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Federal Foreign Office Liaison Office for the Bonn UN Campus

By Rita Maria Schätzel, FFO Liaison Office in Bonn

Since 1999, the Liaison Office, which now has 13 members of staff at the Federal Foreign Office site in Bonn, has been the first port of call on matters relating to protocol and international law for 33 United Nations institutions, including 24 at the UN Campus in Bonn and another 20 international organisations in Germany, and their staff. 

The largest United Nations bodies in Bonn are the UNFCC Secretariat, the UNCCD Secretariat and the United Nations Volunteers programme. The international organisations we look after include the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich, the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, to name but some. 

The Liaison Office functions as an interface between the international organisations and the German authorities and works to fulfil the mandate issued by the Federal Government to strengthen and develop Bonn as the central UN location in Germany and as an international centre of excellence for sustainable development.

As part of our protocol-related support for the UN institutions and international organisations based in Germany, which enjoy privileged status under international law, we answer questions regarding that status in implementation of UN conventions and the privileges and immunities set forth in the headquarters agreements.

We work to attract UN institutions to the UN Campus in Bonn and have lead responsibility for the drafting, coordination and implementation in Germany of the headquarters agreements for UN offices newly established in Germany.

In 2020, for example, we were able to welcome UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research), UNRISD (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development) and GWOPA (Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance) to the City of Bonn.

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), too, has chosen Bonn as its new location. In 2021, an office of the ECMWF will be established in Bonn; it is to number 150 staff members by 2023 and will also receive protocol support from the Liaison Office.

The Liaison Office is the point of contact and source of advice on visa issues in connection with UN conferences being held in Germany. It manages the facilities of the UN Campus in Bonn, with its just under 1000 members of staff, and the international nursery, in cooperation with the Institute for Federal Real Estate, which owns the campus. It also aims to strengthen Bonn as a UN location through its public relations work.

Every year we issue protocol cards for approx. 2600 officials and their family members and assist with some 5000 visas required by staff of the UN and international organisations or by participants in their conferences.

Every year in October, on United Nations Day, we have a stand in Bonn’s market square for the information event organised by the City of Bonn. We very much hope that this event can take place again in 2021. Come and see us at our stand on United Nations Day! 

Anyone seeking further information about Bonn as a centre of international cooperation, sustainable development and innovation can visit the Federal Foreign Office website and download or order the brochure published annually in seven languages by the Liaison Office: