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EU support to OHCHR Web upgrade

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has been given a unique mandate to promote and protect all human rights. To fulfil this mandate, OHCHR works with Member States, civil society and other United Nations (UN) entities to set international standards for, and monitor the implementation of, human rights law. In addition, it supports human rights work on the ground in some 50 countries. Given the scope of this work, OHCHR relies on its website to disseminate vast amounts of information. The website is thus a key tool to engage with stakeholders, provide support to the UN human rights mechanisms and inform the public about human rights issues.

As the amounts of information continue to grow, OHCHR must look for innovative ways to manage knowledge. With this objective in mind, we have begun the process of updating our website. An initial assessment, which began in 2009, analyzed present management practices and produced a strategic roadmap for improving OHCHR’s Web presence. The roadmap recommends a phased approach. The first phase will be dedicated to the Web strategy, governance and fundraising, and subsequent phases will include design, implementation and review.

The roadmap is partly funded by the European Commission (EC). OHCHR collaboration with the EC goes back ten years and has been marked by two main phases.

From 2002 to 2006, 4-5 million euros were provided per year through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. This support was given for specific thematic projects, such as the UN special procedures and treaty bodies; follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; transitional justice; national human rights institutions; indigenous populations and gender. Contributions from the EC were also allocated to field activities, including in Burundi, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Mexico, Nepal, Togo and Uganda.

Since 2007, the EC has contributed 4 million euros a year, entirely free of earmarking. Unearmarked support is particularly welcome as it allows us to manage our funds with greater flexibility and, as a result, implement our activities more efficiently. The new arrangement with the EC is a reflection of how our partnership has matured over the years. Our cooperation today is based on common human rights priorities and mutual trust.

The support provided by the EU is particularly welcome at the start of OHCHR’s website upgrading project which will be developed over several years.