Vienna, 12 May 2005 Press release

Plassnik: "Enabling the poorest countries to participate in the work of the UN and strengthening Vienna's position as a UN headquarters"


Joint initiative by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the UN Office at Vienna

Vienna, 12 May 2005 – In the coming months the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs is launching a new joint initiative with the United Nations Office at Vienna aimed at further strengthening Vienna's position as a seat of international organisations.

Developing countries with no permanent representation in Vienna will have offices placed at their disposal for the duration of major conferences. This will facilitate the participation of these countries in important congresses of the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

Minister for Foreign Affairs Ursula Plassnik: "Director-General Costa and I have launched this joint initiative with the intention of ensuring that the important matters addressed by the international community of states in Vienna are discussed on as broad a basis as possible. Over the years, the UN headquarters in Vienna has developed into a veritable "security centre" in the work of the United Nations: nuclear safety, disarmament, and combating drugs and crime are at the centre of the activities of the Vienna-based UN agencies. The UN sub-organisations in Vienna deal with topical issues that directly affect the day-to-day security of the citizens."

Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, Antonio Maria Costa, on the launch of the project: "This initiative represents a practical contribution to ensuring the broadest possible participation by the UN member states in the important work carried out at the Vienna International Centre. The matters discussed in Vienna affect all countries. Every vote counts when these issues are deliberated here."

The Vienna-based international organisations currently employ a total of approx. 5,000 international staff. The aim of Austria's policy as a UN headquarters is to work together with the organisations headquartered in the federal capital to ensure that the significance of the issues regularly discussed in Vienna is constantly highlighted on the global stage.

Foreign Minister Plassnik concluded: "This is also a foreign policy contribution to raising Austria's profile in the world at large."