UNITAR New York Office: building on the 2011 momentum to embark on new ventures in 2012

January 2012, New York, USA –“A wonderful workshop with very good teachers!” This delegate’s observation aptly sums up a successful year for the New York Office: in 2011, it planned, organized and evaluated 39 workshops (with over 70 days of training), trained over 1400 participants from Member States, UN staff and civil society, and secured new strategic partnerships with academia and the private sector. Building on these successes, UNITAR NYO will expand its thematic focus in 2012 and engage new partners.

An important achievement for 2011, UNITAR NYO has achieved gender balance in its workshops with 54% women workshop participants in 2011. As part of its 2011 Negotiation Series (organized in cooperation with the Swedish Olof Palme Memorial Fund), the New York Office organized a special workshop on “Women in Diplomacy” which was not only extremely well-received by participants, but also brought together a list of high-level female UN and Member State officials such as Ms. Michele Bachelet, former President of Chile and Executive Director of UN Women. UNITAR NYO opened up and further developed other thematic areas, such as sustainable development and environment, democratic governance, preventive diplomacy, and disarmament. The Office strengthened its environmental profile through its Rio Preparation Forum, which explores several themes of sustainable development, such as green economy and the role of technology. Workshops on “Democracy and Development” and “Strengthening the Rule of Law” sharpened the Office’s focus on the critical intersection between democratic governance, development, and the rule of law, especially in post-conflict and fragile states. Also, the New York Office successfully organized an extremely well-received course series on United Nations reform issues such as System-wide coherence, Change Management, and Preventive Diplomacy, and trained more than 340 participants from 69 member states in its 2011 Migration Series (supported by the MacArthur Foundation), including a programme on migration and human security.

Building on these critical successes, UNITAR New York Office will expand its portfolio in 2012. One new area will be online training which will be developed with strategic partners, including within the UN Secretariat and beyond; NYO will implement e-learning courses on the rule of law, population analysis, and gender, to name but a few. The Office will continue its Rio Preparation Forum and, in reaction to Member States’ demand, will intensify its focus on disarmament and arms control with workshops on “Negotiating the Arms Trade Treaty”, “Nuclear Non-proliferation and a Nuclear Weapons-free Zone in the Middle East,” and “Small Arms and Light Weapons.” In the focus area of “Democracy and Governance”, UNITAR NYO will organize trainings on the post-Busan principles with the Permanent Mission of Timor-Leste, and national development and human dignity. The Office has also established a key partnership with the United States Institute of Peace to develop and implement intensive courses on “Governance: Paths to democratic institution building in fragile and transition environments” with two courses in New York and two in Washington, D.C., respectively. UNITAR NYO will represent the United Nations in the US interagency working group on integrated education and training on issues dealing with global security.

These and other activities will ensure that UNITAR and its New York Office will remain vital to capacity-building within the diplomatic community in New York in the coming year and the New York Office’s team is therefore looking forward to an exciting 2012.