The United Nations General Assembly in New York today adopted a resolution granting CERN observer status. This status gives the Organization the right to participate in the work of the General Assembly and to attend its sessions as an observer.
"It's a great honour for CERN to accede to the status of observer at the UN General Assembly", said CERN Director-General, Rolf Heuer. "CERN has a long tradition of close cooperation with the United Nations and its agencies, which dates back to 1954 when the Laboratory was founded under the auspices of UNESCO". In addition to this historical link, CERN has signed cooperation agreements with the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) and several of the UN specialised agencies.
The resolution to grant observer status to CERN was submitted by the Organization's two Host States, Switzerland and France, and was supported by its eighteen other Member States as well as by several non-Member States. The main factor behind it was that CERN's activities cover areas of considerable interest to the General Assembly. CERN and the United Nations are both actively involved in disseminating knowledge in the fields of science and technology, particularly with a view to development. Through its projects, which bring together scientists from all over the world, CERN also promotes dialogue between nations and has become a model for international cooperation.
"The granting of observer status demonstrates the importance that the UN attaches to science and to its role in society", said Rolf Heuer. "CERN looks forward to offering the General Assembly and the other UN bodies the benefit of its expertise in the field with a view to promoting the essential role of basic science in development".
The United Nations and CERN have a very complementary role to play in accomplishing this mission. CERN has unique expertise in science and technology. The network of UN Member States will be instrumental in disseminating CERN's knowledge more widely and allowing developing countries to benefit from it. Capitalising on this complementarity, CERN and UNESCO are collaborating to strengthen the scientific and technological capabilities of countries in Africa in particular, for example by developing training programmes for teachers and librarians.
The adoption of the resolution in New York on Friday, 14 December will be followed by a meeting between Rolf Heuer and the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, on Monday 17 December.