Austria and the United Nations
Since joining the United Nations Organization (UN) on 14 December 1955 as its 70th member, Austria has established itself as an engaged UN Member State. Austria advocates a strong and efficient UN and actively participates in its tasks.
Besides peace and security as well as conflict prevention, Austria puts great emphasis on the strengthening of human rights and the rule of law, protection of civilians (in particular women and children) in armed conflict and the fight against impunity. Austria successfully set course in these areas. Thanks to its engagement it managed to build broad recognition and support for these topics within the UN Security Council.
Austria’s priorities further include the fight against drugs and organized crime, disarmament and non-proliferation, the environment and the further development of international law. In the past, Austria repeatedly acted as a mediator and substantially contributed to the development of international law ("Vienna Conventions").
Moreover, Austria focuses on the ongoing UN reform process and consequently advocates improved working methods of the UN Security Council.
The post-2015 agenda, youth and energy are Austria's priorities within the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Austria presides over the ECOSOC until 2015.
Vienna headquarters has become an important centre for addressing global security issues such as nuclear safety or the fight against organized crime. It is further a place for interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
Based on its active, bridge-building and principled engagement within the UN Austria has gained great recognition. Such recognition takes many forms, one of them is the triple election to the Security Council (1973/1974, 1991/1992 und 2009/2010). Another form of recognition is the appointment of Austrian nationals to important UN posts, either as UN officials or as independent experts. From 1972 to 1981, Kurt Waldheim acted as UN Secretary General. From 2012 to 2014, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal was the UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.