Frequently Asked Questions about UNITAR

The Institute

What is UNITAR?

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a principal training arm of the United Nations, working in every region of the world. We empower individuals, governments and organizations through knowledge and learning to effectively overcome contemporary global challenges. UNITAR was established in 1963 by the General Assembly of the United Nations with the purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of the UN through appropriate training and research. Read more.

What are UNITAR’s mission and functions?

UNITAR’s mission is to develop capacities to enhance global decision-making and to support country level action for shaping a better future. The Institute: designs and delivers innovative training to address needs of individuals, organizations and institutions; facilitates knowledge and experience-sharing through networked and innovative processes; conducts research on and pilots innovative learning strategies, approaches and methodologies; and advises and supports governments, UN and other partners with technology-based knowledge-related services. Read more.

What is UNITAR's mandate?

  • To carry out a wide range of training programmes in the field of peace and security as well as social, environment and economic development.
  • To carry out result-oriented research, in particular, research on and for training and to develop pedagogical materials including distance learning training packages, work books, as well as software and video training packs.
  • To establish and strengthen cooperation with other inter-governmental organizations, faculties and academic institutions, in particular for the development of research and training activities.
  • To conduct training programmes in multilateral diplomacy and international cooperation for diplomats accredited to the United Nations and national officials involved in work related to United Nations activities.

Read our Statute (PDF)

Where is UNITAR located?

UNITAR’s headquarters are located in Geneva (Switzerland). Two out-posted offices have been established in New York (USA) and Hiroshima (Japan) to strengthen skills of beneficiaries through programme development and delivery of  regional activities. Read more.

How is UNITAR governed?

UNITAR is headed by an Executive Director and governed by a Board of Trustees. Members of the Board of Trustees are appointed “ad personam” by the United Nations Secretary-General, bringing their important point of view from governments, foundations, academics and private business. Appointed by the UN Secretary-General, the Executive Director reports directly to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.

Where can I get more information and documentation on UNITAR?

UN Resolutions and other official documents are available in the Resolutions and Other Reports section of the website. Information on the main areas of work are available under respective sections of the website.


What training is delivered by UNITAR?

UNITAR organizes training in the form of workshops, seminars and fellowships where participants, mostly professionals from developing countries, learn from each other and share their experiences and the common issues they are facing.  This can be done in face-to-face events as well as online courses.

What kind of recognition do I receive when participating in UNITAR activities?

Depending on the topic and format, our courses give right to different levels of recognition, ranging from a certificate of participation to certificates of completion and diplomas or certificates recognized by academic institutions.

Who can apply to UNITAR’s training?

UNITAR offers different types of training and courses, some which are open to the public and others are limited to specific target audiences such as diplomats or civil servants. Please note on the event description you're interested in if you are eligible under the criteria. UNITAR also offers a number of free online courses that can be taken by anyone, anywhere in the world.

Where do the training activities take place?

UNITAR conducts its activities all over the world.  Depending on the type of event, training activities can be organized in-country at strategic locations or through e-learning sessions. Many activities conducted under the Decentralized Cooperation Programme are organized through the CIFAL Global network, a network of affiliated training centres.

What is CIFAL?

CIFAL is a French acronym for International Training Centres for Local Authorities and Local Actors (Centre International de Formation des Autorités/Acteurs Locaux). CIFAL are established in collaboration with host local authorities/institutions, private sector partners, UNITAR and other UN organizations. Each CIFAL Centre is a hub for capacity building and knowledge sharing between local authorities, national governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society. Read more.


What kind of research is conducted at UNITAR?

UNITAR’s research activities are focusing on knowledge systems and their practical applications. Taking into consideration capacity development requirements such activities allow the Institute to develop methodologies that are particularly relevant for lifelong learning. Research supports the Institute’s training activities through the provision of learning environments adapted to respond to the needs of adult learners, thus facilitating the increase, efficiency and outreach of the Institute’s capacity development activities. 

What is UNOSAT?

UNITAR's Operational Satellite Applications Programme is a UNITAR programme which benefit from infrastructure support provided by the European Organisation of Nuclear research (CERN). By delivering integrated satellite-based solutions for human security, peace and socio-economic development, its goal is to make satellite solutions and geographic information easily accessible to the UN family and through training and capacity development projects. Since 2003, UNOSAT has established a rapid mapping service for the international humanitarian community and UN Member States. Read more.

Funding and Partnerships

How is UNITAR supported?

The Institute is supported entirely by voluntary contributions from governments, intergovernmental organizations, foundations, and develops working relationships with other UN entities, the private sector and renowned academic institutions. Becoming one of our partners contributes to our goal and enables the exchange of knowledge through collaboration. Read more.

Why partner with UNITAR?

UNITAR's vision of training and capacity-building is based on the conviction that training should be linked to international, national and local efforts to initiate change, and should result in a measurable impact. Read more.

What is the relationship between UNITAR and other UN institutes?

Numerous contacts and exchanges exist among the training and research institutes; at the same time, they all have institutional relationships with other UN partners that represent important strategic and operational alliances for their ongoing work programmes. There is active collaboration across the United Nations system and a fair degree of awareness of what other organizations do. This allows for the development of partnerships that create synergies in the delivery of services, particularly in the field of training.