UNECE mourns the death of its former Executive Secretary Gerald Hinteregger (1928-2013). As UNECE’s sixth Executive Secretary, Mr. Hinteregger headed the Commission from 1987 to 1993. During those years, Europe’s political and economic landscape changed dramatically, with the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, the separation of the Czech and Slovak Republics and the reunification of Germany.
All these events posed enormous challenges for the region, as well as for the international organizations operating within the region. A great advocate of pan-European cooperation, Mr. Hinteregger believed in applying the results of UNECE’s analytical economic studies especially in the newly independent countries. Under his leadership UNECE advocated for gradual structural and institutional reform and stable legal frameworks to support the private sector and liberalization of trade in the countries in economic transition.
In the early 1990s, UNECE focused on practical efforts to provide country-specific support through country and sectoral surveys, policy recommendations, and international standards and norms in a wide range of sectors. In particular, it launched major initiatives were launched during this period in relation to environmental conventions, transport development, energy efficiency, trade regulations and electronic commerce.
Born in 1928 in Weiz, Austria, Mr. Hinteregger studied modern languages, music and international studies and went on to obtain a double doctorate in philosophy and in law. In 1957, he joined the Foreign Service, first working as a legal secretary to the then Foreign Minister Bruno Kreisky. From 1965 to 1970 he was Embassy Secretary in Washington D.C., and from 1970 to 1975 Chef de Cabinet at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vienna.
In 1975 he was named Ambassador to Spain, a post he held until 1978, when he became Ambassador to the Soviet Union. In 1981 he returned to Vienna to become Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs and Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, a post he held until being appointed Executive Secretary of UNECE.
UNECE greatly appreciated the merits of Mr. Hinteregger and wishes to honour him as a great diplomat who was widely admired for his firm commitment to the principles of the United Nations.