Vienna, 11 January 2013 Press release

Civil society for a secure world without weapons of mass destruction

Vienna, 11 January 2013 - "I have no doubt whatsoever that civil society is enabling the world to closer approach the objective of abolishing weapons of mass destruction through the positive influence it exerts", Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said referring to the message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the First Civil Society Forum to support the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540. This Forum was held in Vienna at the invitation of Austria between 8 and 10 January 2013 and brought together some 50 non-governmental organisations from virtually all regions of the world. The UN headquarters location Vienna was also made good use of here for discussions with the international organisations based in the city. The UN Secretary General offered his explicit thanks to Austria for this initiative.

"Austrian support for worldwide implementation of UN Resolution 1540 is a part of our efforts to achieve as many of the necessary requirements to approach the goal of a world free from weapons of mass destruction as possible and as quickly as possible. Civil society involvement is essential here in order to put people and their direct needs for peace and opportunities for personal development at the focus of our security thinking", Foreign Minister Spindelegger said explaining Austrian disarmament policy.

"Our long-standing efforts to involve non-governmental organisations in the solution of global problems are also bearing fruit now in the area of disarmament. The Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP), which I established two years ago, has strengthened the role of Vienna as an international centre for the civil society in disarmament issues through its participation in the "1540 Civil Society Forum" organisation. Simultaneously it is also thanks to the new Vienna branch of the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), which was also initiated by Austria, that the conference could be organised perfectly in the Vienna International Centre (UNO-City)", Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger said, pointing to the fruits of the long-term and intensive work of Austrian UN diplomacy.

Background information for the media:
Resolution 1540 (2004) of the UN Security Council was adopted in response to the threat to peace and security resulting from the illegal activities of non-state actors in regard to weapons of mass destruction and their carrier systems. This Security Council resolution is binding for all states of the world, although not all of the states have the necessary prerequisites for the implementation of these obligations. International support, also with the involvement of civil society, will be required for this.

Information is available in English on the conference website.


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