Progress Report

The self-report below is organized according to the 24 transformations of the Agenda for Humanity. It is based on commitments pledged at the time of report submission. Click on the 'Expand' symbol to expand each section and read the reporting inputs by transformation.

2A
Respect and protect civilians and civilian objects in the conduct of hostilities

Individual Commitment

Joint Commitment

Core Commitment

  • What led your organization to make the commitment?

    The promotion of freedom of expression including the safety of journalists is a core priority of Austria’s human rights policy. Therefore, Austria is actively engaged in different international fora, like the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE or the Council of Europe, on fighting against impunity for crimes against journalists.

  • Achievements at a glance

    Austria initiated the creation of a „Group of Friends of the Safety of Journalists“ at UNESCO to strengthen the ownership of Member States and to assist UNESCO to raise awareness. This entails close coordination with civil society. Upon initiative of Austria, 29 member states committed to promote the implementation of the UN - Plan of Action in November 2016 to strengthen cooperation with UNESCO on the safety of journalists. At the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council Austria initiated a resolution on the safety of journalists. Austria continued to raise country specific concerns with regard to the protection of journalists during the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council in October-November 2016 (26th session).

    Austria has continued to engage actively in discussions on how to better protect civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Austria organized an international workshop in New York on 4 October 2016 aimed at identifying possibilities for improving the safety and security of civilians and discussing possible elements for an international political declaration on the issue.

2B
Ensure full access to and protection of the humanitarian and medical missions

Individual Commitment

Core Commitment

  • What led your organization to make the commitment?

    As for the training of armed forces Austria made the pledge to share this as an example of best practice for enhancing the rule of law, in particular the law of armed conflict and of human rights law, in the context of international crisis-management operations by military and security forces. The observance of international law is an essential prerequisite for the protection of civilians, in particular in situations of crisis or armed conflict.

  • Achievements at a glance

    Lectures/seminars on the law of armed conflict, IHL and PoC are integrated in the military training and education at all levels. For recruits and non-commissioned officers, the individual level is the focus of the training (Code of Conduct, etc.). For officers, the focus lies on the role and responsibility of military leaders at different levels of command. The topic, Support to Humanitarian Assistance, is an integral part of various scenarios used for training.

    Austria co-sponsored initiatives in the 32nd and 33rd session of the Human Rights Council that cover violations of IHL and/or the humanitarian situation of the respective country such as Res. 32/25 and 33/23 (Human Rights Situation in Syria), Res.33/24 (Human Rights situation in Burundi) and Res.33/29 (Technical Assistance and Capacity-Building for Human Rights in the DRC).

    During the Universal Periodic Review from October-November 2016, Austria attributed significance to the violation of IHL/facilitation of humanitarian response.

  • How is your organization assessing progress

    Progress is assessed by the regular quality-management-system applied to all academic trainings within the Austrian Armed Forces by the MoDS. Feedback is used to improve training objectives as well as methodology. For practical training, regular evaluation processes are applied, partly referring to the NATO Operational Capabilities Concept Evaluation and Feedback Programme.

  • Challenges faced in implementation

    As this topic has already been part of the Austrian military training and education system, there are no specific challenges in the implementation. Content is revised regularly and adapted if necessary.

  • Next step to advance implementation in 2017

    Continue training and education based on prior experiences; adapt training contents in an evolving way if necessary.

  • Cross cutting issues

    Humanitarian Principles

  • Other related Agenda for Humanity transformations

    2D - Take concrete steps to improve compliance and accountability

2C
Speak out on violations

Individual Commitment

Core Commitment

  • What led your organization to make the commitment?

    Ongoing breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL), especially attacks on medical personnel, transports and facilities, make it necessary to strengthen or establish procedures ensuring the accountability of perpetrators. Independent fact-finding missions and commissions of inquiry play a crucial role investigating allegations of grave breaches and serious violations of IHL. In this context it is regrettable that the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) under Article 90 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 is not operational and has not yet been called upon.

  • Achievements at a glance

    Austria actively supports the establishment and functioning of independent fact-finding missions and commissions of inquiry such as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. Austria is fully committed to cooperate with that Commission of Inquiry by welcoming its expert mission to Austria.

    Furthermore, Austria co-sponsored Resolution 2286/2016 adopted by the Security Council on 3 May 2016 condemning attacks on healthcare in armed conflict and Resolution 71/248 adopted by the General Assembly on 21 December 2016 establishing an international, impartial and independent mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes under international law committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011.

  • Next step to advance implementation in 2017

    Austria will continue to support the work of the above-mentioned and possible future independent fact-finding missions in 2017 and will continue to support efforts to render the IHFFC operational.

  • Other related Agenda for Humanity transformations

    2D - Take concrete steps to improve compliance and accountability

2D
Take concrete steps to improve compliance and accountability

Individual Commitment

Core Commitment

  • What led your organization to make the commitment?

    Until 2016, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports (MoDS) organized the Vienna Course on International Law for Military Legal Advisers eight times, thereby providing international law training to about 200 military/civilian legal advisers in the Armed Forces or the MoD from 30 European States as well as from the European External Action Service.

    The series of annual seminars on IHL issues have been organized by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (MoFA)/Austrian Red Cross since 2012. The seminars were very well received and proved to be an effective way of disseminating IHL.

  • Achievements at a glance

    The MoDS is organizing the 9th Vienna Course on International Law for Military Legal Advisers in 2017/18.

    The Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFoA) and the Austrian Red Cross, assisted by the universities of Graz and Linz, jointly organized a seminar on less lethal weapons (LLWs) at Graz University in Nov. 2016. The seminar explored the range of weapons falling under the LLWs category and their areas of application. Moreover, legal challenges in relation to IHL and human rights law in connection with the use of LLWs were discussed. The seminar was very well received and attended by professionals, journalists, volunteers, students and other opinion leaders working/interested working or interested in fields relevant to IHL.

    An international conference on fighting conflict related sexual violence (June 2016, Graz/Austria) co-organized by the MoFA focused on awareness-raising and further development of a comprehensive UN-strategy to fight such violence in the MENA Region.

    The Austrian Development Agency (ADA) initiated a project with OXFAM called “Ensuring accountability for SGBV and increased participation of women in Africa”. The project focused on the economic, political and social costs in view to foster advocacy work in the fight against sexual and gender based violence in Nigeria, South Sudan and Egypt. ADA is pursuing programmes to promote the engagement of men and boys inter alia to change behavior and attitudes with regard to SGBV. A project is being implemented with CARE Austria in the Western Balkans (Boys/Men as allies in Violence Prevention/Gender Transformation).

  • Challenges faced in implementation

    Vienna Course on International Law for Military Legal Advisers: Human resources are the major challenge. Additionally, dealing with complex legal matters in a foreign language represents a challenge that the methodological approach encounters.

  • Next step to advance implementation in 2017

    - In 2017, parts 1 and 2 of the 9th Vienna Course on International Law for Military Legal Advisers will take place.
    - The Austrian MoFA and the Austrian Red Cross, assisted by the universities of Graz and Linz, will again organize a seminar on IHL in 2017.

  • Cross cutting issues

    Gender Humanitarian Principles

  • Other related Agenda for Humanity transformations

    2A - Respect and protect civilians and civilian objects in the conduct of hostilities 2B - Ensure full access to and protection of the humanitarian and medical missions

2E
Uphold the rules: a global campaign to affirm the norms that safeguard humanity

Individual Commitment

Joint Commitment

Core Commitment

  • What led your organization to make the commitment?

    For many years, Austria has been calling and working for a better implementation of international humanitarian law (IHL). In this context, Austria has been a traditional supporter of the intergovernmental discussions on strengthening compliance with IHL in Geneva facilitated by the ICRC and Switzerland.

  • Achievements at a glance

    Austria has participated in the Conference of States Parties 2 on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in August 2016 and provides funds and experts to the EU for ATT outreach activities.

    Austria continues to actively support the proposal to establish a Forum of States to enhance the implementation of IHL. Austria has actively participated in the First Formal Meeting of the intergovernmental process on strengthening respect for IHL (November 2016, Geneva). In this meeting Austria asked for the process to focus on features and functions of a possible Forum.

    Together with partners, Austria has submitted resolution 71/258 “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations” to the UN General Assembly. Based largely on the humanitarian initiative against nuclear weapons, the resolution mandates negotiations in 2017 for a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, in accordance with article VI of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.

    Austria has continued to support implementation and universalisation of the antipersonnel mine ban convention. EUR 0.5 million each to victim assistance in Iraq and for surveying and demining activities in Libya were donated. Financial support was also given to the Implementation Support Unit of the convention, as well as to International Coalition to Ban Landmines . Austria will be the chair of the next meeting (sixteenth) of States Parties to be held in Vienna in December 2017.

  • Next step to advance implementation in 2017

    As to the potential forum of States on IHL Austria supported the continuation of the processes’ facilitation by the ICRC and Switzerland. Austria will continue to engage actively and constructively in the further Meetings of States in 2017.

  • If you had one message for the annual report on what is most needed to advance the transformation 'Uphold the rules: a global campaign to affirm the norms that safeguard humanity', what would it be

    Austria is a strong supporter of a progressive interpretation of ATT and advocates that an effective implementation and universalisation have to be developed in parallel.

  • Other related Agenda for Humanity transformations

    2D - Take concrete steps to improve compliance and accountability

3A
Reduce and address displacement

Individual Commitment

  • Achievements at a glance

    Austria continues to advocate within the Boards of the International Financial Institutions, and particularly the World Bank Group, to ensure a coherent and increased envelope of the Multilateral Development Banks to respond to the challenge of disasters and crises, especially to support hosts in coping with large refugee caseloads. Austria is providing additional voluntary contributions of EUR 160 million to IDA 17 in order to support financing investments that address the causes of displacement and alleviate the impact of displacement on countries of origin, transit, and destination. The negotiations for the replenishment of IDA 18 were concluded in December 2016 and an increased amount of the total IDA envelope will be dedicated to fragile countries and crisis alleviation (including migration).

  • Cross cutting issues

    Internal Displacement Refugees

3D
Empower and protect women and girls

Individual Commitment

Core Commitment

  • What led your organization to make the commitment?

    For the first two commitments: Gender-responsive approaches are considered to be operational requirements for effective quality programming. Otherwise humanitarian aid projects risk being off-target or even doing harm. The impact goal of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs for the Austrian Development Cooperation/ADC (including humanitarian aid) foresees that a minimum of 75% of all financial allocations to projects and programs must be gender responsive – a goal which has not yet been achieved within the ADC (co)funded humanitarian aid portfolio so far.

  • Achievements at a glance

    The Austrian Development Agency (ADA) is elaborating a briefing note to assist program managers and thematic advisors in donor agencies as well as implementing agencies staff to advance gender equality/the empowerment of women/girls within the framework of humanitarian aid. To this end also the ADA funding guideline for Humanitarian Aid are under revision. ADA humanitarian aid partners were informed about the adaptation of the quality criteria related to funding for humanitarian assistance. In order to comply with internationally recognized gender equality standards humanitarian aid programs and projects funded by ADA are expected to integrate gender considerations, promote the active participation of women in humanitarian aid and to incorporate strategies against SGBV more systematically.

    Austria continues to be an active supporter of the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325/2000 and subsequent Security Council resolutions on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

    Together with partners from civil society, Austria organized side-events in New York to focus on the important work on the localization of Resolution 1325/2000 in different regions. Austria participates actively in the work of the Group of Friends on Women, Peace and Security.

    Austria supported the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with a financial contribution to the Thematic Trust Fund on Maternal Health. In the area of development cooperation, Austria contributes to UNFPA's Jordan Response Plan in the Health Sector/Sexual Reproductive Rights.

  • Challenges faced in implementation

    For the first two commitments:
    - Decision making processes on the allocation of funds to the humanitarian sectors beyond the scope of ADA.
    - Limitations regarding gender and diversity competence and being available; respective budget needed on donor as well as on partner side.

  • Next step to advance implementation in 2017

    For the first two commitments:
    - Finalize briefing note and the revision of the funding guideline
    - Develop an ADA internal gender action plan for the implementation of the EU Gender Action Plan II which applies and includes objectives for EU member states funded humanitarian aid
    - Organize a Learn 4 Dev joint learning event on gender and migration as current chair of the L4Dev Gender Experts group which takes up gender issues related to humanitarian response in the context of migration to take place within 2017

  • Cross cutting issues

    Gender

  • Other related Agenda for Humanity transformations

    2D - Take concrete steps to improve compliance and accountability 3B - Address the vulnerabilities of migrants and provide more regular and lawful opportunities for migration

3G
Address other groups or minorities in crisis settings

Individual Commitment

  • Achievements at a glance

    The promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities is of great importance in Austria’s human rights policy. Relevant recommendations with regard to the significance of ensuring disability inclusion in all humanitarian and post-conflict reconstruction efforts were highlighted by Austria in the recommendations directed during the 26th session of the Universal Periodic Review to specific States under review by the Human Rights Council.

  • Cross cutting issues

    Disability

  • Specific initiatives

    Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action

4A
Reinforce, do not replace, national and local systems

Individual Commitment

Core Commitment

  • Achievements at a glance

    Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) ensures that the humanitarian programs and projects it funds use cash transfer as an aid modality wherever possible and feasible. To do so, ADC works with professional humanitarian implementing partners such as the ICRC, UNHCR, UNDP, UNICEF and qualified Austrian NGOs.

    Local civil society organizations play a key role in almost all humanitarian programs and projects supported by ADC. With key partners of ADC such as the Red Cross /Red Crescent Movement, capacity strengthening of their local civil society organizations – i.e. the national Red Cross/Red Crescent Society in the target country – is usually one of the intended results of the humanitarian program /project.

  • How is your organization assessing progress

    Cash transfer progress is assessed through regular exchange with humanitarian partners on that topic and through review of relevant progress reports and updates. Furthermore, field visits are used to monitor the way cash modalities are used by partners on the ground.

  • Cross cutting issues

    Cash

  • Other related Agenda for Humanity transformations

    5A - Invest in local capacities

4B
Anticipate, do not wait, for crises

Individual Commitment

Core Commitment

  • What led your organization to make the commitment?

    Austria is highly exposed to a number of natural hazards, such as avalanches, torrents and floods. Climate change may contribute to the frequency and severity of natural disasters in the future. The socio-economic costs of disasters in Austria are high. Disaster risk reduction is therefore an important issue and requires continuous efforts at all levels of government.

  • Achievements at a glance

    Austria supported National Weather Services with regard to service delivery/early warning/preparedness activities in Moldova, Albania, Ghana, Seychelles and Myanmar. Focus was on 'now-casting' activities for very short range forecast time/impact of meteorological events like flash floods, storm events and landslides. The cooperation with civil protection authorities was another topic.

    Austria has established solid risk management policies. Responsibilities for risk prevention and mitigation are shared among the different government levels. A significant increase in capacity to enable co-operation for coordinating strategies and policies across ministries and sectors. Also active engagement by citizens exposed to natural hazards in helping to address risks. Continuous investment in disaster risk reduction has led to a significant reduction of losses from disasters.

    Resilience and DRR are main goals of ADC, even beyond the humanitarian sector. For instance, ADC also supports UNISDR to help build resilient nations and communities in the Caribbean at regional and national level. Resilience/ DRR are – wherever relevant/feasible - key components of any humanitarian programs and projects supported by ADC, be it in drought relief/food security programs in Ethiopia or in programs supporting IDPs/refugees in the Middle East.

  • How is your organization assessing progress

    The reduction of damages resulting from major flood events is a key indicator of progress but other risks could also be reduced significantly. The number of human losses in disasters is extremely low in Austria. Other benchmarks are the coverage of hazard areas with hazard/risk maps or the full coverage with response plans. Full implementation of EU flood directive demonstrates achievements in recent years.

  • Challenges faced in implementation

    Key challenges for the future are for instance the adequate maintenance of the large stock of protective infrastructure, the maintenance of the current level of investment in DRR or the translation of existing knowledge and information into actual land-use planning and decisions.

  • Next step to advance implementation in 2017

    One of the main activities in disaster risk reduction in the near future is the implementation of the next cycle of the flood directive. Austria will also establish a national platform for disaster risk reduction in due time.

  • Cross cutting issues

    Disaster Risk Reduction Internal Displacement Refugees

  • Other related Agenda for Humanity transformations

    4A - Reinforce, do not replace, national and local systems 5B - Invest according to risk

5A
Invest in local capacities

Individual Commitment

Core Commitment

  • Achievements at a glance

    Local civil society organizations play a key role in almost all humanitarian programs and projects supported by ADC. With key partners of ADC such as the Red Cross /Red Crescent Movement, capacity strengthening of their local civil society organizations – i.e. the national Red Cross/Red Crescent Society in the target country – is usually one of the intended results of the humanitarian program /project.

  • Other related Agenda for Humanity transformations

    4A - Reinforce, do not replace, national and local systems

5D
Finance outcomes, not fragmentation: shift from funding to financing

Individual Commitment

  • What led your organization to make the commitment?

    Continuing surge, in particular of long-term and ever more compex humanitarian crisis is resulting in a massive increase of humanitarian needs. There is also strong case for stepping up assistance for countries and local communities that host large numbers of refugees.

  • Achievements at a glance

    Austria has significantly increased its bilateral humanitarian funding which reached a record high in 2016. Among others a massive augmentation of the budget of the Foreign Disaster Relief Fund took place. The main implementing partners are humanitarian organisations of the UN System, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and Austrian NGOs responsible for their local partners. The main focus of our support is IDPs in Syria and Iraq as well as Syrian refugees in the region. Austria has also provided significant resources to the EU Refugee Facility for Turkey and to the EU Trust Fund for Syria.

  • Next step to advance implementation in 2017

    Austria will continue with its enhanced bilateral humanitarian funding. In 2017 Austria will start with the provision of additional voluntary contributions to IDA 17 (see commitment 5E) .

  • Cross cutting issues

    Internal Displacement People-Centred Approach Refugees

  • Other related Agenda for Humanity transformations

    3A - Reduce and address displacement 4A - Reinforce, do not replace, national and local systems

5E
Diversify the resource base and increase cost-efficiency

Individual Commitment

Core Commitment

  • Achievements at a glance

    Austria continues to advocate within the Boards of the International Financial Institutions, and particularly the World Bank Group, to ensure a coherent and increased envelope of the Multilateral Development Banks to respond to the challenge of disasters and crises, especially to support hosts in coping with large refugee caseloads. Austria is providing additional voluntary contributions of EUR 160 million to IDA 17 in order to support financing investments that address the causes of displacement and alleviate the impact of displacement on countries of origin, transit, and destination. The negotiations for the replenishment of IDA 18 were concluded in December 2016 and an increased amount of the total IDA envelope will be dedicated to fragile countries and crisis alleviation (including migration).

  • Cross cutting issues

    Internal Displacement Refugees

  • Other related Agenda for Humanity transformations

    3A - Reduce and address displacement 3B - Address the vulnerabilities of migrants and provide more regular and lawful opportunities for migration 5C - Invest in stability