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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AUSTRIA

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POVERTY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The General Social Security Act from 1955 and the Family Burden Equalization Act from 1984 are the most important acts under this chapter and have been reviewed after UNCED. The Social Welfare Acts of the Laender have not been reviewed.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

Austria recognizes that it is one of the world's richest countries and, remembering the misery brought about by past world wars, it accepts its responsibility in regard to hunger and poverty. However, anxiety is also growing about increasing impoverishment at the domestic level, especially affecting socially underprivileged groups. Some social security benefits require certain minimum periods of employment under the social insurance scheme, which is difficult to obtain for some groups of persons, e.g. mothers with many children, women in agriculture and handicapped persons. The poverty level in 1994 was 15.5% of the total population, of which 72% were women (indicator: recommended rate for equalization benefits).

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

The Federal Ministry of Environment, Youth and Family provides financial assistance to families and pregnant women affected by special hardship.

Cooperation  

Austria's overseas development policies are designed to promote viable economic growth that reduces poverty in a direct way, meets the basic needs of growing populations, provides a basis for viable economies and enables the recipient countries to participate in and benefit from the world economy. Austria's development cooperation activities focus, above all, on the poorest developing countries as a whole and on the poorest regions and population groups in other developing countries. It promotes the development of poor majorities, paying particular attention to the fair sharing of resources and means of production by such measures as land and agricultural reforms and the elimination of discriminatory practices. Education and training also play a particularly important role in developing countries. Programme and project proposals are scrutinized in terms of their effects on and importance for women.

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This information is based on Austria's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The following ministries and bodies are engaged in integrated demographic policy development: the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Family and Youth, the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Health and Consumer Protection. The Institute for Family Research provides empirical data for family policy decision-making.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There is no formal national population policy in Austria. Family policy and social policy measures support families materially and institutionally.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

Major Groups have participated in the national debate about population and environment and in the discussions about family policy issues. The Government has supported seminars at the community level organized by NGOs. An NGO delegate has been financed for ICPD in the field of family planning.  A national debate on linkages between population and environment was initiated during the preparations for the ICPD. The Austrian National Committee for the Preparation and Implementation of the International Year of the Family (IYF) set up two working groups which were the broadest forum for discussing family policy issues, including all major groups, federal and regional authorities, as well as representatives of cities and local communities, interest groups, research organizations and NGOs. The findings of these workshops were put together into a common family policy programme in 1994. This programme is designed to chart the course of the Austrian family policy into the next century.

Among the questions discussed in the working groups were the specific ecological and socio-economic problems associated with urban development, which are increasingly becoming detrimental to the quality of life of people and children, especially in the modern industrialized countries. For example, little is known about the time-frame in which the accumulated effects of urban pollution sustain negative impact on the physical, mental and social integrity and health of people. Another important aspect is the concept of adequate living space, which must correspond to the needs of humans and be designed in harmony with the natural environment.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

A public competition on "Ways towards Commonness" was undertaken to foster grass-roots participation in the IYF. A State Prize for Journalism for publications on family issues has been instituted and is designed to raise the level of awareness on the importance of family for society at large and its function in the process of sustainable development. An Austrian Institute for Family Research was established to provide empirical data for family policy decision-making.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

In 1993, Austria contributed some US$ 180,000 to maternal and child health projects and family planning projects of UNFPA and some US$ 730,000 for basic health stations in Nicaragua.

 

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This information is based on Austria's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997


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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Austrian Federal Institute for Public Health is responsible for creating guidelines for the introduction of integrated health-care and social districts (IHCSDs).

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

With regard to health and safety at work, the protection of employees is within the domain of federal, and to some extent, provincial legislators. Preliminary work aimed at incorporating basic social rights in the Austrian Constitution, such as the right to safe and healthy working conditions, has been going on for years. Currently, the representative bodies of employees and employers have the right to be heard before the adoption of laws and regulations relevant to their health in the work place.
The IHCSD Model and IHCSD Manual were finalized in 1993. The provinces translate the recommendations of the guidelines into specific objectives and create the organizational framework for their operation.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

Local authorities (provinces) play a key role in the IHCSD operation, thus providing for the necessary adjustments to regional requirements, particularly in rural areas.

Programmes and Projects   

As a part of WHO's Healthy Cities Project, the Austrian Healthy Cities Network was established in 1992, and a coordination office for this network was set up in Vienna in 1993. The project is intended to create healthier living conditions in Austrian towns, develop new approaches to health promotion and exchange information at all levels.

Status   

Health care in Austria is a very high national priority. Creation of IHCSDs helps to relieve the burden of hospitals, reduce costs and serve humanitarian objectives by allowing people to remain in their familiar environment as long as possible.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

On behalf of the Austrian Ministry of Health, the Austrian Federal Institute for Public health organizes information meetings in the provinces.  Among measures taken in the field of communicable diseases, strategies and concepts aimed at the prevention of AIDS have received particular attention since 1987. These measures include, for example, information campaigns and production of teaching material for schools.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

recognizing the interdependence of health, socio-economic conditions and the environment is one of the guiding principles of Austria's overseas development cooperation. Austria supports local health-care and planning activities through cooperation with decentralized institutions and partners particularly in the field of primary health-care. Traditional knowledge and experience in modern health-care systems have been integrated and support is given to autonomous health-care centers of indigenous groups. Special emphasis is laid on on-site health-related measures, above all through advice and counseling, installation of drinking-water systems, and efforts to reduce the use of pesticides.

 

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This information is based on Austria's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

To access the Health for All On-Line Database (WHO): Europe and CIS countries, click here:
Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Federal Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs is primarily responsible for education, public awareness and training. The Working Group on Environmental Education of the Austrian Society for Nature Preservation and Environmental Protection is an advisory body to the Ministry. Members of the working group are teachers, scientists, representatives of NGOs, administration officers and forestry experts.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

Major groups have participated in the publishing of educational material, in campaigns and competitions, such as Ecology in Every-day School Life and The Environment and Its History as well as in advanced training seminars for teachers and youth counselors. They also participated in the distribution of Guidelines for the Protection of Climate at the Local Level. The government has launched climate and ozone campaigns together with the NGOs. NGOs have also participated in the setting up of counseling and consultation centers for environmental, waste and energy issues and in the founding of do-it-yourself groups for solar plant construction.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

In Austria, girls have, in principle, the same enrolment opportunities as boys for all schools and training facilities. The government has adopted a basic decision to this end (Education aimed at the Equality of Men and Women). Other supportive measures include the Girls and Technology programme with adequate vocational guidance and the Equal Treatment Act.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Periodic reports on environmental issues have been published in all mass media. Counseling and consultation centers for environmental, waste and energy issues have been established and do-it-yourself groups for solar plant construction have been founded.  The Austrian Information Service for Development Policy has initiated a campaign on Sustainable Development Policy, and offers a training course on development policy (including environmental issues) to teachers and trainers.

Printed material and audiovisual tools for environmental education are often used at all school levels. During the past ten years, considerable efforts have been made to include environmental projects in the curricula. In 1992, an Environmental Education Fund was established. Advanced training seminars for teachers have been introduced. Topics, such as environmental health, safe drinking water, sanitation, food, ecosystems, recycling and energy saving, are fully dealt with at all educational levels. In cooperation with the Austrian UNICEF Committee, a package of materials on environment and development has been published and distributed to all medium and higher-level schools.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

he Government participates in the OECD/CERI project called Environment and School Initiatives, in the GLOBE project and in the WHO Healthy Schools project.

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This information is based on Austria's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997


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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available 

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The main federal legislation regulating human settlement development include the Mining Law, the Trade Law, the Road Law, the Forestry Law and the Water Resources Law. In the Province of Lower Austria, there are several provincial laws in addition to federal laws to regulate land use and construction, e.g. Lower Austrian Building Regulations and Physical Planning Act. A great effort is also being made in Austria to strengthen regional identities and to preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity of the country and its population.  

There are three main instruments in Austria to control human settlements, namely, state aid for housing construction, a targeted policy of village renewal, and physical planning. State aid for housing construction is used to prevent excessive migration into urban agglomerations, to create a rural infrastructure equivalent to that of urban areas, and to facilitate the construction of housing for people from all social classes.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The targeted policy of village renewal is used to prevent the exodus of population from village centers and the sprawl of new settlement areas over large peripheral regions. By making village centers more attractive for residential purposes, village renewal also serves to enliven village communities and strengthen social ties within them. Physical planning is the instrument to be used to contain land use for construction purposes and to preserve landscape in its natural state.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

In accordance with the principle of federalism, local authorities are responsible for the implementation of key measures in the field of environmental protection. Local authorities also work together, in the field of waste management, water-supply and waste-water processing associations. Numerous local authorities in the Province of Burgenland cooperate with the local authorities of Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia to build and operate such facilities. In their operations, local authorities are encouraged to use their own resources, e.g. thermal and curative springs and district-heating networks operating on renewable sources of energy.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing

No information is available 

Cooperation  

Austria also participated actively in Habitat II and its preparations.

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This information is based on Austria's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For information related to human settlements and refugees, you may access the UNHCR Country Index by clicking here:

Click here to access "BEST PRACTICES FOR HUMAN SETTLEMENTS"


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