Vienna, 3 December 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "Realistic and tangible perspectives for people in developing countries"


Foreign Minister at the opening of the 12th Session of the UNIDO General Conference in Vienna

Vienna, 3 December 2007 - "Human security in the widest sense comprises not only politics but also business, energy supply and the environment," stated Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik in her opening address at the 12th UNIDO General Conference, which is being held in Vienna from 3 - 12 December. "Being at the interface between business, technology and the environment, the UN Industrial and Development Organization stands for what is vital in today’s world: networked thinking and interdisciplinary work," said Plassnik.

Plassnik went on: "We bear joint responsibility for this one world, for this 'global village'. Let us therefore engage in politics of a level suitable for the third millennium and let us offer realistic and tangible perspectives to the people in the developing world. UNIDO is at the very interface between business, technology and the environment. It is thus in the front line with regard to the key issue of the future, namely climate change."

"What we need now are clear strategies and partnerships. UNIDO has amassed a wealth of experience in such fields as trade aid, energy and environmental issues, but also in combating youth unemployment, and it is a valued partner of recipient and donor countries. Austria can contribute much expertise, particularly in areas such as environmental management and renewable energy. In this area we are cooperating closely with UNIDO’s Cleaner Productions Program in several African states as well as in the Caribbean and Pacific regions," continued Plassnik.

"We are participating pro-actively in specific programmes on renewable energy, environmentally friendly industrial production and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. For instance, in the Brazilian state of Vera Cruz water consumption by a sugar producer was drastically reduced by offering him appropriate advice: the waste water from fruit juice production is now used for cleaning purposes in sugar production. In Nicaragua, on the other hand, Austrian expertise helped in developing an environmentally friendly production process for dry fruit using solar energy," said Plassnik.

The Foreign Minister said her clear objective was to further promote international cooperation to improve energy efficiency. "Next year we shall organise two or three regional consultations with small island states and partners in the African region which will be tasked with elaborating specific proposals for action. Two weeks ago, in the lead-up to the EU-Africa Summit, I agreed with my West African colleagues on the establishment of a competence centre for renewable energy and energy efficiency by Austria in cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States," concluded Plassnik.

Federal Ministry for
European and international Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213