More than 20 years as a UN city
Bonn is at the heart of the United Nations’ efforts to promote sustainable development worldwide. With around 20 UN organizations and around 1,000 people on the UN payroll, the city has become a major UN location in Europe alongside Geneva and Vienna. Among the UN institutions with headquarters in Bonn are the Climate Secretariat, the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the UN Volunteers Programme. Other UN institutions address issues such as early warning of natural disasters, conservation and biodiversity protection, water, health, vocational training and sustainable tourism. The foundations for Bonn‘s development as the German UN city were laid on 20 June 1996, exactly five years after the German Bundestag voted to move the capital from Bonn to Berlin. With a host of cross links and cooperations between the UN, federal ministries, development services, commercial enterprises, scientific institutes, media organisations and around 150 international or internationally active NGOs, Bonn offers considerable expertise in environmental and development issues and has successfully positioned itself as a “sustainability capital”. A visible symbol of that development is the Bonn UN campus, which is currently being upgraded with a new 17-storey 8,400 sq m building. The building will provide 330 modern workspaces for the UNFCCC Secretariat (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). For current information and overviews of all UN agencies in Bonn, go to:
Bonn – the Federal City
An agreement to ensure a fair long-term division of labour between Berlin as federal capital and Bonn as federal city is contained in the Berlin/Bonn Act adopted in 1994. Under that agreement, political functions need to be retained and promoted in the Federal City in the following policy areas:
- education and science, culture, research and technology, telecommunications
- environment and health
- food, agriculture and forestry
- development policy, national, international and supranational institutions
Today, Bonn is the principal seat of six federal ministries with mandates covering the policy areas defined at that time. These ministries have particularly close physical links with the institutions that already existed or were subsequently established in Bonn.
Bonn as a conference centre
In recent years Bonn has developed into an attractive location for conferences and events. The completion and opening of the main building of the World Conference Center in June 2015 marked the creation of additional capacities. The WorldCCBonn can now cater for events for up to 7,000 persons. The former plenary chamber of the German Bundestag also forms part of the WorldCCBonn complex. Other historical venues include the Steigenberger Grandhotel Petersberg in Königswinter. The Maritim Hotel Bonn, with its conference hall for 2,800 participants and 15 other conference rooms, and the lifestyle and design hotel Kameha Grand Bonn, with an event area for 2,500 persons, offer conference facilities of an international standard. A wide range of event facilities are also available at the Bonn museums, the Beethovenhalle and the city‘s scientific institutions.
International labour market
International professional and managerial personnel play a decisive role not only in the community of around 20 UN agencies based in Bonn and the city's non-governmental organisations but also in the corporate head offices of the Deutsche Post DHL Group, Deutsche Telekom, Postbank and numerous other service and manufacturing companies. The scientific institutions also have a magnetic attraction for international scientists and researchers. Within the framework of the regional "Bündnis für Fachkräfte" ("Alliance for Skilled Labour"), the Office for Economic Development coordinates activities in the area of "internationality and integration". Through its location marketing activities, it also actively promotes the City of Bonn to attract more foreign enterprises and assist employers in matters such as the accreditation of foreign specialist personnel. In addition, the City of Bonn has appointed "business ambassadors" to encourage early consideration of Bonn as a destination for company relocations, a location for joint ventures and a venue for conferences. They thus provide constructive support for the location marketing activities of the Economic Development Office and help further enhance Bonn's international profile.