Vienna - Official Seat of International Organisations & Institutions
Vienna is one of the most important headquarters of international organisations. Beside New York and Geneva, Vienna is the third headquarters of the Secretariat of the United Nations (UN). International organisations employ more than 5,000 people, of whom approx. 1,500 are Austrians.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA, Director-General Yukiya Amano) was the first of the international organisations to be based in Vienna and, with its 2,325 employees, is still the largest. Over the past few years, the IAEA has shifted its emphasis from the promotion of atomic energy to nuclear safety and the prevention of the improper use of fissile material.
In the course of the reforms of the United Nations, in 1997 Vienna became a major centre of all UN efforts aimed at combating crime, drug abuse and terrorism. As a result, the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), renamed the ODC/Office on Drugs and Crime in autumn 2002, was set up in Vienna. Since 2010 it has been headed by Yury Fedotov as Executive Director, who at the same time holds the offices of Under-Secretary-General and Director-General of the UNOV (United Nations Office at Vienna). The ODC consists of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and the Centre for International Crime Prevention (CICP).
The UNOV Secretariat unit (United Nations Office at Vienna) gives administrative support to various UN bodies and institutions, and is responsible for conference planning and interpretation services for more than 2,000 conferences and meetings a year as well as for the security services at the Vienna International Centre (VIC). UNOV also includes the Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), the Division of Administrative and Common Services (DACS) and the United Nations Information Service (UNIS). Secretariat units which report to other Secretariat entities include the United Nations Commission on International Trade (UNCITRAL) and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). Apart from the above-mentioned organisations of the UN family, the Vienna International Centre (VIC) also houses the branch-office of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the regional bureau of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Secretariat of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River.
Another Vienna-based organisation is the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), headed by Kandeh K. Yumkella. This organisation was set up in 1966 and has become leaner following reforms in the last few years. UNIDO is the only organisation within the UN system to provide support for industrialisation in Third World countries and in the Central and Eastern European transition countries through technical assistance, consultation and mediation as well as research and study programmes aimed at the most eco-friendly industrialisation on the one hand, and through the promotion of industrial co-operation between developing and industrialised countries on the other.
Headed by Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth, the Preparatory Commission with its Provisional Technical Secretariat of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) to which a sophisticated data centre is attached, has been operative in Vienna since 1997. In the same year, the global successor to COCOM, the Secretariat of the Wassenaar Arrangement on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, started operating in Vienna.
The Vienna International Centre (VIC), which was opened in 1979, houses all of the organisations mentioned above except for the Secretariat of the Wassenaar Arrangement. Austria handed the VIC over to the international organisations for a peppercorn rent.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is a co-operative security organisation with a very comprehensive mandate addressing security-related issues including stability, arms control, human and minority rights, democratisation in the broadest sense and economic as well as environmental security. It is the only pan-European security forum in which Russia participates on an equal status. Its distinguishing characteristic is its wide membership, comprising 56 participating states, including all European countries and the USA, Canada, and the Central Asian states. The term co-operative means that the OSCE does not apply coercive measures, but must seek the host country's agreement before becoming active in the event of crisis or conflict.
In the past decade, the OSCE has become a major instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, non-military crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. Moreover, the OSCE constitutes an important forum for arms control and disarmament in the field of conventional arms.
The OSCE chair is assumed at regular intervals by one member state which then plays an important role in managing the Organization’s work and in its external representation. The foreign minister of the country holding the chair holds the office of Chairman-in-Office (CiO). The fact that decision-making within the OSCE requires a consensus among all 56 participating states represents a particular diplomatic challenge for the chair, which is currently held by Lithuania . In 2000 Austria chaired the OSCE.
The OSCE Secretariat, under the direction of the Secretary General (since 2011 Lambero Zannier) is the organisational backbone and provides support for the Chair's activities. It is based in Vienna, assisted by an office in Prague.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), founded in Baghdad in 1960, has been based in Vienna since 1965. This intergovernmental organisation is dedicated to co-ordinating its member countries’ oil producing policies, achieving fair and stable prices for petroleum-producing countries and to assuring reliable and cost-efficient economic supplies to consumer countries. The organisation consists of the Conference of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Governors’ Council and the Secretariat, headed by the Secretary General (Abdalla Salem El-Badri) who is appointed by the Conference. The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), established by the OPEC Member Countries in January 1976 is also based in Vienna. The OPEC Fund (Director-General Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish), which is financed through voluntary contributions derived from the member countries’ oil revenues, seeks to contribute to the development of Third World countries by offering loans and grants to non-OPEC developing countries and to international development agencies.
The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia was established in 1997 by a EU Council regulation and took up office in Vienna in 1998. Following the Council Regulation Nr 168/2007, it was transformed into the European Fundamental Rights Agency (EFRA). Its current director, Morten Kjaerum, assumed his post on June 1, 2008. It has been mandated with providing the European Union and its Member States with objective and comparable information on racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic phenomena discernible at the European level. The Racism and Xenophobia European Network (RAXEN) was established to support the EFRA in the tasks generally related to the collection and provision of data.
A further step towards strengthening Vienna’s position as an official seat of international organisations was taken in 2002, when the liaison office of the Hague Code of Conduct against the Proliferation of Ballistic Missiles (HCOC) moved into its office on the premises of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
In December 2002 the European Space Agency (ESA) decided to establish the newly founded European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) in Vienna.
Due to an initiative of Federal Minister Spindelegger, a Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Non-proliferation was opened on February 25, 2011. In the same year, a liaison office of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) was also established in Vienna.
Established in 2006, the Energy Community Secretariat accounts for one the youngest international organization in Vienna. The Parties to the Treaty establishing the Energy Community are the European Union, on the one hand, and seven Contracting Parties, namely, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo. With an ultimate aim to extend the EU's internal energy market to the South East Europe, the Energy Community strives to create a stable and uniform regulatory market framework capable of attracting investment, to enhance security of supply, to improve the environmental situation and to stimulate competition.
Apart from international organisations, a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other institutions with sui generis status, such as the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the Vienna Institute for Development and Co-operation and the International Press Institute are also located in Vienna.