Since its creation, the EMCDDA has placed particular emphasis on its relations with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The EMCDDA is an observer at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), and the UNODC participates in turn as an observer on the Centre's Management Board.
On 13 March 1998 in Vienna, the EMCDDA and the UNODC signed a Memorandum of Understanding formally establishing cooperation between the two organisations. This represents a major step forward in national, European and international efforts to combat the global drug problem. Cooperation between the two organisations is based on the principles of appropriateness, reciprocity and work-sharing, entrenched in complementarity. The MoU unites the EMCDDA and the UNODC in:
- improving the collection and analysis of data
- developing and promoting data-comparison methods; and
- enhancing the dissemination of information.
The MoU was supplemented by practical joint work programmes signed in 2000 and 2007. The most recent work programme covers 2012–14 and highlights the strategic areas of work, such as: development of standards for data collection and data analysis, capacity building and exchange of best practices.
There is an intense and an ongoing exchange of expertise between the EMCDDA and UNODC through data exchange, participation in various technical meetings and contributions to publications and conferences in the areas of drug demand and drug supply.
Moreover, the EMCDDA is in permanent contact with the regional UNODC offices to work with non-EU countries on the development of national drug monitoring systems. The EMCDDA is also a member of the Steering Committee of UNODC’s SMART programme.