Gases Inventory
-- Training Package on Mitigation Analysis
-- Workshop Package on National Communications of Non-Annex I Parties
-- Training Package on National Implementation Strategy
-- Training Package on Using Information Systems for Assessing Impacts
-- Course Package on Vulnerability and Adaptation
Information and Communication Systems
Information Circulation Systems
UNITAR, with several of its partners, including the Observatory of Sahel and Sahara (OSS) and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), has developed a programme to facilitate the use of new information and communication technologies as tools to strengthen partnerships for sustainable development. The programme aims to facilitate the development of local, national and sub-regional Information Systems (IS). Two initiatives are currently being conducted in the field of information management and communication technologies, addressing specific needs and objectives related to desertification (DIS) and urban management (UIS), respectively. A third initiative was started in 1998 on Disaster Prevention and Management Information Systems (DPMIS).
The Desertification Information System (DIS) Programme
The Desertification Information System (DIS) initiative, which is conducted on behalf of OSS in partnership with the CCD secretariat, aims to facilitate the flow of institutional and scientific information among actors involved in implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification. A number of sub-regional awareness raising sessions and national workshops led to a three-year programme (1998-2000), through which African countries and regional organizations will create their own DIS under the framework of the CCD.
The Urban Information System (UIS) Programme
In 1997, a programme to “strengthen municipal capacities in management information systems” was initiated through pilot projects in Cebu (Philippines) and Dakar (Senegal). The programme, which aims to strengthen decision-making processes and improve information flows at the city level, provides training on the use of information technology for urban planning. It entails five components:
-- technical advice and support for the management of the information and systems;
-- Popular Urban Information Systems (PUIS);
-- indicators and urban observatories;
-- local government associations; and
-- urban environment.
Implemented through a joint programme with the OSS, AFRICAGIS is a platform for dialogue and exchange for practitioners and institutions active in geo-information processing, management and applications in Africa. Activities include a bi-annual conference, electronic forum and a newsletter. Three AFRICAGIS conferences have been held to date: in Tunis (Tunisia) in 1993, Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) in 1995, in Botswana in 1997 and Accra (Ghana) in 1999. In the framework of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) African Information Society Initiative (AISI), a new AFRICAGIS consortium composed of Organisation africaine de la cartographie et de la télédetection (OACT), Association des experts africains en télédetection pour l’environnement (AARSE) and the Environmental Information System (EIS) World Bank programme has been set up under the international organizational committee, which is chaired by UNITAR and OSS.
Training Programme in the Legal Aspects of Debt and Financial
Management and Public Administration
UNITAR’s Training Programme in the Legal Aspects of Debt and Financial Management has been involved in conducting high-level sensitization seminars and follow-up in-depth workshops for African government officials since January 1990. The programme came about after the conclusion of a high-level expert meeting in Geneva in April 1987, which recommended that UNITAR conduct training in the legal aspects of debt and financial management for the African continent.
Series of Sub-Regional Workshops on the Legal Aspects of Debt and
Financial Management for East, West and Southern Africa
Since June 1998, UNITAR has conducted five joint sub-regional workshops inviting 135 participants from East, West and Southern Africa. A total of 40 training days were allocated for these activities. The specific activities are listed below:
-- Joint UNITAR/West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) Sub-Regional Workshop on the Legal Aspects of Debt Negotiations, Lagos (Nigeria), 12-16 October 1998
-- Joint UNITAR/International Law Institute (ILI)-Uganda Sub-Regional Workshop on Legal Issues in Relation to Privatization, Kampala (Uganda), 15-27 November 1998
-- Joint UNITAR/ILI-Uganda Sub-Regional Workshop on Legal Issues in Securities and Capital Markets, Kampala (Uganda), 8-26 March 1999
-- Joint UNITAR/WAIFEM Sub-Regional Workshop on the Mechanics of Loan Agreements, Banjul (Gambia), 3-7 May 1999
-- Joint UNITAR/Macroeconomic & Financial Management Institute of Eastern and Southern Africa (MEFMI) Sub-Regional Workshop on Debt Negotiation Issues, Lilongwe (Malawi), 2-6 August 1999
Keeping in view UNITAR’s specific mandate, all the above workshops have involved modules on exposing the specific and important role of lawyers in the borrowing process. Over the years, UNITAR’s substantive contribution to training in various legal and negotiation aspects pertaining to the borrowing process, as well as exposing the multidisciplinary of debt management, for example the role and involvement of lawyers, has been recognized and sought after in all training activities in the region.
African Pilot Programme for a Capacity Building Initiative Involving
Preparation of National Profiles for Assessing the National Legal
Infrastructure for Sound Financial Management
A pilot programme--along the same lines as the Chemicals and Waste Management National Profile Programme--has been launched in the field of Sound Financial Management. A Guidance Document has been developed along with a CD-ROM version to assist countries in launching this initiative. Currently, Ghana is in the process of completing a National Profile Assessing the National Legal Infrastructure for Sound Financial Management. A number of countries have shown interest in the initiative, bearing in mind the relevance and importance of legal reform to the broader problem of external debt in the region. UNITAR is also discussing possibilities of conducting this project jointly with its partner regional training institutes: WAIFEM for West Africa and MEFMI for Eastern and Southern Africa.
UNITAR/IPA Fellowship Programme on the Legal Aspects of Debt and
Within the framework of its training programme in the Legal Aspects of Debt and Financial Management, UNITAR together with the Irish Institute of Public Administration (IPA) has conducted a first Fellowship Programme on the Legal Aspects of Debt and Financial Management in Dublin (Ireland) from 13-24 September 1999. The programme lasted two weeks and invited senior and middle-level officials involved in debt management from the following African countries: Botswana, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The programme was intended for senior and middle-level economists and lawyers of the following institutions: central banks, ministries of economy, ministry of planning and development, ministry of finance, and any other institutions dealing with financial management. The fellowship programme is intended to offer a regular forum for African government officials to review, update and deepen their knowledge and to study and share experiences in current issues of importance and relevance to Africa in relation to the legal aspects of debt and financial management. The organization of visits to Irish public and private institutions and banks provided an opportunity for the participants to acquire firsthand knowledge of the latest financial techniques and instruments. It also allowed Irish and other experts to showcase their work and experience in debt and finance-related initiatives.
Programme on Commercial and Financial Negotiations
The original Programme of Training in Debt and Financial Management in Central Asia and Azerbaijan and for the Palestinian Authority has developed and 11 October 2000 enlarged in three different ways: the topics dealt with are more diversified, the number of countries concerned has increased, and joint ventures have been established with two United Nations bodies, UNDP and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The Training and Capacity Building Programme addresses countries and authorities facing great and urgent needs, particularly the Palestinian Authority and the Central Asian Republics and Azerbaijan. Within the limits of its capacities, UNITAR has tried to answer requests from the concerned countries. Besides the core training on debt and financial management, new collateral subjects have been taught such as: Arbitration; Trade and Development; International Trade (including accessing the WTO); Financial Accounting; Financial Markets; and Management of Public Institutions. In the Central Asian Republics and Azerbaijan, the number of activities has increased to the satisfaction of national authorities and of UNDP field offices.
The core countries remain, but for some events invitations to participate in the programme were sent to most of the countries in economic transition. The feedback has been positive, and this activity should continue and develop, funds permitting.
The requests put forward by the concerned countries are diversified and growing in number. They mostly concern general governance for the Palestinian Authority, management of financial institutions for Central Asia with special emphasis on international trade, investments (including development of small and middle-size enterprises) and debt and financial management in general for the European states in economic transition.
UNITAR New York Office
The UNITAR New York Office was opened in October 1996, in accordance with resolutions of the General Assembly and with a decision of the institute’s Board of Trustees. The key mandate of the office is to organize training for delegates in New York and to strengthen UNITAR’s cooperation with the United Nations Secretariat, programmes and funds, as well as with academia, foundations and the private sector in North, Central and South America. The office also provides general information and conducts debate sessions and regular briefings and updates on ongoing UNITAR training programmes of its Geneva headquarters.
The priority task of the New York office is to design and conduct training programmes for the permanent missions in New York. Programmes are designed on the basis of needs and requests formulated by the missions, and through routine assessments conducted at the end of each course. In addition, an annual two-week international campus provides delegates with a platform to undertake more extensive and intensive training on themes of particular importance.
The New York office also provides liaison services to two other North America-based UNITAR programmes: the Programme of Correspondence Instruction in Peace-keeping (POCI) and the UNITAR Centre for Heavy Crude and Tar Sands. Close cooperation with centres of excellence in Latin American studies is being developed, both in the region and in the United States. The thematic focus of the work will be initially on urban and municipal issues in the Latin American context; UNITAR plans to strengthen and increase its programmes for and in Latin America.
Marcel Boisard, Executive Director, UNITAR, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland, telephone +41-22/917 8515, fax +41-22/917 8047, e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>, website (www.unitar.org).