Ombudsperson Gaby Schwarz met with Chris Field, President of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) and Ombudsman of Western Australia, in Vienna for their first work meeting and personal exchange.
Secretary General Schwarz and President Field spoke about the most important ongoing projects of the IOI and the next steps to be taken. They discussed, amongst others, the upcoming meeting of the IOI Board of Directors, which will take place in Vienna in May 2023. “The preparations for this meeting are in full swing and we are looking forward to host this event in Vienna. Especially in times of crisis, the cooperation and exchange between Ombudsman institutions as oversight bodies, which represent the interests of citizens is particularly important”, says Ombudsperson Schwarz.
President Field welcomed the meeting with great enthusiasm. “The Secretary General and Chair of the Austrian Ombudsman Board is a person of very senior and significant past accomplishments and will now be an outstanding leader of the IOI Secretariat. Our first meeting was hugely warm and productive, and I am delighted that we will have the opportunity to work together to advance our shared commitment to human rights, good governance and the rule of law”.
The IOI’s efforts to strengthen the cooperation with the United Nations were also a topic of discussion as well as the progress of the UN Working Group, which was specifically set up for this purpose. Secretary General Schwarz underlined: “It is very important for me to intensify the cooperation with the United Nations and to increase the IOI’s scope of influence. Ombudsman institutions are essential in order to be able to effectively represent citizens’ interests. This is only possible with the help of strong oversight bodies.”
As part of the President’s visit to Vienna, His Excellency Mr. Richard Sadleir, Australian Ambassador to Austria and Head of the Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna, hosted a formal lunch in honour of IOI President Field at his Residence.