Partnership with the European Union


Since the signing of an exchange of letters between the EU and UNODC in 2005, cooperation has developed rapidly. Frequent policy dialogues have been matched by intensive operational cooperation through projects in the field, making the EU one of UNODC’s most important operational partners globally.

The EU – UN partnership maximises their respective capacity to ensure peace and security, justice and the rule of law, healthy lives and gender equality in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In particular, this cooperation contributes to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), 5 (Gender Equality), 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 14 (Life Below Water), 15 (Life On Land) as well as 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and 17 (Partnerships for Goals). 

Over the years, a well-structured system for information exchange that supports and facilitates joint policy and operational work has developed thanks to the close coordination with relevant interlocutors within the European institutions, notably:

  • European Commission;
  • European External Action Service (EEAS);
  • Council of the European Union;
  • European Parliament;
  • European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO);
  • European Justice and Home Affairs Agencies (JHA).

Priorities for 2019-2024

The increasing recognition by the EU of the interconnection between internal and external security and of the need for complementarity and coherence between the implementation of internal priorities and EU external action opens up more opportunities for cooperation vis-à-vis:

  • European Green Deal (wildlife and forest crime, environmental crime, ocean governance, sustainable fisheries, health and prevention of wildlife-related pandemics, climate change and security nexus etc.);
  • Digitalisation (Cybercrime, corruption, illicit financial flows, Artificial Intelligence, data, new technologies etc.);
  • Promoting the European way of life (fight against organised crime, terrorism, cyber threats, and illicit trafficking including of drugs and firearms, judicial cooperation, fundamental rights and the rule of law, migration including trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants).

For more information about the priorities of the European Union for 2019-2024 and the mandates of UNODC, please consult the UN-UNODC policies section of this website.

Operational Cooperation

EU-UNODC projects are providing support worldwide to develop standards, capacities and cooperation related to illicit drugs, organised crime, corruption, terrorism, and criminal justice. This operational partnership benefits from the best technical expertise available across a broad spectrum of thematic and geographic areas. It builds on the shared recognition that organised crime knows no borders and that improved cooperation is instrumental to providing effective responses.

Through global, trans-regional, multi-country and national projects, the EU and UNODC portfolio has reached 76 active projects since 2014. The European Union is among the top donors to UNODC.

In 2022, active UNODC projects benefitted from contributions from DG International Partnerships (INTPA), the Foreign Policy Instrument Service (FPI), DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR), DG Migration and Home Affairs (HOME), DG Structural Reform Support (REFORM), and DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (EAC).

The EU-UN Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement (FAFA), signed in 2003, provides the overall framework for contracting of EU funding to UNODC and applies to all Directorates General of the European Commission.


Facts & Figures