International organisations in Hungary
In the years following the democratic transition in Hungary, several UN specialised agencies and other major international organisations opened their regional representations and liaison offices in Budapest and its surroundings, with the purpose of making their activities in Central and Southeast Europe more efficient. When choosing Budapest as the centre of their regional activities, these international organisations were considering the efficient and reliable relations with the Hungarian authorities, the central location of the Hungarian capital, its developed infrastructure and the highly qualified local workforce. As a result of the presence of these regional offices, Budapest has hosted numerous international conferences and professional training programmes in the past 20 years.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, FAO Sub-regional Office for Central and Eastern Europe (SEUR), FAO Shared Services Centre
The FAO Sub-regional Office for Central and Eastern Europe was established in 1966 in Budapest. In 2007m the FAO Regional Office for Europe moved from Rome to Budapest and expanded its activities under the name of FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia. The main responsibility of the new Office is the coordination of responses to the agricultural challenges in Europe and Central Asia. Since November 2007, the Shared Services Centre (SSC) of FAO is responsible for administration, finances and human resources management of the Organization.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional representation for Central Europe, UNHCR Global Service Centre and UNHCR Global Learning Centre
In 1989, Hungary was the first country in the region to ratify the 1951 Geneva Convention regulating the status of refugees which allowed UNHCR to establish its local activities. Since 2005, the Budapest office works as a regional representation responsible for UNHCR activities in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The main responsibility of the UNHCR Regional representation for Central Europe is to assist and improve refugee protection mechanisms, monitor the implementation of legal mechanisms concerning asylum seekers and refugees as well as to facilitate the integration of recognized refugees.
In June 2007, Budapest was chosen as the new administrative centre of UNHCR. The organization decided to move substantial part of its human resource, finance and supply management functions from Geneva to Budapest. In 2009, the Hungarian government made available an additional two floors in the same building where UNHCR created the Global Learning Centre (GLC). The Global Learning Centre consolidates learning initiatives and allows UNHCR to better tailor them to the organization’s priorities. With the outposting of its administrative departments, UNHCR estimated to reduce its costs by 9.5 million USD annually. Indeed, in 2010, savings in terms of salaries and rent alone will reach a total of 13 million USD.
International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Office
Hungary became member of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in 1991. The Budapest office opened in 1992 and since December 2000 it functions as the Regional Office responsible for the following countries: Albania, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Kosovo, Poland, Macedonia, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. The main duties of the Regional Office are to improve the situation of migrants, ensure adequate health care, improve national legislation and provide assistance during armed conflicts.
The ILO Sub-regional Office for Central and Eastern Europe was established in 1993 in Budapest. The Sub-regional Office is responsible for ILO activities in the following countries: Albania, Bulgaria. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland, Estonia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine. The Sub-regional Office gives professional advice to governments, employer and employee organizations and organizes events to assist them in the development of their labour policies. Since 1999, the Budapest Sub- regional Office of ILO is also responsible for the coordination of ILO activities in Kosovo.
The IFRC, the world’s largest humanitarian organization, started its activities in Budapest in 1993. In June 2007, the Central and South East European Regional Delegation was expanded and renamed as the Zone Office for Europe with a comprehensive mandate for 53 European countries. The Zone Office also functions as a resource centre and makes autonomous decisions about the utilization and distribution of resources in the region. The Zone Office provides financial support to international organizations by sponsoring various programs including projects that deal with the effects of climate change and the economic crisis.
International Centre for Democratic Transition (ICDT)
The ICDT is a non-profit organization based in Budapest, Hungary which collects the experiences of recent democratic transitions and shares them with those who are determined to follow that same path. Instead of promoting democracy in general, the ICDT sets more concrete and pragmatic goals. The Centre strives to show how dozens of young democracies have made, and are making, the transition, so that those who set off on this difficult journey from dictatorship to democracy in the future may learn from the successes as well as from the failures. The International Board of Directors consists of prominent personalities from the areas of international politics, economics, the arts and the sciences.
The Danube Commission is the oldest international organization based in Budapest. The main goal of the Commission is the provision and development of free navigation on the Danube. The Commission contributes to the unification and mutual recognition of the basic regulatory documents and to the improvement of navigation conditions and safety of navigation on the Danube.
Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe (REC)
The Centre was created jointly by the European Union, the government of the United States and the Hungarian government in 1990. The Centre is based in Szentendre. The main goal of REC is to support various organizations dealing with environmental protection through research projects and funds, enhance their collaboration and contribute to tackling the environmental challenges of the region. The Centre regularly hosts international conferences and also coordinates the network REC Local Offices in 17 countries in Central and Eastern Europe.