Today, Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, expressed his deep appreciation to the Swiss government for supporting the renovation of the historic Palais des Nations buildings in Geneva.
The complex was built between 1929 and 1936 as the headquarters of the League of Nations, later becoming home to the United Nations in 1945. The Palais des nations is the second largest UN office after New York and according to the Le Temps newspaper hosted more than 10,000 intergovernmental meetings in 2012.
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It was decided on Friday last week that the Swiss Federal government, canton of Geneva and city of Geneva together would contribute an interest free loan of CHF 400 million to the seven-year renovation project hoped to begin in 2017. The total cost is estimated at CHF 837 million.
“This latest offer of our Host Country is extremely generous. It improves the terms for the financing of the project. I believe that these new terms will greatly facilitate the UN General Assembly’s review of the project and its financing this autumn in New York, and will be a crucial factor for the project to move forward on schedule,” Mr. Møller said.
He then added that “The Palais des Nations is not only the historical heritage of Geneva and Switzerland, but of the whole world, and its renovation is a responsibility that we all take very seriously. Built in the 1930s, the Palais des Nations has never been completely renovated, and urgent repairs are needed. We must invest in this renovation now to ensure that it is available as a safe, cost effective, environmentally friendly, fully accessible and functional global conference centre in the service of the world for generations to come”.