The UN Institute for training and Research (UNITAR) was established "for the purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of the United Nations in achieving the major objectives of the Organization'' through extensive training and research (UNITAR Statute). Operating as an autonomous body within UN system, the Institute provides short-term executive training to Members States' national and local government officials, and representatives of civil society and the private sector. It reaches out to some 25,000 beneficiaries around the world each year.
Aiming to become a centre of excellence for adult learning, UNITAR strives to respond to the growing demand from Member States, especially the least-developed and other developing countries, for capacity development in the fields of the environment, governance and peace, human rights, international trade, security and diplomacy. UNITAR advances its learning objectives through briefing and seminars, workshops and specialised regional training, and often collabrates with the UN on its senior-level management training, as well as peacekeeping training. It is also connected with the UN System Staff college (UNSSC).
Technology-enhanced learning continues to grow, about one-quarter of the Institute's 400-some events are now delivered in the form of e-learning. UNITAR has also increased its satellite mapping and analysis techinical capability through its satelites operational application (UNOSAT), which has supproted the UN system in responding to natural disaster and overseeing elections and humanitarian operations.
The Institute began operating in 1966, with activities primarily supporting the training of diplomats accredited to the UN in New York. UNITAR has since grown considerably and undergone restructuring measures, including shifting its headquarters from New York to Geneva in 1993, reopening its New York office in 1994 and opening new offices in Hiroshima, Japan, in 2002 and Brasilia, Brazil, in 2010. Unitar is also now represented in Nigeria ( Niger Delta Local Development Office in Port Harcourt) and has a network of local authority training centres in Atlanta, USA; Curitiba, Brazil; Durban. Soth Africa, Findhorn, Scotland; Jeju, ROK; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Plock, Poland; and Shanghai, China.
In 2007, UNITAR rationalised and upgraded its institutional structure with a view to increasing its capacity, and is now working to furthur enhance the quality and diversity of its training and increase its autonomy particularly through the diversification of funding sources
The UNITAR Board of Trustees meets in session at least once a year, and has been rotating the venue between Geneva and other cities (Rabat, Morocco, 2007; Paris, France, 2009; and Beijing, China, 2010). The 51st session was held from 21 to 23 November 2011 in Brazzaville, Congo.
The Board is the Institute's governing body. It approaches the work programme and budget, and formulates principles and policies that govern the Institute's activities and operaions. Board members are appointed by the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with the Presidents of the General Assembly and ECOSOC. The 16 trustees and four ex officio members are:
Lakhdar Brahimi, Algeria Simon compaore, Burkina Faso Shirin Ebadi, Iran Shirley Franklin, USA Geraldine Joslyn Fraser- Moleketi, South Africa Chen Jian, China Radha Kumar, India Henri Lopes, Congo (Chair) Valery Loshchinin Russian Federation Jean-Baptise Mattei, France Nicolas Michel, Switzerland (Vice Chair) U Joy Ogwo, Nigeria Alfonso Quinonez Guatemala Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica Anne Kristin Sydnes, Norway Alfredo G A Valladao, Brazil
Ex officio members UN Secretary-General President of the UN General Assembly President ofthe Economic and Social Council Executive Director of UN Institute for Training and Research