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Italy and the International Organizations in Vienna


Italy and the International Organizations in Vienna

The Italian foreign policy acknowledges the crucial role of multilateralism in facing the global challenges of international relations and recognizes the United Nations as the most authoritative institution of international political legitimacy. The United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) represents a privileged multilateral forum to address global challenges, considered also in their dimension of non-traditional threats to international peace and security. It is, in several respects, a context of natural elaboration and diffusion of a comprehensive approach to global challenges in at least three main macro-areas, which are also the main fields of activity of this Permanent Mission.

Firstly, the macro-area of nuclear non-proliferation is a responsibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a United Nations specialized agency whose aim is to promote peaceful uses of atomic energy as well as to fight the proliferation of nuclear weapons, on the basis of the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. In this context, Iranian and North Korean nuclear-related issues receive priority attention by the Agency. The IAEA also promotes safety and security standards for nuclear power plants and other facilities dealing with the management and processing of radioactive materials. Finally, through the Technical Cooperation Programme, the IAEA provides support for the development of projects in a variety of fields: medicine (radiological diagnosis and treatments), hydrogeology (water monitoring through isotope measurement), agriculture and zootechnics (sterilization techniques for pathogens causing plantation and livestock epidemics), industry (non-invasive product quality tests).

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) also operates in the field of nuclear non-proliferation -although at present only through a Preparatory Commission since the respective Treaty has not yet entered into force – performing global-scale monitoring activities to ensure compliance with the ban on nuclear tests.

Vienna is also seat of the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies.

The second area of activities carried out at the Vienna-based United Nations Office is that of international cooperation in the fight against transnational criminal phenomena, i.e. organized crime, terrorism, drugs, arms and human trafficking, corruption and international money laundering, piracy and environmental crimes. The office dealing with these issues is the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), whose range of activities covers sectors that are crucial to international security. Italy plays a leading role in this field: the “UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime” was opened to signature at a High-level Political Conference convened for that purpose in Palermo. The Palermo Convention, entered into force in 2003, has marked a significant progress towards a more efficient international collaboration in counteracting organized crime.

Besides these two essentially security-related dimensions, a third dimension covers the fields of development cooperation and, broadly speaking, of the so-called “economic diplomacy”. This is, in particular, the role of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The initiatives and programmes of UNIDO, which have recently embraced the sectors of energy and of the
so-called “green industry”, have been an effective means for the promotion of the economic and employment growth in areas of strategic interest for Italy, such as the Middle East and the Southern Mediterranean, and have created several opportunities for Italian enterprises. At the same time the activities carried out by UNIDO have proved to be one of the most effective complementary instruments within a comprehensive approach to security challenges. Between 2006 and 2015, Italy has been the main donor of UNIDO in terms of voluntary contributions allocated to finance projects of technical cooperation in the manufacturing sector in several developing countries.

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) are equally important due to the immediate economic and technological impact of their activities. In particular, the latter offers every year a privileged opportunity to take stock of the state of international cooperation in the fields of scientific research applied to space technologies and of the progress made in the legal framework for human activities related to the peaceful use of outer space. The return in financial terms as well as in terms of technical spill-overs in the aerospace sector is already very high and
set to further increase over the next decades, to the advantage of space faring countries.

On the whole, the fields of activity of this Permanent Mission within the United Nations Office at Vienna are at the forefront of multilateral cooperation, grounded on technological progress and, for this very reason, at the center of global governance.

For any additional information about the international and intergovernmental organizations in Vienna, please visit the dedicated web page at the following link.