UN celebrates twenty years of Bonn centre, launches new website


The United Nations (UN) on Monday in Bonn launched a new website that will captures the full spectrum of the work of the 18 agencies represented in the city and represents its first dynamic ‘shop window’ to the work and achievements of flourishing centre for global sustainability to mark the twenty-year of the establishment of the centre in Bonn.

Precisely 20 years ago today, the foundation was laid for the United Nations in Bonn to become a UN centre for sustainable development. The anniversary and the new online presence comes some six months after nations agreed two significant milestones which underpins much of UN Bonn’s work, now and into the future—a set of 17 forward-looking Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Executive Secretary UNFCCC and current Chair of the Heads of the UN Agencies in Germany, Christiana Figueres,
Executive Secretary UNFCCC and current Chair of the Heads of the UN Agencies in Germany, Christiana Figueres,

Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and current Chair of the Heads of the UN Agencies in Germany, Christiana Figueres, said: “UN Bonn is a true success story. Over the past 20 years, UN Bonn became one of only a handful of central hubs of UN activity around the world and a shining beacon of sustainability. As the world’s population continues to grow, and environmental challenges become ever more pressing, sustainable development is becoming increasingly the defining impulse for successful international politics, economics, social factors and the overall work of the UN. The UN agencies in Bonn have achieved a lot within just 20 years, with excellent support from the state of North Rhine-Westfalia, the Federal City of Bonn and the German government.”

Today the UN’s presence in Bonn spans a vast area of work of the United Nations. The agencies located here deal with issues such as climate change, land degradation, biodiversity and ecosystem services, wildlife conservation, volunteerism, health, human security, disaster preparedness, risk reduction, tourism, education and training.

Even though the United Nations has had offices in Bonn since 1951, the crucial milestone was laid in 1996. In this year, “Haus Carstanjen” – the first office building to be used by the UN in Bonn – was handed over to UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali by Angela Merkel, who was then Federal Minister for the Environment, Germany. The presence of the United Nations Volunteers Programme (UNV), the Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC) and other UN agencies in Bonn marked the starting point for further development of Bonn as a UN hub. In summer 2006, the UN presence in Bonn grew and a new UN Campus was officially inaugurated by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The buildings “Langer Eugen” and “Haus Carstanjen at that time hosted 14 UN agencies. In 2013, completely renovated building “Altes Abgeordnetenhochhaus” was incorporated into the UN Campus. From a handful of UN staff, the UN presence in Bonn has grown steadily since 1996 and has become a UN family with approximately 1,000 employees.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, UN Bonn has been given a new look: alongside a new corporate design, which UN Online Volunteer Lars Heller produced for this many-faceted location, UN Bonn now also has a new website. At unbonn.org, you can find information about topics and content that are brought together by the 18 UN Organizations currently based in Bonn under the slogan “shaping a sustainable future”.

The Executive Coordinator of the UN Volunteers programm, Richard Dictus said: “I am very pleased to see the new look and feel of the United Nations Organizations in Bonn especially as it was developed with the support of UN Online Volunteers. The wonderful result of the new UN Bonn brand is a great example what UN Volunteers – be it online or on the spot – can achieve and what ‘inspiration in action’ can create. I would like to express my deep appreciation to Mr. Heller, who has volunteered time and expertise to realize what has been a long sought for ‘front window’ for our work and Bonn’s role in international sustainability.”

UNV Online Volunteer Lars Heller, who is Managing Director of Heller & C, an agency specialized in branding based in Cologne, expressed his gratitude at this occasion: “Sharing my skills and experience as a UN Online Volunteer was extremely rewarding to me, since it allowed me to contribute to positive changes in the world the UN Bonn is working for. It was a great honor for me that the UN Bonn has entrusted me with creating the new look and feel that will certainly stay with the institution for the years to come. I am delighted having been part of this wonderful cooperation with the 18 UN agencies based in Bonn.”