The Vienna International Centre (VIC), colloquially also known as UNO City in Vienna, is the campus and building complex hosting United Nations organizations in Vienna, Austria.
The VIC , designed by Austrian architect Johann Staber, was built between 1973 and 1979 just north of the river Danube. Initial idea of setting up international organization in Vienna came from prime minster Dr. Bruno Kreisky.
Six Y-shaped office towers surround a cylindrical conference building for a total floor area of 230,000 square metres. The highest tower stands 120 metres tall, enclosing 28 floors.
About 5,000 people work at the VIC, which also offers catering, banking, postal and shopping facilities. Larger conferences can be accommodated in the neighbouring Austria Center Vienna, a conference and exhibition centre with a capacity of 6000.
The VIC is an extraterritorial area.
Complementing the ongoing Asbestos removal works in the VIC, a new conference building, to be opened in 2008, is being constructed near the southern perimeter of the campus.
United Nations Office at Vienna
The United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), established on 1 January 1980, serves as the representative office of the Secretary-General in Vienna and performs representation and liaison functions with permanent missions, the host Government as well as Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in Vienna.
UNOV manages and implements the programme on the peaceful use of outer space and provides common services, such as conference services, information services, security & safety services and general support services, for the other organizations of the United Nations system located at the Vienna International Centre (VIC).
UNOV is closely associated with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) through which additional common services are provided, namely information technology and communications services, human resources management services and financial resources management services.
A major UN site along with New York, Geneva and Nairobi, the VIC hosts several organizations:
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), including Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA)
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
Two other notable international organizations headquartered in Vienna, OSCE and OPEC, occupy facilities outside the VIC.
The United Nations was founded as a successor to the League of Nations, which was widely considered to have been ineffective in its role as an international governing body, in that it had been unable to prevent World War II. Some argue that the UN's major advantage over the League of Nations is its ability to maintain and deploy its member nations' armed forces as peace keepers. Others see such "peace keeping" as a euphemism for war and domination of weak and poor countries by the wealthy and powerful nations of the world.
The term "United Nations" (which appears in stanza 35 of Canto III of Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage) was decided by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill during World War II, to refer to the Allies. Its first formal use was in the 1 January 1942 Declaration by the United Nations, which committed the Allies to the principles of the Atlantic Charter and pledged them not to seek a separate peace with the Axis powers. Thereafter, the Allies used the term "United Nations Fighting Forces" to refer to their alliance.
The idea for the UN was espoused in declarations signed at the wartime Allied conferences in Moscow, Cairo, and Tehran in 1943 . From August to October 1944, representatives of France, the Republic of China, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union met to elaborate the plans at the Dumbarton Oaks Estate in Washington, DC. Those and later talks produced proposals outlining the purposes of the organization, its membership and organs, and arrangements to maintain international peace and security and international economic and social cooperation.
On 25 April 1945, the UN Conference on International Organizations began in San Francisco. In addition to the governments, a number of non-governmental organizations were invited to assist in drafting the charter. The 50 nations represented at the conference signed the Charter of the United Nations two months later on 26 June. Poland had not been represented at the conference, but a place had been reserved for it among the original signatories, and it added its name later. The UN came into existence on 24 October 1945, after the Charter had been ratified by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—the Republic of China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States—and by a majority of the other 46 signatories. That these countries are the permanent members of the Security Council, and have veto power on any Security Council resolution, reflects that they are the main victors of World War II or their successor states: the People's Republic of China replaced the Republic of China in 1971 and Russia replaced the Soviet Union in 1991
Austria took part in a UN operation for the first time from 1960 to 1963 with a field hospital in the Congo. In 1964 Austria sent a field hospital to Cyprus. Since 1967 Austrians have served as UN military observers in the Near East; from 1972 one, since 1973 two infantry battalions have been engaged in Cyprus and in the Near East (Suez Canal, from 1974 Golan Heights). Since the 1980s ("Diversification") Austrian military and civil observers and police forces have participated in numerous operations worldwide, e.g. police forces in Namibia (1989/90), in Cambodia (1991-1993) and in Iraq (since 1991), a field hospital for Kurd refugees in Iran (1991), and poll-watchers in Nicaragua (1991), South Africa (1994) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (1996). In addition to these UN missions Austria has supplied a transport company for the NATO operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina since 1993; in 1997 Austrian soldiers helped put an end to the civil war in Albania. The legal basis for all international missions is the Entsendegesetz (International Missions Act - 1965, 1997). Since 1960 about 35,000 Austrians have taken part in UN operations.