The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 27 EU countries that together cover much of the continent. The predecessor of the EU was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: the idea being that countries that trade with one another become economically interdependent and so more likely to avoid conflict. What began as a purely economic union has evolved into an organization spanning policy areas, from climate, environment and health to external relations and security, justice and migration. The name changed from the European Economic Community (EEC) to the European Union (EU) in 1993 to reflect the broader scope of policies.
The Regional Department for Europe established a multi-layered collaboration with various institutions of the EU, including the European Commission, European Parliament, European Council and the Committee of the Regions, to promote common goals in the fields of tourism, transport, environment, rural development, youth and others.
The Council of Europe is the continent's leading human rights organisation. It includes 47 member states, 27 of which are members of the European Union. All Council of Europe member states have signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights, a treaty designed to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
The collaboration focuses primarily on the promotion of the sustainable development, preservation of heritage, international understanding and the role of other cultural itineraries through the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Their goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With over 194 member states, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide.
In 2020, the two specialized agencies initiated a close collaboration that aims to increase the resilience of rural communities against social and economic shocks through growing tourism and making it both more sustainable and inclusive. Across the FAO’s GIAHS (Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems) network of communities, tourism is a leading driver of equality, with the sector employing women and youth and giving them a stake in economic growth.
The United Nations team brings together 27 specialised agencies, funds and programmes spanning the development, humanitarian and human rights work of the UN. The Director of the UN Office in Brussels is the representative of the UN Secretary-General to the European Union institutions. The team works to build understanding and support for UN system activities within the EU institutions and amongst a wider public in Europe.
Although located outside of Brussels, UNWTO is involved in the coordination meetings of the group and contributes to the joint representation of the UN family in the EU institutions.
The Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) came into existence as a unique and promising model of multilateral political and economic initiative with the signing of the Istanbul Summit Declaration and the Bosporus Statement. In 1999, BSEC acquired international legal identity and was transformed into a full-fledged regional economic organization - the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
In 2014, the two organizations concluded a Memorandum of Understanding, making UNWTO a BSEC Sectoral Dialogue Partner.
Expedia is one of the world’s leading full-service online travel brands helping travellers easily plan and book their whole trip with the widest selection of vacation packages, flights, hotels, vacation rentals, rental cars, cruises, activities, attractions, and services.
In 2020, UNWTO and Expedia signed a Memorandum of Understanding that allows parties to share data on tourism trends and developments, both at the global and the local scale. This helps achieve informed decision-making, producing data-based policies aimed at tourism’s sustainable recovery post COVID-19 and future development.
European Cyclists' Federation (ECF) is the single European umbrella organisation for cycling for both transportation and leisure. With more than 60 member organisations in over 40 countries, ECF unites the European cycling movements as the only civil society voice at the pan-European level, and as the world’s largest and best-known cyclists’ advocacy organisation. The vision ECF shares with their members is to improve and increase cycling across Europe.
UNWTO and ECF will work together to promote cycling routes throughout the European region, including the EuroVelo routes that make up the European cycle route network; to highlight the increasing importance of cycling tourism, its benefits and regional economic impacts; to advocate a form of slow and sustainable travel which encourages interest in the richness of local gastronomy, heritage and community life across the countries and regions of the European Region.
UNWTO and the Union for the Mediterranean work together to enhance cooperation and promote tourism as a tool for sustainable development, peace and security in the Euro-Mediterranean region, capitalizing on tourism's potential to advance sustainable economic growth, social inclusiveness, decent employment, MSME development, women and youth empowerment and poverty alleviation.
A special emphasis of the collaboration is on the development of capacity building programmes to strengthen and develop skills and competencies of professionals in relevant action areas.
UEFA is the official body for European football responsible to its member associations for the governing of the sport of football in accordance with its statutes and regulations.
UNWTO and UEFA will jointly promote the benefits of sports and sports tourism for development and opportunity for all, particularly young people. The joint action will focus on sustainability, education, destination development, research, digitization and green investments.