Overview: The UN institutions in Germany
Most UN institutions in Germany are located in Bonn but there are also UN bodies in Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Nuremberg and Munich. A summary of all UN organisations based in Germany is available here.
Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The Framework Convention on Climate Change was concluded in 1992 and helps countries meet the challenges of climate change. The aim is to achieve sustainable levels of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 spells out a number of its commitments in more concrete terms. Furthermore, the Secretariat organises conferences and assists governments and institutions in developing technology aimed at countering the consequences of climate change.
Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
As early as 1992, desertification was identified as one of the biggest challenges of our time at the Earth Summit in Rio. Since the Convention entered into force in 1994, the work of this multilateral project has focused on promoting sustainable development in arid ecosystems. Its aim is to prevent increasing areas of land turning into desert and to alleviate the effects of drought in Africa in particular.
United Nations Volunteers Programme (UNV)
Since 1970, UNV has been the central coordinating body for voluntary service within the United Nations. UNV mobilises experienced and committed people who – either in the field or online – give their time and expertise to support development. In 2014, 6325 volunteers from 155 countries were serving on behalf of UNV. They were working at UN organisations in 121 countries, 2639 volunteers were at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), 1917 at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and 913 at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The programme is run by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
UN SDG Action Campaign
The Action Campaign for the Sustainable Development Goals has been designed for the purpose of inspiring people to take action with a view to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. It links up the efforts of everyone involved, creates synergies, compiles citizen-generated data, communicates progress to the general public, and promotes the exchange of best practices, as well as the development and testing of innovative ideas.
Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (UNEP/CMS)
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, which is also known as the Bonn Convention, was concluded by 116 countries in 1979. It is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and lays down binding norms for the global protection of species under threat. Under its auspices, a number of international agreements relating to particular migratory species have also been concluded.
Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of African‑Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (UNEP/AEWA)
The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) is an international agreement concluded in 1995 under the auspices of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). The Agreement protects 255 species of waterbirds in 119 countries.
Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (UNEP/ASCOBANS)
The Agreement concluded by 10 European countries in 1991 protects all species of small cetaceans with the exception of sperm whales in the North and Baltic Seas. The Secretariat collects and disseminates relevant information on the implementation of the Agreement, organises the meetings of the Agreement’s bodies and Advisory Committees as well as assisting with their work.
Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (UNEP/EUROBATS)
EUROBATS was concluded in 1991 under the auspices of UNEP/CMS. It provides for the protection of 52 European bat species, the monitoring of bat populations and the identification of key bat conservation habitats.
Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
The UN General Assembly gave the go-ahead for the establishment of this advisory body on 21 December 2010 in New York. Its task is to collate and analyse scientific data on the protection of biodiversity worldwide and propose courses of action. Since early 2014 the Platform has been based at the UN Campus Bonn.
UNESCO International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNESCO-UNEVOC)
The Centre is dedicated to helping UNESCO member states all over the world to develop and improve their vocational training systems as well as further training in the workplace. It coordinates around 280 organisations and institutions in the sphere of vocational training in 165 countries, including national ministries and research institutes.
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) - Liaison Office Bonn
The task of UNISDR is to mobilise and support actors and resources at national, regional and international level in the ISDR system to strengthen disaster reduction. The Bonn Office maintains contact with the UN organisations in Bonn and relevant German institutions (e.g. the German Committee for Disaster Reduction).
UN Platform for Space‑Based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UNOOSA/UN‑SPIDER)
SPIDER, a programme operated by the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) in Vienna, was adopted at the recommendation of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) by the UN General Assembly on 14 December 2006. It is intended to greatly enhance access to space data for disaster prevention and management. Moreover it functions as an internationally recognised interface between space agencies and users, thus making possible rapid orientation in the event of disaster and ensuring access to space-based information for states affected as well as for national and international aid organisations.
United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC) – German liaison office
The United Nations Regional Information Centre in Brussels (UNRIC) in Brussels and its German Liaison Office in Bonn serve as the UN’s contact point in Germany. As part of the UN Department of Public Information, UNRIC’s main task is to disseminate information on the work of the United Nations. UNRIC also coordinates joint press and PR activities for UN Bonn.
United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU‑EHS)
The staff of the Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) carry out research into the vulnerability of societies facing natural and human-induced hazards, e.g. natural and environmental disasters.
United Nations University – Vice Rectorate in Europe (UNU‑ViE)
The UNU-ViE was set up as the first UNU Vice Rectorate outside Tokyo, the main seat of the university. The aim of the Vice Rectorate is to strengthen the presence of the UNU in Europe and to develop close ties among bodies in the UN system, governments, universities and research institutes, as well as other agencies. In doing so, it acts as a forum for dialogue and an exchange of ideas, particularly on the development of capacities in developing countries. The Vice Rectorate in Europe focuses on questions relating to science and technology in the service of human safety, as well as sustainability research and e-learning.
United Nations University – Vice Rectorate in Europe - Operating Unit SCYCLE (UNU-ViE-SCYCLE)
The Operating Unit SCYCLE seeks to enable societies to reduce the environmental burden of the production, use and disposal of consumer goods. SCYCLE – a unit of the United Nations University Vice Rectorate based in Bonn – stands for “sustainable cycles”.
UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development
In January 2016, another United Nations institution opened its doors in Bonn. It is a key component of the training academy of the UN System Staff College based in Turin, Italy. In line with the shared goal of the UN in Bonn, “Shaping a Sustainable Future,” basic and further training for key players in the United Nations, government representatives, civil society and the private sector is now being offered in Bonn in the field of sustainable development. The focus is on Agenda 2030 with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
World Health Organization – European Centre for Environment and Health (WHO‑ECEH)
The centre is an office of the WHO and provides information and advice to the media, society and member states on the impact of environmental hazards on people’s health. It focuses in particular on air, noise, housing, healthy working conditions and chemical safety.
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Investment and Technology Promotion Office Germany (ITPO Germany)
In May 2017, UNIDO opened an Investment and Technology Promotion Office Germany (ITPO Germany) in the UN city of Bonn. The project is receiving financial support from the Federal Government. The office will bring together potential German investors from the private sector and representatives from developing countries (e.g. business associations, delegations and government representatives) for networking and joint ventures. Germany is a very interesting partner for developing countries thanks to, for example, its sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies. UNIDO currently operates 8 of these ITPOs, in industrialised as well as developing countries.
International Labour Organization – Representation in Germany (ILO)
The International Labour Organization, founded in Geneva in 1919, is the specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for labour and social policy. The International Labour Conference which takes place annually at the International Labour Office, the organisation’s permanent secretariat, crafts and adopts international agreements in important areas of labour and social policy. Over time this has lead to a network of international rules being created, which serves to protect working people’s rights around the world and which is aimed at securing fair international competition.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – Regional Representation for Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic (UNHCR)
UNHCR activities in Germany focus on the field of legal protection for asylum-seekers and recognised refugees. The UNHCR Agency’s legal advisers comment on codes of practice as well as amendments to the content of asylum law, sometimes at the request of governmental agencies or the German Bundestag and its committees, from an international perspective.
International Organization for Migration
IOM is represented in Germany through its main office in Berlin and an additional office in Nuremberg. IOM is further located in Bremerhaven and Rhineland-Palatinate. IOM advocates for humane and orderly migration and supports the implementation of the 2030 Agenda through its work in different areas that include humanitarian assistance, sustainable development and peacebuilding. In Germany, the Organization’s main areas of work include return and reintegration, resettlement and humanitarian admission, family reunification, crisis response, resource mobilization, research and psychosocial support. IOM, which encompasses 175 Member States, was incorporated into the United Nations system in 2016 as a related Organization. Germany has been a Member of IOM since 1954.
World Food Programme (WFP)
As the most important United Nations institution in the fight against hunger, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) must always react swiftly to emergencies. At the same time it works on ensuring long-term food security.
In 2015, WFP and Germany explored new avenues of cooperation by opening the WFP Innovation Accelerators in Munich. In times of many different crises, the centre will enable WFP and its partners to devise innovative and sustainable solutions for the new challenges in the sphere of emergency aid as well as development programmes.
Office of the World Bank in Berlin
The World Bank supports developing countries around the world by means of financial and technical assistance. It provides low-interest or interest-free loans for investment in education, health, public administration, infrastructure, the development of the private and financial sectors, agriculture and the management of natural resources.
United Nations University – Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU‑FLORES)
UNU-FLORES plans international strategies on sustainable use of resources, particularly the integrated management of natural resources such as water, soil and waste. The focus lies on emerging and developing countries. Water, soil, waste management and contaminated sites are all topics of research.
International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank
The IFC deals with the fields of investment, consultancy and wealth management on behalf of the World Bank, and offers its knowledge to customers in more than 100 developing countries. Within this context it provides companies with both short and long-term financing solutions which are also combined with advice on boosting growth.
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea was established pursuant to the1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea and has been based in Hamburg since 1996. Its 21 judges can be called upon to settle disputes between States Parties to the Convention regarding issues of navigation, use of the ocean floor, fishing and the marine environment.
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL)
The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, founded in 1951, is a non-profit international research, information, training, documentation and publication centre of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). As one of three educational institutes of UNESCO the UIP concentrates primarily on adult and further education, literacy and non-formal basic education with a view to lifelong learning.
UNHCR activities in Germany focus on the field of legal protection for asylum-seekers and recognised refugees. The UNHCR Agency’s legal advisers comment on codes of practice as well as amendments to the content of asylum law, sometimes at the request of governmental agencies or the German Bundestag and its committees, from an international perspective. The Sub-Office in Nuremberg coordinates its work with the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).
World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator
The United Nations World Food Programme established its Innovation Accelerator in 2015 to speed up the development of innovative approaches for a world without hunger. The Accelerator is an instrument employed in the startup sector and aims to identify and promote new creative tools, with a view to more effectively helping in humanitarian crisis situations and reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Click here to find out more about the work and addresses of the UN institutions in Germany:
United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC)