UN offices in Vienna team up to mark upcoming first World Statistics Day

15 October 2010

"There are lies, there are half truths but there are also transparent clean honest statistics" says one of the posters on display at the Vienna International Centre in an exhibition just opened in advance of World Statistics Day.

Three of the United Nations agencies based in Vienna including United Nations Information Services (UNIS) Vienna along with Statistics Austria have teamed up to mark the forthcoming World Statistics Day, which will be observed on 20 October 2010. World Statistics Day highlights the importance of statistics in shaping our societies. Mr. Fedotov spoke of the importance of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) statistics to understand how the illicit drug market evolves and to measure criminal activity around the world. “The information we provide drives national, regional and international debates and policies on tackling drugs and crime,” he said.

The exhibition showcases the variety of statistical information, publications and services produced by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and UNODC, together with Statistics Austria, the Austrian national statistical office.

The Director-General of UNIDO, Kandeh K. Yumkella, reminded staff of the Charter of the United Nations and the philosophy behind it, saying “We are here to push for prosperity, to create stability, to create a world without poverty.” He continued, “The data we collect about poverty, is not to keep poverty, but to finish the fight against poverty.  We are not here to secure our jobs.”

Mr. Yumkella also spoke about how the Vienna-based UN organiz-ations and agencies were trying to harmonize their efforts and integrate their work.  At a recent meeting of the heads of the Vienna-based organizations he had joked that if UNIDO and the IAEA did not do their work properly then it would mean more work for UNODC in terms of fighting crime. 

The Director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Power, Jong Kyun Park, on behalf of the Director-General of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, said that at the IAEA good statistics was essential for getting things right, whether it was the right radiation dose when treating cancer or excellent quality control at a nuclear power plant.  “Good stat- istics and the men and women who produce them deserve to be celebrated,” he said. Around 100 staff, diplomats and statisticians agreed with this sentiment by attending the opening of the exhi- bition.  Their support was appreciated by the Chief of Statistics and Surveys Section of UNODC, Angela Me who thanked the speakers for coming and said that it was great to have their endorsement for a profession based on impartiality, relevance and objectivity.

International Day of Peace in Vienna

21 September 2010
Children releasing Peace doves

Children releasing Peace doves

To mark the International Day of Peace, the UN Information Service (UNIS) Vienna hosted a commemor-ative event jointly organized with the Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna on 21 September in the Vienna International Centre (VIC).

The highlight of the event was a performance by the Vienna section of the World Peace Choir, which is comprised of 20 boys and girls from the primary school of the famous Vienna Boy's Choir ("Wiener Sängerknaben").

The event was concluded at the Peace Bell near the Memorial Plaza at the VIC where children released white doves representing peace and took turns to ring the Peace Bell.

Danube Twins Teachers Forum

13 September 2010

Group picture

On 13 September, teachers from about 60 schools from Vienna, Austria and Bratislava, Slovakia met at the Danube Twins Teachers Forum in the Vienna International Centre to jointly discuss the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to prepare contributions for the "Stand up, Take Action" campaign in support of the goals.

Prosperity instead of bombs: International Day Against Nuclear Tests celebrated at the VIC

30 August 2010
a reception being hosted by the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan

a reception being hosted by the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan

More than 200 UN staff, members of the diplomatic community and representatives of civil society and the media attended a ceremony held at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) on Monday, 30 August to observe the first International Day against Nuclear Tests.

In his introductory remarks, Maher Nasser, Director of the UN Information Service (UNIS) Vienna quoted Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon’s statement for the Day in which he said, “There is real momentum behind this great cause” and that the central pillar of this strategy is the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which was adopted in 1996 but has yet to enter into force.  Mr. Nasser reiterated the Secretary-General’s call for achieving this goal by 2012: “We cannot pass these challenges to succeeding generations.  We must each do our part to build a safer, more secure world today.”

To mark the UN day, an exhibition by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan was opened. The joint exhibition includes photographs showing the effects of nuclear testing in Kazakhstan in the 20th century along with photographs of the country in the 21st century, highlighting the natural beauty of the Kazakh landscape, the diversity of its people and the peaceful application of nuclear energy. The CTBTO communications team prepared four large panels and two multimedia displays visualizing both the history of nuclear testing as well as the work of the organization. The opening was followed by a reception hosted by the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan.

Ambassador Yerzhan Kazykhanov emphasized Kazakhstan’s dedication to the creation of a world free of nuclear weapons at the opening of the CTBTO/Kazakh exhibition to mark the UN Day: “From the founding of the nation, Kazakhstan has advocated for the peaceful use of nuclear energy and the abolishment of nuclear weapons”. Kazakhstan has demonstrated that the security and prosperity of the modern State does not depend on a nuclear arsenal”, said Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of CTBTO, at the opening of the CTBTO/Kazakh exhibition. Tóth congratulated Kazakhstan on setting an example for the region and the entire world by shutting down the nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk and by giving up its nuclear arsenal.  From 1945 to 1996, over 2000 nuclear devices were detonated in over 60 different locations around the world by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The exhibition is on display in the VIC through 3 September.