12 May 2005

Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and United Nations Office at Vienna Launch Joint Initiative

Developing Countries to be Provided Office Space at UN

VIENNA, 12 May (UN Information Service) -- The Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs has launched a new initiative in cooperation with the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), which will provide office space to countries that do not have a permanent mission in Vienna, during large conferences. This would include Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). At the same time, the initiative will further strengthen Vienna’s role as host of a UN headquarters.

This arrangement is aimed at facilitating those countries’ participation in important sessions of the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom).

Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said : “UNOV Director-General Antonio Maria Costa and I have taken this joint initiative deliberately so that important issues on the agenda of the international community in Vienna can be discussed as widely as possible. The United Nations headquarters in Vienna has developed  over the years into a real ‘centre of security’ within the wide scope of work at the UN: nuclear security, disarmament, and the fight against illicit drugs and transnational crime are at the heart of UN activity in Vienna. Vienna-based organizations work on topical questions that directly affect the daily security of citizens.”

“This initiative offers a practical contribution to support the widest possible participation of Member States in the important work done at the Vienna International Centre. Drugs, crime, terrorism, nuclear safety and non-proliferation as well as industrial development affect all countries, and every voice counts when these issues are being tackled here“, said Mr. Costa,  Director-General, UNOV, adding that he hoped that delegations would make use of this opportunity.

Vienna-based international organizations currently employ about 5,000 staff members. The aim of the Austrian policy, in cooperation with the international organizations based in the Federal capital, is to continuously emphasize the importance of the major issues being regularly discussed in Vienna.

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