Publication Date: 

This report covers the year 2008 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 55th Session in December 2008, adopted the UNU-CRIS academic programme and budget for the biennium 2008-2009.

In 2008, following the UNU-CRIS Scientific Advisory Committee, the portfolio of UNU-CRIS activities and projects have been organised into four subprogrammes:

1: Studying Regions and Regional Integration from a Comparative and Multi-level Governance Perspective
2: Monitoring and Assessing Regional Integration Worldwide
3: Studying the Global-Regional Peace and Security Complex
4: Assessing the Socio-Economic Dimensions of 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.

In 2008, UNU-CRIS has managed to achieve several important objectives in the deepening and promotion of its activities. An important highlight is the creation of a new book series on comparative regional integration studies in Chinese, published by the China University of Political Science and Law Press. This book series is a joint-venture between UNU-CRIS and Renmin University in Beijing. An outstanding international Advisory Board gives intellectual and strategic guidance to this book series.
Also, a new electronic working paper series has been launched: the Bruges Regional Integration and Global Governance (BRIGG) Papers, a joint-venture with the College of Europe.

Amongst the many conferences and workshops organised, the “EU in International Affairs” (Brussels, 24-26 April) deserves special mentioning. More than 200 participants gathered in Brussels to discuss approximately 100 papers and policy-lined panels.
A special highlight was also the Asia-Europe dialogue organised in cooperation with the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF, Beijing, 17-18 October).

Together, these events and publications testify a growing interaction between UNU-CRIS and top academics from all over the world. It also shows a growing collaboration with Chinese institutions.

Institutionally, UNU-CRIS became strengthened by being allowed to open a new UNU post, the UNU-CRIS Associate Director. In September, Dr. Philippe De Lombaerde took up this post.

Finally, it deserves to be mentioned that in 2008 close cooperation was developed with OSAA (UN, New York), ITC-ILO and UNESCO. As such, UNU-CRIS is becoming more and more integrated in the UN system.

Luk Van Langenhove
Director UNU-CRIS