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No. 144/12 | Berlin, 31.10.2012

Reinforcing the United Nations in Bonn

Handing-over of the key to the UN Climate Change Secretariat

The German government has further strengthened Bonn's status as an important United Nations location: today, Wednesday 31 October, the German government officially handed over the building complex Altes Abgeordnetenhochhaus to the Climate Change Secretariat, the largest of the UN organisations based in Bonn. This is a significant step towards establishing a single UN campus in Bonn. Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Michael Georg Link, State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry Jürgen Becker and State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport Rainer Bomba joined Rita Ruoff-Breuer, President of the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning and Dr. Jürgen Gehb, Spokesman of the Board of the Federal Agency for Real Estate, in the symbolic handing-over of the key to the United Nations.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Flavia Pansieri, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme accepted the key on behalf of the United Nations. One of the responsibilities of the UN Climate Change Secretariat is to prepare and organise the UN Climate Change Conferences. A number of important meetings have already taken place in Bonn in the run-up to the next climate summit in Doha at the end of this year.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres: "We are grateful for this new building. Once it is complete, it will help to fill a pressing need to accommodate the increasing demand from governments for space and facilities as the UN negotiations enter a phase of concrete and urgent implementation of action against climate change, as well as pushing towards adoption of a new and binding climate change agreement by 2015. Action on climate change is gaining momentum globally, and needs to accelerate both in terms of speed and scale. I wish to thank the German government, the German people and the people of Bonn for their continued support to the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to the inter-governmental climate change negotiations."

Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle: "The Altes Abgeordnetenhochhaus was once an emblem of the government presence in Bonn. Now the building will symbolise the growing importance of Bonn as a UN city. Combating climate change is a core aspect of Germany's foreign policy. We are doing everything in our power to support the work of the Climate Change Secretariat and want its staff members to enjoy working in this building."

State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry, Jürgen Becker: "The handing-over of the key to the Altes Abgeordnetenhochhaus reinforces Bonn as a UN location. There are now nearly 1,000 UN staff working in Bonn, making the city a key United Nations hub. The Climate Change Secretariat, which plays such an important role in international climate negotiations, can now move to a building that has been modernised in line with the latest ecological standards. This sets a good example. At the same time, we have found a fitting and forward-looking use for this historic landmark of the 'Bonn Republic'."

State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport Rainer Bomba: "Accommodating international organisations in Bonn is anchored in the Bonn-Berlin Act as an essential element in the sustainable development of the Federal City. The handing-over of the key to the renovated Altes Abgeordnetenhochhaus is another clear acknowledgment by the German government of Bonn's significance as a location for major international organisations. Today's unveiling of the construction sign for a new extension to accommodate more than 300 additional UN staff proves that we are not content to rest on our success; we are working very hard to enhance the working environment for UN organisations in Bonn even further, making the city even more attractive as a base for international bodies."

Rita Ruoff-Breuer: "The refurbishment of the Altes Abgeordnetenhochhaus for the UN Climate Change Secretariat set new ecological standards for construction: our sustainable conversion of the existing facilities, with optimised energy efficiency and comprehensive use of renewable energies demonstrates that building modernisation can make an important contribution to climate action."

Dr. Jürgen Gehb: "The Altes Abgeordnetenhochhaus, which formerly housed parliamentary offices, was extensively refurbished to meet the needs of the United Nations in accordance with sustainability and ecological standards. The project, which was supervised by the client the Federal Agency for Real Estate, takes both architectural requirements and the energy and climate targets of the United Nations and German government into account. I am delighted with this achievement."

Over the coming months UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres will move into the Altes Abgeordnetenhochhaus with around 275 employees of the UN Climate Change Secretariat. The construction project aimed at achieving harmony between the refurbished parts of the existing building and the new sections. A particular challenge here was to meet the energy and other needs of the Climate Change Secretariat while still retaining the facades and proportions of the complex, which dates from the years 1948 to 1953. To this end, the new sections were constructed according to zero-emission standard. High quality materials for insulating windows, Rhine bank filtrate for cooling and heating, photovoltaic systems for electricity generation and the use of district heating are some examples of applications which have led to an excellent energy balance in the refurbished building. The complex is also one of Germany's first office premises of this size in which the biological building material lime has been used on the interior walls.

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