13 April 2006

United Nations and League of Arab States Discuss Cooperation in Vienna

VIENNA, 13 April (UN Information Service) -- The advancement of cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States was the topic of the General Meeting between the United Nations system and the specialized agencies of the League of Arab States, which ended today in Vienna, Austria.

In his message to the meeting, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan emphasized the importance of close ties between the United Nations and regional organizations, as stated in the United Nations Charter:  "While the United Nations provides a framework for thinking globally, regional organizations offer the means to act locally," said the Secretary-General. "Geographic proximity, as well as close historic and cultural ties among their members, give regional organizations such as the Arab League a distinct advantage in understanding the root causes of regional conflicts, and in finding peaceful solutions to these problems".

The areas of discussion included cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as economic and social issues. Participants paid special attention to the need to identify concrete areas of cooperation and implementation of specific projects.

On the topic of conflict prevention, the League of Arab States expressed interest in benefiting from United Nations expertise in preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution, and to participate in seminars and conferences organized by the United Nations on these issues. The meeting called for the strengthening of cooperation between the two organizations in fighting terrorism, and underlined the necessity of building a culture of dialogue between, and alliance of, civilizations in order to maintain international peace and security. During the consideration of issues related to international peace and security, the meeting discussed concrete ways in which to implement Security Council Resolution 1325 on women and peace and security.

On the issues of environment and sustainable development, the meeting recommended continued cooperation in the implementation of the Arab Initiative for Sustainable Development and the provision of technical and financial support to countries in the region in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Special note was made of the "Arab MDG Declaration", adopted at the 59th session of the United Nations General Assembly, building on which the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was establishing partnerships with the League of Arab States and other organizations in the implementation of the Regional Arab MDG Programme. The participants also discussed ongoing cooperation between the League of Arab States and the United Nations in implementing a plan of action for an Arab project on empowerment of youth.

The meeting was opened by the Director-General, United Nations Office at Vienna and Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, and the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the League of Arab States, Ambassador Ahmed Ben Helli. The Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Mervat Tallawy, was also on the podium.

Participants from the United Nations system included representatives of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHRHC), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Department of Public Information (DPI) and the Department of Political Affairs (DPA).

Participants from the League of Arab States (LAS) included representatives of the LAS Secretariat, the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD), the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO), the Arab Labour Organization, the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD), the Arab Academy for Banking & Financial Sciences (AABFS), the Arab Atomic Energy Agency (AAEA), the Union of Arab Banks (UAB) and the Arab Women Organization (AWO).

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For information contact :

Sonja Wintersberger
Associate Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
Telephone : +43 1 260 60 3430
E-mail : sonja.wintersberger@unvienna.org