Since the signing of an exchange of letters between the EU and UNODC in 2005, cooperation between the two organisations has developed rapidly. Frequent policy level exchanges have been matched by intensive operational cooperation at project level in the field and reached a level which makes the EU one of UNODC's most important operational partners globally.

To date, the partnership is well established to work together on a number of topics of common interest, in particular the fight against organised crime, including trafficking of drugs, people and firearms, wildlife crime and related crimes such as corruption. Also criminal justice reform, terrorism prevention, maritime security and drug demand reduction and treatment are well established areas of policy exchange and cooperation. 

Over the years, a well structured system for information exchange which supports the development of common policy approaches and operational cooperation has developed:  

  • The UNODC Executive Director regularly meets representatives from EU Member States and the EU Permanent Mission in Vienna;
  • An annual Senior Officials Meeting, lead by the European External Action Service and hosted in Brussels or Vienna, focusses on strategic policy exchange in areas of common interest;
  • An annual Operational Exchange Meeting, following the Senior Officials meeting, lead by the European Commission (DG DEVCO) provides the opportunity to discuss overarching operational topics;
  • Numerous working level meetings in Vienna, Brussels, or in the field take place to discuss specific thematic, geographic or programmatic issues;
  • The participation of experts in each other's consultative and policy setting meetings support policy exchange and development of common approaches;
  • Joint activities for awareness raising and to promote common values are being arranged on an ad-hoc basis;