Press Releases

    For information only - not an official document

    UNIS/SGSM/453
    29 August 2013

    As prepared for delivery

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

    Remarks upon Grand Decoration of Honour for Services to the Province of Vienna

    Vienna, 29 August 2013

    VIENNA, 29 August (UN Information Service) - It is a pleasure to be back in Vienna.

    And it is a privilege to receive this decoration. I know that, through me, you are honouring the work of dedicated United Nations staff around the world. Thank you for this recognition.

    The UN spirit is on display every day.

    In Syria earlier this week, our personnel braved sniper fire to begin their investigation of the alleged use of chemical weapons. And since the outbreak of the conflict, our aid workers have been doing their best to provide food, medicine and shelter to millions of refugees and displaced persons.

    In so many other places, the United Nations is feeding millions of hungry people, vaccinating children, helping with elections and using diplomacy to prevent conflict.

    Much of that vital work is supported by our headquarters presence here in Vienna.

    Austria continues to be a very strong supporter of the United Nations.

    The UN family at the Vienna Centre helps the world to address a range of complex, life-and-death issues, from terrorism and drug trafficking to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

    Austria is also a constructive member of the Human Rights Council. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the landmark UN Conference on Human Rights here in Vienna. The Vienna Declaration continues to be a source of guidance and inspiration in this work.

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    These are challenging times for the international community. In addition to the immediate crisis in Syria, we are looking to build the long-term foundations of peace and prosperity for all. We are focused in particular on accelerating our work for the Millennium Development Goals, reaching a comprehensive agreement on climate change and defining a new development agenda that will build on the MDGs.

    All of this is meant to happen by the end of 2015. 2015 will be a big year and a historic opportunity for the human family. I will continue to count on Austria for leadership and financial support.

    Thank you again for today's vote of confidence in the United Nations.

    * *** *