H. E. Ms. Ursula Plassnik, Federal Minister for European and International Affairs
26 September 2008
© UN Photo
Click for caption and to enlarge
URSULA PLASSNIK, Federal Minister of Austria, told the Assembly that at the heart of the United Nations work and the work of all Member States here and at home, was the commitment to build a better future for the coming generation. She spoke of the bleak challenges facing the global community, among them, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, climate change and poverty. Shared responsibility and partnership based on equality were essential components to actualizing the rights of the global community. That would be accomplished through the equitable application of the rule of law within an intergovermental world body. She, therefore, affirmed Austria’s commitment to the United Nations and the international legal system.
As women were “politically and socially the most relevant emerging power of the twenty-first century”, their contributions must be valued, and participation in leadership encouraged. However, discrimination and violence still challenged the ideals of human rights for women, especially when, throughout the world, one out of every three women was a victim of assault. She was pleased that the Women Leaders Network’s call to the Secretary-General for women to assume leadership positions in the United Nations had been answered, particularly in mediation and peacebuilding. She proposed a thorough review of the results of the Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security on its tenth anniversary.
She also noted Austria’s involvement in establishing an international legally binding ban on cluster bombs, adopted in Dublin as the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and called for Member States to join Austria in its commitment to sign the Convention in Oslo in December 2008. Austria had also participated in the Joint Africa-European Union Strategy, a new partnership developed and adopted at the Lisbon summit in December 2007, focusing on peace, security and development. Along with Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), Austria organized a Conference on Peace and Security in West Africa in Ouagadougou and a Seminar on Peace and Development in Southern Africa in Johannesburg.
Citing the need for urgent action towards a global climate agreement by the end of 2009, she proposed to develop the United Nations Environment Programme into a fully fledged world environment organization. Further, she supported the creation of a new international renewable energy agency, and believed Vienna was a suitable location to host such an agency, as many of its United Nations offices already dealt with energy questions. Observing the uneven progress among Member States toward the Millennium Development Goals, she called for an increased effort by the international community in achieving this global accomplishment, stating that “the active contribution towards this global effort is a priority for the Austrian Government”.