Vienna, 18 October 2004 - At the ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the Vienna International Center (VIC) in Vienna, Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner expressed her great esteem for the UN organisations and entities based in Vienna: "Supporting the UN organisations located in the VIC and their very important work has been a major concern of mine and has always been a priority in the best Austrian tradition during my term in office".
According to Ferrero-Waldner, the VIC has developed over the past 25 years to become one of the worldwide-recognised headquarters of the United Nations. "I think I may rightly say that the activities of the Vienna-based UN organisations attract attention on a worldwide scale, as their scope of functions encompasses the essential goals of the United Nations. Be it IAEO or the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), to which Austria is the biggest contributor, or UNIDO, which concentrates on the extremely important field of development aid by taking measures to promote the economy. These four UN organisations pursue one common goal: to guarantee human security, i.e. to establish framework conditions that enable people to live free from fear and want."
The Minister for Foreign Affairs explained why Austria as host country of the United Nations takes such a keen interest in the work of the Viennese UN organisations: "Austria not only supports their agendas and mandates but also attaches particular importance to ensuring their smooth operations at the Austrian headquarters. By doing so we can successfully uphold the importance of the VIC organisations as a place where trendsetting global developments are discussed and driven forward." In this context, Ferrero-Waldner thanked the City of Vienna and in particular Mayor Michael Häupl for the "excellent cooperation which has proven indispensable, particularly in the field of security."
During the ceremony, Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner and the Directors-General of the four VIC-based international organisations (IAEO, UNIDO, UNOV, CTBTO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, in which they agreed to erect a new conference hall with a capacity of up to 1200 persons on the VIC premises. "This project is a symbol of the dynamic and forward-looking headquarters policy which was a special concern of mine during my whole period in office," said Ferrero-Waldner. The new conference centre, which is due to open in 2007, is to be available to all four organisations and further strengthen the function of the VIC as a major internationally recognised conference venue. A design by the Viennese architect Dipl. Ing. Albert Wimmer was chosen as the winning project in an international architectural competition, in which 68 firms of architects participated. (For further information please refer to the following website: www.conference-c2.com).