The European Union is a key strategic partner of the United Nations on issues relating to political affairs and peace and security. The Secretary-General has recognized the EU as a pillar of the multilateralism system and as the most successful peacebuilding project since the end of WWII. The EU Lisbon Treaty provides that "The Union … shall promote multilateral solutions to common problems, in particular in the framework of the United Nations.” The EU Global Strategy on Foreign Policy and Security, unveiled in 2016, refers to multilateralism as its key principle and the UN as a core partner.
The UN and the EU are both committed to help reduce the rising levels of violent conflict globally. The increasingly complex causes of crises, and their linkages to regional and international peace and security challenges such as terrorism and organized crime, make partnership between the two organizations not a choice, but an imperative. Given that the prevention of conflicts saves both lives and resources, the organizations work together to help build effective security and governance institutions over the long term and engage in preventive diplomacy to address emerging crises. The Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) is in the lead on the dialogue with the EU on political affairs and on conflict prevention, and several mechanisms of dialogue have been taking place for many years, including, the High-Level Political Dialogue, which was initiated in 2012 to promote cooperation on political files.
DPPA also participates in mechanisms led by other Departments, in particular the Steering Committee on Crisis Management, led by DPO with DPPA chairing sessions on topics under its sphere of competence. The Steering Committee was established by the 2003 UN-EU Joint Declaration on Crisis Management, agreed after the EU launched its Common Security and Defence Policy. It is further informed by the 2019-2021 Priorities for the UN-EU Strategic Partnership on Peace Operations and Crisis Management that were officially launched in November 2018. These priorities are currently being updated for the period 2022-24 and cover cooperation on aspects ranging from Women, Peace and Security, conflict prevention and the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative.
DPPA cooperates closely with the EU to support on-going prevention and conflict resolution processes and to build capacities for mediation, including by co-organizing a biannual workshop for mediation support offices from regional and sub-regional organizations. The EU funds the DPPA Standby Team of Senior Mediation Advisers, while the EU’s provides continued support to the UNDP-DPPA Joint Programme on Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention.
In recognition of the need to develop the UN-EU partnership more systematically in the peace and security area, DPPA, DPO and DOS established the joint UN Liaison Office for Peace and Security (UNLOPS) in Brussels in 2011, serving as a true testimony of enhanced cooperation. In 2018, the Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) established a Brussels presence within UNLOPS. The EU Delegation in NY also enjoys enhanced observer status at the UN, allowing it to present common positions on behalf of the EU member states.