United Nations Institute for Training and Research

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United Nations Institute for Training and Research
UN UNITAR Logo.png
Abbreviation UNITAR
Formation 1963
Type UN Institute
Legal status Active
Headquarters Geneva
Executive Director:
Sally Fegan-Wyles[1]
Website www.unitar.org

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) was established in 1963 following a UN General Assembly resolution "for the training of personnel, particularly from developing Member States, for administrative and operational assignments with the United Nations and the specialized agencies, both at Headquarters and in field operations, and for national service" as well as for "research and seminars on operations of the United Nations and the specialized agencies".

An autonomous body within the UN system, UNITAR is governed by a Board of Trustees whose members are appointed by the UN Secretary-General, and led by the Executive Director, also appointed by the Secretary-General. The Institute is supported by voluntary contributions from governments, intergovernmental organizations, foundations and the private sector.


  • 52 years at the service of UN Member States
  • over 31,000 participants in 2014
  • 500 training activities a year
  • Headquarters in Geneva
  • Offices in New York and Hiroshima
  • 14 associated training centres (CIFAL)
  • 100 staff and collaborators
  • Total budget: US$47.5 million for the 2014-2015 biennium

UNITAR today[edit]

People working on computers

The Institute provides short-term executive training to national and local government officials of UN Member States and civil society representatives from around the world. UNITAR strives to respond to the growing demand from UN Member States, especially the least developed countries, for capacity development in the fields of Environment; Peace, Security and Diplomacy; and Governance. Through The Hague Fellowship, held annually at International Court of Justice, UNITAR provides government officials with training courses on international law and through its programme on operational satellite applications (UNOSAT) the institute provides satellite imagery and analysis.

UNITAR helps governments to understand climate change, chemicals and waste management, and biodiversity. The Institute also assists ministries of finance through its courses on public debt management, finance and trade. Since 2003 UNITAR provides courses to support municipal and regional leaders dealing with complex public policies.

Another task of the Institute is to organize meetings for the UN Secretary-General, including the annual retreat of the Secretary-General and UN top officials, the annual retreat of Special Representatives of the Secretary-General as well as strategic meetings for UN Departments. UNITAR also spearheads UN inter-agency initiatives such as the one UN Learning platform on Climate Change or the Global Migration Group.

A globe with a skyscraper on the background

UNITAR’s thematic fields[edit]

UNITAR has training expertise in multilateral diplomacy, international law and human rights, conflict prevention and peacemaking, peacekeeping, adaptation to climate change, environmental governance, chemicals and waste management, local governance, international migration, as well as public finance and trade. UNITAR also serves as a research centre for knowledge systems innovation (KSI) and application of satellite imagery to humanitarian, conflict or disaster situations, through UNOSAT, the Operational Satellite Applications Programme.


Elakala Waterfalls in the Blackwater Falls State Park of West Virginia

UNITAR’s environmental training activities focus around four areas: Chemicals and Waste Management; Climate Change; Environmental Governance; Biodiversity.

Peace, Security and Diplomacy[edit]

Peace, Security and Diplomacy programmes enhance the capacity of Member States to support the United Nations in meeting its goals and objectives in these areas and include: International Law (with a specific focus on international environmental law); Multilateral Diplomacy; Peacekeeping; Peacemaking and Conflict Prevention.


Governance programmes contribute to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) poverty reduction and governance agenda through developing the capacities of public and private sector officials to address governance issues. Thematic focal areas are: e-Governance, Local Development, and Public Finance and Trade.

Knowledge Systems Innovation (KSI)[edit]

Training and learning

KSI works to capture content from multiple sources, and transforming the content into learning products. Its focal areas include: knowledge systems and their practical application (focusing on methodologies particularly relevant for lifelong learning); new technologies (focusing on their use in training and learning); and technology enhanced learning.

Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT)[edit]

NASA radar satellite image of Dublin, Ireland

UNOSAT is a programme developed in co-operation with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)[2] delivering satellite solutions to relief and development organizations within and outside the UN system to help make a difference in the life of communities exposed to poverty, hazards and risk, or affected by humanitarian and other crises. Its focal areas include: satellite imagery search and procurement assistance, image processing; map production including information extraction and analysis; research and methodology (design and guidance); field and remote technical assistance, including strategic consulting.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Executive Director". UNITAR. 
  2. ^ "Who we are". UNOSAT. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 

External links[edit]