Research Handbook on the European Union and International Organizations
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Research Handbook on the European Union and International Organizations

Edited by Ramses A. Wessel and Jed Odermatt

Over the years, the European Union has developed relationships with other international institutions, mainly as a result of its increasingly active role as a global actor and the transfer of competences from the Member States to the EU. This book presents a comprehensive and critical assessment of the EU’s engagement with other international institutions, examining both the EU’s representation and cooperation as well as the influence of these bodies on the development of EU law and policy.
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Chapter 9: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Johanna Jacobsson


The chapter deals with the EU’s engagement with two key development bodies of the UN: the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The approach is twofold. First, the chapter explains the modes of cooperation of the EU and its Member States in these two organizations. It finds that in both instances the EU and/or Member State actors’ choice to become involved depends on the issues at stake and is highly pragmatic. Issues of competence arise rarely, as both bodies function in the area of development – a shared competence of the Union and the Member States. Second, the chapter analyses the influence that the EU has had on UNCTAD and UNDP, and vice versa. In this regard it is found that UNDP appears as a closer partner to the EU, whereas EU actors feel less ownership over UNCTAD. However, both bodies have an important role to play in the EU’s development policy.

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