Vienna Chapter

G-77 Chapter inaugurates its Liaison Office

For the first time in its 34-year history, the Group of 77 has a permanent liaison office for its Vienna Chapter. Providing a link between the Permanent Missions of the G-77 member countries accredited to the Vienna-based international organizations, the new facility will connect those organizations with the G-77 chapters in New York (United Nations Headquarters), Geneva (UNCTAD and WTO), Rome (FAO and IFAD), Paris (UNESO), Nairobi (UNEP and Habitat) and Washington D.C. (IMF and the World Bank). It will also link them up to the Group's 132 member countries.

Opening the new premises at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), UNIDO Director-General Carlos Magariños predicted an upsurge of interest by G-77 Ministers in the activities of all the Vienna-based organizations. "We are, of course, especially hopeful of the deeper knowledge of industrial development that will come from the G-77 having a permanent presence in the building", he said.

Welcoming the UNIDO gesture, the Chair of the Vienna Chapter, South Africa Ambassador Mrs. Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko underlined the crucial role of physical premises in the chapter's operations. Until now this had been the missing link. "It is more than a conveniently located suite of offices, with a staff of two, some desks, computers and e-mail address," she said. "Today is the start of our institutional memory. The G-77 Member States are very grateful to Director-General Magariños for his personal interest in solving this problem." The offices and its facilities will be available to all G-77 Permanent Missions, but will be especially useful as a local base for visits to the Vienna-based organizations by Permanent Missions located outside Austria.

Until now, there had been almost no continuity in the Vienna Chapter's operations when the chairperson passed from one embassy to another, Ambasssador Mxakato-Diseko explained. The new facilities in UNIDO effectively puts Vienna on a par with New York and Geneva, making UNIDO the first G-77 chapter outside these long-standing G-77 focal points to comply with the decision adopted by the G-77 Ministerial Meeting in June 1994 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Group's establishment. It will enable institutionalization and consolidation of the Group's work, which in turn will promote a more effective link-up with the G-77 Chapter in New York, Geneva and other United Nations centres.

On 29 June 1998 U.N. Secretary-General Koffi Annan paid a visit to the premises of the newly established Liaison Office of the G-77 Vienna Chapter during his recent trip to Vienna.