Inauguration Ceremony for Conference Building "M" at the Vienna International Centre (Rede nur in englisch)
Welcome by Ursula Plassnik, Austrian Federal Minister for European and International Affairs
25 April 2008
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Mrs. Ban,
I warmly welcome you all here today on behalf of the Austrian Federal Government, on behalf of the Austrians.
It is a particular pleasure to welcome you, Secretary-General, here at what we hope is your "second home" in Vienna.
Those who build a house express confidence in the future. And this is what we are doing here jointly: we express confidence in the work of multilateralism, in multilateral cooperation, in multilateral diplomacy. We express our confidence in the system and in the family of the United Nations. We are united in diversity in doing so.
This is also an expression of commitment to our partnership - Austria, the European Union, the United Nations.
There are so many challenges ahead of us in this 21st century. They all have to do with human security and this is what we focus on here at the United Nations in Vienna.
We put the human being and human security at the centre of our joint efforts and our work here in Vienna in so many different ways:
- UNIDO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation: it aims to improve living conditions of people around the world, including by fostering sustainable development and the use of renewable energy.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation: both of them in different ways act as "nuclear watchdogs" of the international community. This also has to do with immediate security for people all around the world, young and old.
- UNODC, the United Nations Office to Fight Drugs and Organised Crime here in Vienna - here again we have human security at the centre of our work.
- And let me also mention one international organisation, which does not belong to the United Nations family in the strict sense: the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
All these organisations have one common goal: to make this world a safer place for each and every human being.
We make a point of working on the synergies between these various organisations in order to promote important aspects of the global agenda.
Let me mention a few recent examples:
- The Vienna Forum on Human Trafficking, which we organised here in Vienna in February 2008. It was a joint project of UNODC, OSCE and Austria and it brought together, in a new way, governments, civil society and the private sector to send around the globe an important call for action to combat this horrendous crime.
- Let me also point to the example of energy, where a number of organisations here in Vienna are working together to address the growing need for sustainable energy. We Austrians stand ready to support this new energy cluster. An International Renewable Energy Agency, in my mind, could be an important addition to it. There is word that IRENA would one day be part of this big family working here in Vienna.
- And let me mention one more challenge: religions and cultures and the need for dialogue. As the Alliance of Civilizations meeting in Madrid earlier this year pointed out, there is urgent need to work for a dialogue of religions and cultures. Vienna has a lot to add here, a lot in way of expertise and experience. And we will gladly continue to do so.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The new "M" building - "M" for "Meetings" - is the biggest development of the Vienna International Centre since its official opening in 1979. It is shared by the four Vienna-based international organisations of the UN family and will further enhance synergies by offering state-of-the-art technology also for other important UN conferences.
Let me say a word of thank you to a number of individuals who have contributed a lot:
- Here, let me first mention Architect Albert WIMMER, who deserves our appreciation and our compliments for his work and the work of his team.
- Let me also thank the "Internationale Amtssitz- und Konferenzzentrum Wien AG" and its Director General Thomas RUPPERTI and his team, who supervised the building process.
- And let me acknowledge and value the contributions of the City of Vienna and the four international organisations of the UN family here to this building.
- Last but not least let me thank the children of the Vienna International School Choir, who so beautifully contribute to this event.
They have told us: In so many ways we are different - in so many ways we are the same.
And they have expressed what is the motto of the European Union and also of the United Nations: "United in Diversity".
This is what we will work for.
Thank you and all the best.