Austria and the United Nations

Since joining the United Nations Organisation (UN) on 14 December 1955 as its 70th member, Austria has established itself as an engaged UN Member State. Austria advocates a strong and efficient UN and actively participates in its work.

Besides peace and security and conflict prevention, Austria puts great emphasis on strengthening  human rights and the rule of law, the protection of civilians (in particular women and children) in armed conflict and the fight against impunity. Austria´s efforts were instrumental in increasing UN focus on these issues. Through its engagement, Austria has secured broad recognition and support for these topics within the UN Security Council.

The fight against drugs and organised crime, disarmament and non-proliferation, the environment and the further development of international law are also of particular interest to Austria. In the past, Austria repeatedly acted as a mediator and made a substantial contribution to the development of international law ("Vienna Conventions").

A further priority for Austria is the current UN reform process, where Austria, among other issues, is committed to improving the working methods of the UN Security Council.

During the UN General Assembly in the autumn of 2015, member states reached agreement on Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development and pledged to work together to combat the global and complex challenges of today such as poverty and climate change and to leave behind a better world for future generations.

Agenda 2030 forms the basis of Austrian development cooperation with partner countries

Austria will also contribute to the sustainable development of Austria and the world as a whole, with the aim of realising human dignity for all, a healthy planet, and just, resilient societies, and economic well-being.

View of the Vienna International Center
Picture: Österreich Werbung/PoppVienna International Center

The Vienna headquarters has become an important centre for addressing global security challenges and the issues of our times, such as nuclear safety or the fight against organised crime, as well as a venue for international meetings.

Through its active, fair, and principled engagement, Austria enjoys a high profile in the UN.  Such recognition takes many forms, including the triple election to the Security Council (1973/1974, 1991/1992 und 2009/2010), as well as the election to the UN Human Rights Council (2011-2014). Austria´s reputation has also helped secure the appointment of Austrian nationals to key posts within the UN as UN officials or independent experts. From 1972 to 1981, Kurt Waldheim acted as UN Secretary General. From 2012 to 2014, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal was the UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.