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The VIDC is one of the most abiding development cooperation institutions in Austria. After the "Conference for Economic Cooperation and Partnership", which took place in July 1962 in Salzburg and Vienna, the organisation was founded by Bruno Kreisky with other prominent politicians from the so-called "Third World," such as Tom Mboya from Kenya or Ahmed Ben Salah from Tunisia, as a think tank for global development policy issues. Thus it is the oldest civil society development policy organisation in Austria.
The initial objective was inspired by the need for peaceful cooperation between the industrialized countries and the so-called "developing countries" on the basis of a "level playing field".
This implied an extensive information work on "development policy" issues in Austria, the organisation of discussion events, meetings and conferences, the holding of exhibitions, the publication of teaching materials, a series of "New Development Policy" and various position papers on various "development policy" issues.
After the initial euphoria of the founding years and international problems of the North-South Dialogue, the 1980s saw a programmatic reorientation, which led to a complete redesign for the Institute, which was re-established on January 1st, 1987 under the name "Fonds Wiener Institut für Entwicklungsfragen und Zusammenarbeit" (Vienna Institute for Development and Cooperation Fund). The founding of the new institute was also associated with a slightly different orientation, which in the long term led to a stronger anchoring in civil society. The Institute relied on factual expertise and the cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs (BMAA).
The core division of the VIDC, which was renamed "Development Policy Research" (DPR) in 2005 following a reorganisation process, was primarily dedicated to the coordination of interdisciplinary knowledge networks and to lay the grounds for operational programs and project development in the priority areas of the Austrian Development Cooperation, particularly in the fields of poverty reduction, democratisation, governance, and gender policy.
The VIDC has consultative status with ECOSOC, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
In the 1990s, a major African festival "Sura za Afrika" (1996) provided the impetus for the establishment of a separate department called "kulturen in bewegung" (cultures in motion), which began by establishing its own cultural track at the VIDC and has since enriched the institute with a significant facet through hundreds of cultural events.
Another department, “FairPlay. Many Colours. One Game" followed a year later, in the European Year against Racism (1997). This department, which is today the fairplay Initiative for Diversity and Anti-Discrimination, an initiative against discrimination in sport, such as in football, has become a recognised partner of UEFA and has thereafter been carrying out intercultural activities with various clubs, fan clubs, migrant organisations, and schools, especially in Austrian football. fairplay has also been a partner of the European Commission since 1997 and is a founding member and central coordinating body of the European network "Football Against Racism in Europe" (FARE), which was founded in Vienna in 1999. The aim of this network is to combat racism in European football.
From autumn of 2013, the NorthSouthDialogue of Parliaments was also active at the VIDC as a fourth division. The NorthSouthDialogue of Parliaments is a project with the goal of social and political cooperation, particularly between the parliaments of Mozambique, Portugal and Austria and between Zambia and Austria between 2017 and 2020.
The anniversary brochure "50 Years of VIDC" published in 2012 can be downloaded here (PDF for download).