Austria at the UN
Austria is fully committed to the objectives and principles of the United Nations Charta. It regards UN policy as a central part of its foreign policy. Indeed, many of today's challenges cannot be tackled by one country alone. Global problems require global solutions, for which the United Nations offer a unique platform. Its almost universal membership, its proven record in international norm-setting and its operational experience makes it the natural center for multilateral cooperation.
On December 14, 1955, six months after regaining its full independence with the signing of the State Treaty, Austria became the 70th member of the United Nations. Since then, Austria has actively contributed to the organization's work and has gained an outstanding reputation in this regard. Austrians have held numerous leadership positions. From 1972 to 1981 the Austrian Kurt Waldheim served as Secretary-General of the United Nations. Austria has been a regular member of important commissions and bodies of the UN, such as the Commission on Human Rights.
Austria’s strong bond with the United Nations is reflected by the fact that it is one of the countries that provides the largest number of troops for peacekeeping operations. To date, approximately 50,000 Austrians have served in over fifty UN peacekeeping missions all over the world - as soldiers, military observers, policemen or civilian experts. Austria contributed over 10 million Euro to the UN's annual budget in 2004. In addition to peacekeeping and conflict prevention, Austria's UN priorities include: human rights, disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, combating crime and drugs, sustainable development and the strengthening, development and codification of international law.
During its Presidency of the European Union in 1998, Austria also undertook efforts to make UN policy an important building block of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU. On an increasing number of issues on the UN agenda, the European Union formulates common positions which are upheld by its member states.
Vienna, along with New York and Geneva, serves as one of the three headquarters of the United Nations. The "Vienna International Center", which celebrates its 25th anniversary in October 2004, hosts the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), the Office on Drugs and Crime (ODC), the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) of the Organisation for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and other units belonging to the UN system, such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Vienna is the seat of 31 international organisations and has gained an excellent reputation as a major international conference center, hosting a large number of conferences and meetings under the auspices of the United Nations.