Cooperation with regional organizations has long been a touchstone of the work of the United Nations, as recognized in Chapter VIII of the UN Charter and numerous resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council. In many ways, the United Nations and regional organizations have unique and complementary capacities that, when properly coordinated, can contribute decisively to the prevention and management of armed conflict.
In recent years, these relationships have strengthened and deepened across a wide spectrum of activities, including peacemaking and crisis mediation, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance. In support of this growing cooperation in the field, the Secretary-General, with DPA support, has convened over the years a number of high-level meetings and retreats with the heads of regional organizations to ensure coordination and mutual understanding on operation imperatives as well as broader strategic issues facing the United Nations and its partners.
In its core work in conflict prevention, preventive diplomacy and mediations, DPA is in permanent contact with its counterparts in regional organizations to ensure information-sharing and cooperation on a country and regional issues of mutual concern. In a growing number of instances in which regional or sub-regional organization take the leading role in peacemaking or crisis diplomacy in their neighborhoods, the United Nations is frequently present as a partner, providing support and advice as required.
The Department of Political Affairs has also developed with partner organizations a series of regular “desk-to-desk” dialogues, which are designed to improve mutual understanding of each others’ structure and organization, review and improve channels of cooperation, and develop recommendations in that regard. Such "desk-to-desk" dialogues as well as regular communication and consultation are on-going between DPA and organizations including the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and the Organization of American States (OAS). DPA also holds a similar annual staff-level meeting with relevant officers of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
DPA also assists in building regional capacity, either through projects exclusively focused on mediation, or as part of more comprehensive capacity building assistance programmes. This includes the 10-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union (A/61/630), launched in 2006. Under that Programme, DPA has been working with the African Union to address its needs in the area of political and security affairs, including conflict prevention and mediation support, electoral assistance, and support to AU policy organs.
In order to improve knowledge and understanding in the field of conflict prevention and mediation, DPA regularly offers joint training programmes for staff from regional organizations and the United Nations.