With today’s Ground-breaking ceremony for the extension of the UN Campus in Bonn, the German federal government is sending a strong signal with respect to the further transformation of the federal city of Bonn into a UN location. The new structure, which is scheduled for completion by 2020, will be handed over to the United Nations along with the landmark buildings "Old Waterworks" and "Pump House". The new annex will serve not only the UN Climate Secretariat, but the world’s climate as well – the building will be constructed following best practices and applying passive-energy standards.
Ceremonial hammer taps on the cornerstone were accompanied by solemn speeches:
Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and Building, said: "From the perspective of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, strengthening the city of Bonn as the foremost center of excellence for the protection of the environment and sustainable development is a wonderful development. With the expansion of the UN Campus, we are creating foundations for new growth. Faced with global challenges in the areas of peace and security as well as of climate and environmental policy, which will shape the twenty-first century, the world needs the United Nations more than ever. Germany vigorously supports the UN– this is also a message that should come across on this day. Now it is up to us, here in Bonn, to make the provisions of the new Paris Agreement come to life!"
Stephan Steinlein, State Secretary in the Federal Foreign Office, stated: "Sustainability is a key element of our policy. Bonn itself stands for sustainability. Thanks to the UN presence here, many former government buildings are finding a new life. But not just that: They are having offspring. The ‘Tall Eugen‘ will have a brother! The ‚Short Eugen‘ is a reflection of Bonn’s attractiveness as a UN location. And family planning is far from over."
Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and current Chair of the Heads of UN Agencies in Germany stated: "With this generous support to the United Nations in Bonn, the Federal Republic of Germany is showing its longstanding and steadfast commitment to implement the Agenda 2030. In providing these outstanding working conditions, you make a significant contribution to the efforts to achieving the sustainable development goals and meeting the objectives of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. This is more important than ever and will further strengthen Bonn as the inter-nationally recognized hub for global, sustainable development."
Jürgen Gehb, Spokesperson of the Board of the Federal Agency for Real Estate, said: "As the owner, builder and facility manager, the Federal Agency for Real Estate is making an extraordinary contribution to the success of this forward-looking project."
Petra Wesseler, President of the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning, stated: "The new high-rise on the UN Campus will deliver exceptional quality with respect to the triple objectives of sustainability, security and flexible use. In terms of both design and ecology, the proposal meets high demands and will be implemented as a high quality building in keeping with passive-energy standards."
The annex building will be constructed on the basis of plans drawn up by the architect Stefan Lippert and the landscape architectural firm ANNABAU, which was awarded first prize in an open international competition conducted in 2013. The building is laid out to achieve a "gold standard" rating according to the evaluation standards for the sustainable construction of federal buildings.
The building with its 17 above-ground and three underground floors will rise up between the former plenary chamber of the German Bundestag and the historic "Old Waterworks". Moreover, the existing logistics center along the banks of the Rhine will be expanded. The federal government is investing a total of about 72 million Euro. Present planning provides for 330 UN staff members to move, in 2020, to their offices overlooking the Rhine, located in a high quality building constructed in keeping with best practices and passive-energy standards.
It was exactly 20 years ago that the foundations were created which enabled the United Nations to transform the Federal City of Bonn to a global UN centre for sustainable development. The UN presence in Bonn has grown steadily, from a handful of staff in 1996 to what has become a UN family of 19 organizations with an international staff of about 1000 colleagues. Today’s cornerstone event contributes to the further strengthening of Bonn as a UN location.