This report covers the year 2007 and contains, as mentioned in the MOU:
• An overview of the scientific activities carried out;
• A detailed financial overview of all income and expenditure;
• The envisaged use of possible budget transfers;
• A self-assessment of the progress realised with a reference to the UNU-CRIS strategic directions 2005-2009;
• The performance realised in terms of scholarly output, capacity building and policy impact;
• A self-assessment of the impact generated by the activities of UNU-CRIS;
• An assessment of the societal relevance of the research carried out by UNU-CRIS;
• A quantitative and qualitative projection of the performance objectives for the subsequent year.
Being part of the United Nations University, the work of UNU-CRIS has been guided by the UNU Strategic Directions 2005-2008, as adopted by the UNU Council. Within that framework, the Council in its 53rd Session in November 2006, adopted the UNU-CRIS academic programme and budget for the biennium 2006-2007.
In 2007, following the UNU-CRIS Advisory Committee, the portfolio of UNU-CRIS activities and projects have been organised into five priority themes:
• Monitoring and Assessing Regional Integration worldwide;
• The Political Dimensions of Regions and Systems of World Governance;
• Interlinkages between Regional Integration and Peace and Human Security Issues;
• Interlinkages between Regional Integration and Social and Economic Development;
• Perceptions, Cultures and Regional Integration.
For each of these themes, activities are deployed that stress the overall UNU-CRIS perspective, which is: the study of the relations between micro- and macro-regions and the study of the interlinkages between the different levels of integration.
One of the highlights of 2007 was certainly the launch of the first World Report on Regional Integration. With the report UNU-CRIS aims to further contribute to a systematic monitoring and assessing of regional integration processes worldwide. I am particularly pleased that this activity is undertaken in close collaboration with UNCTAD and the five UN Regional Economic Commissions. This illustrates the continuous effort of UNU-CRIS to work together with colleagues throughout the UN system. Equally so, it deserves to be stressed that realising this report has been supported by GARNET, a Network of Excellence created to bundle the capacity of more than 40 research institutes. As mentioned by Professor Richard Higgott, Senior Scientist of GARNET, the World Report series “is likely to establish itself as an obligatory reference for policy-makings and academics involved in thinking and moulding the global governance architecture of the future. It fills a gap in the existing supply of world reports”.
2007 was also the year in which UNU-CRIS stepped up its contacts with the growing family of UN Agencies in Brussels. On 12-13 February we hosted a two-day retreat on EU-UN collaboration attended by 19 Brussels’ based Head of Agencies.
The core business of UNU-CRIS is studying regional integration, but being part of the UNU family we also try to contribute to the larger UNU-family. This is why UNU-CRIS was involved in establishing a UNU Regional Centre of Excellence (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development for the region of the Southern North Sea. This RCE became operational in 2007. As a global UNU initiative, this new centre will allow us strengthening our local ties!
Luk Van Langenhove