The Multilateral Diplomacy Programme of UNITAR had a very full and successful 2013. The team strengthened the skills of diplomats from all over the globe in many different areas related to multilateral diplomacy and supported efforts to build a more effective multilateral system.
UNITAR facilitated several workshops for Algerian diplomats in 2013, covering topics ranging from diplomatic protocol, leadership skills and the United Nations system to trainings of trainers and trainings by trainers. These capacity building activities were part of a wider three year partnership between the Institute of Diplomacy and International Relations (IDRI) of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria and UNITAR. Several major partnerships yielded high quality training events and workshops in 2013 including a workshop on Multilateral Conferences and Diplomacy as well as one on Climate Change Diplomacy to officials from the Government of Sudan, particularly providing capacity building programmes to officials responsible for international negotiations and foreign policy, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sudan. Amongst others, UNITAR also cooperated with the Korea National Diplomatic Academy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to organize workshops and briefings for their diplomats.
In addition, UNITAR supported several UN agencies with training activities, among which the OHCHR, facilitating the Human Rights orientation programme for diplomats in September. The Institute also successfully implemented the pilot phase of a partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to empower staff in a variety of diplomacy related topics. The pilot included four workshops over a period of two months, covering topics such as intercultural communication, protocol, facilitation and public speaking. Finally, UNITAR provided 21 e-Learning courses over the course of 2013. All courses met their benchmarks for levels of participant satisfaction. On-line courses in 2013 included favorites such as United Nations Protocol and Introduction to the United Nations System, but new timely relevant courses were also added. One course introduced was Introduction to Water Diplomacy to highlight 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. The course was facilitated with the help of several partners including Oregon State University, UNESCO and the School of International Development of the University of East Anglia.
All of this success spilled into the New Year, as UNITAR co-organized a two day high-level international conference entitled “Transformative Global Governance: China and the United Nations”, which took place in Shanghai, China from the 13th to the 14th of January 2014. The conference was jointly hosted by the Shanghai United Nations Research Association (SUNRA), UNITAR, the United Nations Association of China (UNA-China), the Zhongdao Group as well as Fudan University. It was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, the Shanghai UN Research Association (SUNRA) and the China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong (CELAP). All of these successes spurred on efforts by UNITAR to consolidate Core Diplomatic Training (CDT) services across UNITAR locations. Hence from 2014 onwards, Core Diplomatic Training will work as a single unit across New York and Geneva, with additional activities being implemented in other major United Nations locations. You can find more information about the consolidated CDT offer at www.unitar.org/cdt.
The future for the UNITAR's Multilateral Diplomacy Programme in 2014 continues to look bright as several important events are already scheduled for early this year. The Programme will be supporting Myanmar early in 2014 by facilitating a two week workshop to help prepare diplomats and trade officials for the upcoming ASEAN summit where it will serve as Chair. There are also over 15 half day briefings on the Post-2015 Development Agenda to be held in New York in the first quarter of 2014. More workshops are currently being planned for other regions and information on support of the Post-2015 Development Agenda will be provided early in the year.
Overall the team of UNITAR’s Multilateral Diplomacy Programme has taken great strides to fulfill the mandate of UNITAR to provide capacity building activities to diplomats from a wide range of countries enabling them to perform effectively and efficiently in a multilateral context. The team plans to use the successes from 2013 to plant the seed of multilateral diplomacy in 2014 and the years to come.