Magazine article UN Chronicle

The Vienna International Centre

Magazine article UN Chronicle

The Vienna International Centre

Article excerpt

Located on the north side of the Danube in the Austrian capital, the Vienna International Centre opened just over 20 years ago, on 23 August 1979. Vienna was, and is, a natural home for a United Nations headquarters. Located at the heart of Europe, yet further east than either Prague or Berlin. the city has for centuries been a meeting place for a diverse number of peoples. After the Second World War, Austria was administered by the Allied Forces and divided into four sectors: Russian, British, American and French. So up until Austria achieved full independence and declared itself neutral on 26 October 1955, the country was run by four of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Vienna after the Second World War is thrillingly captured in Orson Welles' classic 1949 movie "The Third Man".

Today, it is home not only to the United Nations, but several other international organizations such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Amnesty International and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The United Nations has become an integral part of this most international of cities.

The Vienna International Centre houses several United Nations organizations and specialized agencies.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), now headquartered at the Centre, was founded in 1957 as a specialized agency within the United Nations system. To verify that national pledges to use nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes are kept, over 200 experts from IAEA constantly conduct on-site inspections at nearly 1,000 nuclear installations around the world. IAEA thus contributes to international peace and security, and reinforces efforts to halt the spread of weaponry and move towards a world free of nuclear arms.

The Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), which consists of the International Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention, was established to enable the United Nations to focus and enhance its capacity to address the interrelated issues of drug control, crime prevention and international terrorism in all its forms. The ODCCP also has a Terrorism Prevention Branch and houses the International Narcotics Control Board.

Also located at the Vienna International Centre is the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the United Nations specialized agency which helps developing countries and transition economies to pursue sustainable development. …

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