The United Nations in Vienna

Along with New York, Geneva and Nairobi, Vienna is one of the four headquarters of the United Nations. The Vienna International Centre (VIC), commonly known as "UNO City", was designed by Austrian architect Johann Staber. Opened on 23 August 1979, it has been rented to the United Nations for 99 years at a symbolic rate of 1 Austrian schilling (7 Euro cents) annually.

More than 4,000 employees from over a 110 countries work for the Vienna-based organizations. About a third of them are Austrians. Some 24 million Euros in annual operations costs are borne by the Organizations themselves. According to a study commissioned by the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs in 2009, the presence of international organizations in Vienna generates an economic benefit of more than 400 million Euros annually.

Numerous international conferences and meetings are organized by the United Nations in Vienna and held mainly at the Vienna International Centre.

Located at the Centre are the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom),the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).

Other United Nations organizations and entities with offices at the VIC are the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Information Service (UNIS), the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight (OIOS), the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA), the United Nations Register of Damage Caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (UNRoD) and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).

United Nations Office at Vienna

The United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) provides administrative support to VIC-based programmes in conference planning, language interpretation and building security. The Director-General of UNOV represents the Secretary-General in dealings with the host country and diplomatic missions in Vienna.

Fighting drugs and crime

Effective 1 November 1997, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was formally established in Vienna with the mandate to support Member States in the prevention of illicit drugs, crime and terrorism. From headquarters at the Vienna International Centre and through a network of field offices around the world, UNODC helps Member States to reduce their vulnerability to drugs and crime, and to promote security and justice for all.

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is an independent, quasi-judicial expert body established by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. The mandate of INCB is to promote Government compliance with the provisions of the international drug control conventions.

Industrial development

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the specialized agency helping developing countries and transition economies alleviate poverty by enhancing the productive capacities of their small and medium-sized industries. UNIDO does this through integrated programmes (IPs) that work at the policy, institutional and enterprise levels. The UNIDO IP is designed to build a competitive economy, create productive employment and ensure a sound environment.

Nuclear cooperation / verification

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the first United Nations organization in Vienna (since 1957), serves as the world's central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the nuclear field. It is also the international inspectorate for the application of nuclear safeguards and verification measures covering civilian nuclear programmes.

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom) carries out the preparations for the implementation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans all nuclear weapons test explosions. To monitor compliance with the CTBT, the Commission uses seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound and radionuclide technologies. The Commission's main task is the establishment of the worldwide International Monitoring System (IMS) of 337 facilities, and the International Data Centre (IDC) in the Vienna International Centre.

United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1955. UNSCEAR’s mandate is to assess and report levels and effects of exposure to ionizing radiation.

Outer space

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) implements the decisions of the General Assembly, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees: the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. These intergovernmental fora promote international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space for social and economic development, particularly for the benefit of developing countries.

Public information

The United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna is part of a 63-strong network of United Nations Information Centres spanning the globe, from Accra to Yaoundé, which are part of the Department of Public Information (DPI). They share a common goal: to help fulfill the substantive purposes of the United Nations by communicating the activities and concerns of the Organization to the public. UNIS Vienna plays a dual role: it serves as the local voice of the UN in four client countries (Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia) and provides public information support and promotional services to the substantive programmes of the United Nations based in Vienna. UNIS Vienna also runs the Visitors Service, which provides access to the Vienna International Centre for the general public with 50,000 visitors annually.

Trade law

The International Trade Law Branch is the secretariat for a United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) which promotes world trade by working to harmonize the relevant national regulations.

Refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees opened its representation in Vienna in 1951, the founding year of the United Nations refugee agency. UNHCR monitors the implementation of the relevant asylum laws in Austria according to the Geneva Refugee Convention and makes suggestions on refugee related questions to the authorities. It also works with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dealing with refugees and asylum seekers.

Environment protection

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the voice for the environment in the United Nations system and headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. The UNEP office in Vienna liaises with international organizations based in the region, provides the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention on an interim basis, hosts UNEP's Balkan Programme including the coordination of the Environment and Security Initiative in South Eastern Europe and provides the mountain reference centre of UNEP.

The the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) was founded to implement the International Danube Convention. Its mandate is to promote and coordinate sustainable and equitable water management, including conservation, improvement and rational use of waters for the benefit of the Danube River Basin countries and their people.

Postal administration

On 24 August 1979, one day after the opening of the Vienna International Centre, the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) issued its first UN stamps in Austrian currency. United Nations stamps are now issued simultaneously at UN offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna. Each issue carries a related design theme, with different denominations for each office. Human rights, the environment, endangered species and peace - to name just a few - are all subjects of universal concern to the peoples of the world and are visualized on the stamps of (UNPA).

Register of Damage

The United Nations Register of Damage Caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (UNRoD) was established by United Nations General Assembly in 2007 following an Advisory Opinion given by the International Court of Justice in 2004 on the legal consequences of the construction of the Wall in the West Bank. UNRoD's mandate is to serve as a record, in documentary form, of the damage caused to all natural and legal persons concerned as a result of the construction of the Wall by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem.