UNIDO is a specialized agency of the United Nations composed of Member States pursuant to international treaty: its Constitution. As a subject of international law and in accordance with its Constitution, UNIDO enjoys certain privileges and immunities, rights and obligations under international law which define and regulate its external relations. Internally, like other members of the United Nations common system of organizations, UNIDO is required to act in accordance with its internal law. The internal law of UNIDO is defined by its Constitution and, subsidiarily, by the regulations and directives emanating from its governing bodies and the rules and instructions issued by or under the authority of UNIDO’s Director General.
The office of legal affairs is designed to assist the Organization in achieving its goals by ensuring that all its activities and programmes are in accordance with the external and internal aspects of the Organization’s legal framework as summarized above. The office’s core function consists in the provision of sound and impartial legal advice and expert legal assistance in order to promote and develop the rule of law in all aspects of the Organization’s activities, as well as to defend UNIDO’s rights, positions and interests in contractual or litigation matters.
More specifically, the office:
- provides legal advisory services to the Director General;
- provides legal advice and expert assistance to the Organization’s Secretariat with respect to international agreements, contracts and technical assistance projects, and in the connection with decisions, resolutions and other documents of the governing bodies;
- provides legal advice, upon request, to governing bodies and representatives, and communicates with Permanent Missions and government offices in respect of specific legal issues involving the Organization;
- reviews and drafts rules of procedure, headquarters agreements and conference agreements with host governments, and participates in the negotiation of these texts as necessary;
- represents the Director General in cases brought before the Administrative Tribunals of the International Labour Organization and the United Nations and in other claims against UNIDO;
- works with all offices of the Organization, both at headquarters and in the field, by providing legal services in respect of legal issues that arise in the course of their activities; and
- interacts with the legal offices of the United Nations and other agencies in connection with legal matters of mutual interest, including the development of international law and the harmonization or coordination of rules, procedures and policies in the United Nations common system.