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Birthday of the United Nations: Bonn celebrates UN Day on Market Square

Germany’s United Nations City is again celebrating United Nations Day with a colorful festival with music, children's activities and information booths on Saturday, October 21, 2023, from 11:15 am to 4 pm.

United Nations Day will again bring the work of UN Bonn closer to the people. On Saturday, 21 October 2023, around 30 institutions active in Bonn will once again present themselves in the traditional tent city on Bonn’s Market Square. The focus of this year’s citizens festival will be on the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their development policy dimensions. "Leaving no one behind" is the motto behind the Goals. By visiting the stands and talking to staff, visitors may find out how the Bonn-based organizations are bringing the SDGs to life.

"50 years of German membership in the United Nations and 27 years of the United Nations in Bonn - I think these success stories are worth celebrating," said Mayor Katja Dörner. She is pleased that the UN birthday can finally be honored again after the long pandemic-related break: "These two birthdays mean successful German participation in shaping international cooperation for peace, democracy and globally sustainable development," emphasizes the Mayor.

Around 30 organizations will present their work

In addition to UN Bonn, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Federal Foreign Office, Engagement Global, the Regional Office of the EU Commission and the German UNESCO Commission, for instance, will also be present in the city center. The association Help - Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe, with which the city of Bonn is cooperating under the solidarity partnership for the Ukrainian city of Kherson, will present its commitment to and in Ukraine, amongst other things. The UN Refugee Agency will set up a tent where visitors may experience first-hand how refugees are accommodated. The city administration itself will also be represented by the Department of Environment and Urban Greening, whose employees will provide information around climate adaptation and prevention. At the SDG Wheel of Fortune provided by the Department of International Affairs and Global Sustainability, visitors can test their knowledge around the Sustainable Development Goals in an entertaining manner.

Music on the stage in front of the Old Town Hall

The band "Re-UNited" made up of employees and family members of the UN in Bonn will provide the musical kick-off for UN Day. Mayor Katja Dörner will officially open the United Nations Day celebration at 11:45 am. The music program will continue with the soul band Absoulution, featuring classic soul hits of the 60s and 70s, but also modern funk pieces on stage. The program continues with Nick Nuttall and Bernadette La Hengst. Nuttall's songs are miniature versions of short stories cast in often melancholic melodies. The Joe Cool Band, Bonn's oldest rock band, still performing with the original line-up, follows as a show band with a broad musical spectrum from 70 years of pop music.

For the very young visitors, there will also be a bouncy castle, face painting and play opportunities.

Reception for UN staff

Traditionally, Bonn's UN Day is complemented by a reception hosted in the Old Town Hall by the City of Bonn for senior members of the United Nations in Bonn. For the first time, newcomers to the UN will be specifically be welcomed during the reception. Mayor Katja Dörner will also present them with a Welcome Booklet for UN senior staff - with vouchers from Bonn institutions helping newcomers get to know the city and its offers. The booklet has been compiled by the city administration's marketing service. 

Germany has been a member of the United Nations for 50 years

On September 18, 1973, the two German states, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR), joined the United Nations. In a solemn ceremony in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, then UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim welcomed both states as the 133rd and 134th  members, raising the flags of both new member states. The Federal Republic of Germany is committed to Bonn as the German city of the United Nations. In 1996, the foundation for a strong UN presence in Bonn was laid with the establishment of the UN Volunteers Program and the UN Climate Secretariat. Today, Bonn’s UN Campus is home to 26 UN agencies with around 1,000 staff members. Together, they work to advance sustainable development worldwide.

The City of Bonn supports the work of the United Nations in Bonn, amongst others, by providing staff services, accompanying international conferences, hosting joint receptions and events, and offering press and public relations measures.