50 Years after Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations Signed, the City Still Plays Vital Role in International Relations
This year marks 50 years of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. It was signed at a conference on 14 April 1961 and is an important milestone in the history of international relations. The Convention forms the bedrock of diplomacy and has been ratified by nearly every country in the world.
The Vienna Convention outlines the rules of diplomatic relations to facilitate friendly relations between States and to enable States to develop economic, cultural and scientific relations. Among other things the Convention sets out the privileges of a diplomatic mission and provides the legal basis for diplomatic immunity.
A special event was organized earlier this month by the Foreign Policy and United Nations Association of Austria and the Diplomatic Academy in cooperation with the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) entitled "50th Anniversary of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations - The Past, the Present and the Future" with an eminent panel of experts including the Director-General of UNOV Yury Fedotov, the Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and Former Austrian Foreign Minister Hans Winkler and the Head of Department of Public International Law at the Austrian Foreign Ministry Gregor Schusterschitz. The panel discussion was attended by diplomats, high-level Austrian officials and others who listened to an interesting debate about the role of the Convention and its future.
Austria, as well as holding the conference which led to the Vienna Convention, has been host to the United Nations in Vienna for more than thirty years. As one of the four headquarters of the UN, Vienna has become an important hub for promoting peace and development.
The United Nations system organizations and agencies based here play a key role in addressing issues of global importance. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) promotes health, security and justice around the world by tackling threats from illicit drugs, organized crime, corruption and terrorism. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) strives to reduce poverty in developing countries and economies in transition through sustainable industrial development.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) works to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and promotes the peaceful use of atomic energy for health, security and development. The Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) strengthens the Treaty's verification regime and promotes its universal ratification and implementation. The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) promotes world trade by working to harmonize the relevant national regulations. And the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) promotes international cooperation for the peaceful uses of space. This spring there is another important anniversary-50 years since the first human space flight.
The global challenges and threats which the Vienna-based organizations are confronting, rely on international cooperation and States working together in the spirit of the Vienna Convention to be tackled effectively.
At the Diplomatic Academy event Mr. Fedotov spoke about the importance of international cooperation in order to confront global challenges effectively: "Diplomacy is the lynchpin for all such efforts. Only by working together can we create a better world-a world in which people have opportunities and hopes for the future; in which communities are free of crime and violence; in which Governments can provide for the health and safety of their citizens and govern effectively. Let us work together-using diplomacy and all the other tools at our disposal-to build this world."