ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe


"The Palais des Nations is an important element of the heritage of Geneva and of Switzerland, but also of all Member States of the United Nations, and we have the duty to preserve and modernize it."
Michael Møller, UNOG Acting Director-General

On 27 December 2013, UN Member States have decided to allocate the funds needed in 2014 for the planning phase of the strategic heritage plan of the United Nations Office at Geneva, with construction work starting in 2017 and completion expected in 2023. (See
press release)

Hide details for ObjectivesObjectives
The latest technical and architectural studies have confirmed that early adoption and diligent implementation of the strategic heritage plan was vital to urgently address health and safety risks and to ensure the long-term viability of operations and business continuity at the Palais des Nations.

Key objectives of the plan:
  • meet all relevant regulations related to fire protection, health and life safety, and building code compliance;
  • repair and update the building enclosure and the electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems to meet relevant health and safety regulations, and to reduce energy costs;
  • meet all relevant regulations relating to persons with disabilities, including provisions for accessibility and technology;
  • optimize the use of the available interior spaces and conference facilities, providing flexible and functional conference rooms;
  • preserve the heritage, prevent irreversible deterioration or damage, and restore and maintain the capital value of the Palais des Nations and its content;
  • resolve a growing problem of lack of space for staff members of the United Nations Secretariat and of liaison offices of UN funds, agencies and programmes;
  • regroup as best feasible UN Secretariat activities in Geneva in the Ariana Park, where the Palais des Nations is situated.

Hide details for Four construction phasesFour construction phases
The strategic heritage plan comprises a planing period followed by construction starting in 2017 to be completed at the end of 2023.

Phase 1:
  • Construction new permanent building (begining 2017)
  • Renovation A building (conference)
  • Renovation B building (historical archives)

Phase 2:
  • Renovation B building (offices and Library)
  • Renovation D building (offices)
  • Renovation E building (conference)
  • Dismantling E building (office tower)

Phase 3:
  • Renovation C building (offices and conference)
  • Partial renovation of the S building (offices)

Phase 4:
  • Completion of S building renovation

Dismantling of the upper floors of the E building has been found to be the best solution for having a highly energy efficient building which conforms to anti-seismic construction standards, as well as protection against fire and accessibility norms. The part of the E building where conference rooms are situated will be renovated, as will the other buildings of the Palais des Nations.

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Hide details for HistoryHistory
The Palais des Nations, originally built for the League of Nations from 1929 to 1937, is the largest United Nations conference centre in Europe and hosted 10,220 meetings in 2012. It comprises a historic building complex completed in 1937, expanded in the 1950s, to which a conference facility and office tower, the E building, was added in 1973.

In addition, work is being completed for energy saving measures made possible by
a generous donation of 50 millions Swiss Francs from Switzerland, the host country. The related works currently being implemented include repairs to parts of the roof and some of the windows, optimization of lighting, installation of solar panels, replacement of certain ventilation units and upgrading of the building management system.

Switzerland has also made possible enabled the renovation of the Delegates' Lounge (2003-2006) and several Member States have contributed in recent years to the renovation of several conference rooms at the Palais des Nations, including Spain, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Morocco, Romania, France.

Hide details for Reports of the Secretary-General on the "strategic heritage plan"Reports of the Secretary-General on the "strategic heritage plan" Show details for UNOG annual reportsUNOG annual reports

Palais des Nations photo gallery