Networking for Peace: 
Peacekeepers from Central Europe Met at United Nations in Vienna

Peacekeepers from Central Europe met at United Nations headquarters in Vienna on 31 March at the second regional forum Networking for Peace

VIENNA, 27 March (UN Information Service) - Active and former peacekeepers from Central Europe and Denmark, civil society representatives and government officials met at United Nations headquarters in Vienna on 31 March at the second regional forum Networking for Peace, hosted by the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, in cooperation with the Association of Austrian Peacekeepers and the City of Vienna. The forum brought together participants from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, diplomats from the respective Permanent Missions, media, members of civil society, a large contingent from the Austrian Ministry of Defence as well as the Austrian Defence Academy.

The one-day event, which was a follow-up to the first Networking for Peace forum held in Vienna on 12 November 2007, aimed to review progress made in the establishment of peacekeepers' associations in the participating countries, to function inter alia as liaison partners between active and veteran peacekeepers, civil society, the UN, and national government bodies, as advocates for peacekeeping.

Nasra Hassan, Director UNIS, and General Günther Greindl (Retd.), President, Association of Austrian Peacekeepers opened the meeting,  followed by a keynote address delivered by Brigadier-General Andreas Safranmueller, Chairman of the Austrian Presidency of the Standby High Readiness (SHIRBRIG) 2008.  Brigadier-General Andreas Safranmueller highlighted the essential role SHIRBRIG is playing in providing a rapid deployment capacity while incorporating UN requirements. The lunchtime keynote speech was delivered by H.E. Ambassador (Retd.) Liviu Bota of Romania, who served in senior peacekeeping positions in the United Nations.

Participants shared information on their country's peacekeeping work as well as views concerning veteran activities. Discussions focused on the progress and challenges in the establishment of peacekeepers' associations. The participants of all countries expressed their commitment to further accomplish and undertake activities to establish peacekeepers' associations in their countries where such associations do not yet exist, to enhance regional cooperation between the national associations and to integrate into a regional network of peacekeepers' associations.

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