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United Nations and other international organisations in Vienna

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the United Nations at its core, is a central element of its external action. This commitment is rooted in the conviction that to respond successfully to global crises, challenges and threats, the international community needs an efficient multilateral system, founded on universal rights and values. 

The EU works with all UN bodies, agencies and programmes across virtually the entire range of UN activities, such as security policy, peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance, industrial development, energy policy, environment, human rights and culture. 

As an observer within the UN, the EU has no vote as such but is a party to more than 50 UN multilateral agreements and conventions as a non-State participant. It has obtained a special "full participant" status in a number of important UN conferences. 

The UN Section of the Delegation is responsible for the representation of the EU to the following UN and other International Organisations in Vienna: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), United Nations Industrial Development Organisations (UNIDO), United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), Wassenaar Arrangement, Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC), Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The IAEA promotes the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear science and technology, essentially by developing standards on nuclear safety and guidelines on nuclear security. It is the verification authority according to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and it verifies compliance with nuclear safeguards to assure that all nuclear material is used for peaceful purposes only (normative/inspection). To promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the IAEA is a clearing house for research on uses of nuclear and isotopic techniques and it provides technical assistance. In addition, it is the depositary/secretariat for several Nuclear Safety, Security and Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Conventions. 

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UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

UNODC is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs, transnational organized crime, terrorism and corruption, and is the guardian of most of the related conventions, particularly the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the three protocols thereto (against trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in firearms), the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the international drug control and counter-terrorism conventions. UNODC was established in 1997 as a result of the merging of the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme. Around 1,500 people work at UNODC headquarters in Vienna and in field offices around the world. 

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UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)

UNIDO is considered one of the EU's key partners in realising inclusive and sustainable industrial development and eradicating poverty in developing countries. The EU and UNIDO have been cooperating since 2005 to support sustainable industrial development in more than 100 countries. 

The EU and UNIDO’s main objectives are to reach inclusive and sustainable industrial development which helps to create growth and jobs, eradicate poverty, reduce inequality, and improve resource efficiency while limiting pollution, thus contributing to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. 

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO)

The EU Delegation follows developments with regard to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO). 

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 September 1996. With the CTBT’s opening for signature on 24 September 1996, a de-facto international norm against nuclear testing was established. Currently there are 185 Member States who have signed and 170 who have ratified the CTBT, including three nuclear weapon States - France, United Kingdom and Russia. 

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Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS)

COPUOS was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to review the scope of international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, to devise programmes in this field to be undertaken under United Nations auspices, to encourage continued research and the dissemination of information on outer space matters, and to study legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space. The Committee has two standing Subcommittees: the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee.

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United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)

UNCITRAL is the core legal body of the United Nations System in the field of international trade law. It is a legal body with universal membership specializing in commercial law reform worldwide for over 40 years. The Secretariat of UNCITRAL is based in Vienna. 

UNCITRAL's business is the modernization and harmonization of rules on international business. In order to increase these opportunities worldwide, UNCITRAL is formulating modern, fair, and harmonized rules on commercial transactions.

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Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement promotes transparency and responsibility in the transfer of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies. Participating States have to ensure that the transfer of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals, and are not diverted to support such capabilities. Currently, 26 EU Member States are participating in the Wassenaar Arrangement. The EU is interested in following the developments within the Wassenaar Arrangement as the EC Regulation 428/2009 sets up a Community regime for the control of exports of dual-use goods and technologies. 

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

The NSG is a group of nuclear supplier countries which seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports. The NSG Guidelines are implemented by each Participating Government in accordance with its national laws and practices. Decisions on export applications are taken at the national level in accordance with national export licensing requirements. The European Commission participates as an observer. 

Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC)

HCoC was formally brought into effect on 25 November 2002 at a launching conference hosted by the Netherlands in The Hague. As of June 2016, 143 countries have subscribed to the HCOC. The HCOC is aimed at bolstering efforts to curb ballistic missile proliferation worldwide and to further delegitimize such proliferation. The HCOC consists of a set of general principles, modest commitments, and limited confidence-building measures. It is intended to supplement, not supplant, the Missile Technology Control Regime, and is administered collectively by all subscribing states. 

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Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

OPEC aims to co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among its member countries, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on capital to those investing in the industry. 

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

IIASA is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change. IIASA and the EU coordinate their work in fields of common interest, such as energy, transport, water, environment, climate action, disaster risk reduction, agriculture, food, bio-economy and citizen science. 

Organisation for Security & Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

All EU Member States are participating States of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Altogether, the OSCE has 57 participating States from Europe, North America, and Central Asia and spans a geographical area from Vancouver to Vladivostok. All 57 participating States enjoy equal status and decisions are taken by consensus on a politically, but not legally binding basis. 

The key features of the EU's participation in the OSCE are: 

  • The Delegation of the EU is regarded as being part of the Delegation of the OSCE participating State holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. As such the Delegation is participating in all proceedings unless the issue under discussion clearly falls fully outside the scope of the EU. 
  • As the EU has its own Ambassador/Permanent Representative accredited to the OSCE, it is, in principle, treated as an individual OSCE participating State as concerns protocol issues, and as regards the circulation of documents or other information or invitations. 
  • In all OSCE decision-making bodies, including on Ministerial and Head of State and Government level, the EU has a seat reserved beside the country holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU (in non-decision-making bodies the question does not arise as the OSCE practices 'free seating'). 
  • In cases where the issue under discussion mainly falls under the competence of the European Community, the Delegation of the EU, representing also the Commission, can intervene in the same way as an OSCE participating State. 
  • In OSCE decision-making bodies, where the EU is speaking 'with one voice', the EU Delegation may speak on behalf of all EU Member States. 
  • In non-decision-making bodies, the Delegation usually coordinates the position of all EU Member States and presents it in meetings. 
  • At meetings at the levels of Ministers or Heads of State and Government, the EU High Representative or the Presidents of the Council or Commission intervene. 

In particular, through its Delegation accredited to the OSCE, the EU has developed close contacts both with other OSCE Delegations and with all OSCE Institutions, notably the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna as well as the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Warsaw. Although the EU as such cannot contribute to the Unified Budget of the OSCE, it has become in recent years a big donor of extra-budgetary contributions for a large variety of programmes and projects. 

The close relations between the EU and the OSCE are also maintained through regular meetings, from EU-OSCE Ministerial Political Dialogue meetings to PSC-level Political Dialogues and staff-to-staff talks. At the field level, there are regular contacts between the OSCE field missions and the respective EU Delegations, as well as the CSDP Missions of the EU. In addition, the EU works with the OSCE and other partners in the conflict resolution processes in Moldova and in Georgia. 

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Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was concluded in Vienna on 14 July 2015, as a result of diplomatic efforts by the E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States, and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy). The JCPOA is designed to ensure that Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful and provides for the comprehensive lifting of UN, EU and US nuclear-related sanctions. 

The EU Delegation in Vienna ensures the smooth functioning of the JCPOA Procurement Working Group and conducts related outreach activities. The EU Delegation in Vienna facilitates discussions on statements to be delivered on behalf of all EU Member States at meetings of the IAEA Board of Governors. The Delegation also supports the implementation of civil nuclear cooperation activities with Iran under Annex III of the JCPOA. Furthermore, it hosts and/or supports the organisation of JCPOA-related meetings in Vienna, such as meetings of the Joint Commission. 

Procurement Channel 

The Procurement Channel was established by the JCPOA for a period of ten years. This mechanism reviews proposals by States seeking to participate in or permit nuclear-related activities. The Procurement Channel is a significant transparency measure and a key tool to support non-proliferation and also trade with Iran. It relies on a mechanism involving the Security Council and the JCPOA Participants: States submit proposals to the Security Council, which transmits them to the Procurement Working Group (PWG) of the JCPOA Joint Commission. The PWG makes a recommendation on behalf of the Joint Commission, based on which the Security Council takes its decision to authorise, or not, the nuclear-related transfer or activity. The PWG meets every three weeks in Vienna at the EU Delegation. The Coordinator of the PWG is the Head of the EU Delegation's JCPOA Procurement Channel Section. 

Iran Task Force

Relations between Iran and the European Union (EU) are coordinated via the Iran Task Force based at the European External Action Service (EEAS) headquarters in Brussels. The Iran Task Force was established following the nuclear agreement of 14 July 2015, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - JCPOA between the E3/EU+3 and Iran. 

The Task Force supports the EU High Representative Josep Borrell in his role as coordinator of the Joint Commission responsible for overseeing the implementation of the JCPOA. It also coordinates and develops a coherent framework for bilateral engagement with Iran in close cooperation with the European Commission services. 

The EU does not currently have a Delegation in Iran. It is therefore represented by the member state holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU.