Ban Ki-moon attending UN building inauguration

The UN secretary general joins Queen Margrethe and the PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt in Nordhavn

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, is in Copenhagen to attend the inauguration of the new UN building. Ki-moon will join Queen Margrethe and the prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne), in an official inauguration ceremony today.

The newly-constructed UN building, which includes state-of-the-art facilities and is arguably the most multi-national workplace in Denmark, is located in Copenhagen’s north harbour district of Nordhavn.

“Denmark has hosted UN organisations for more than 50 years. However, this is the first time that they will all be located on the same premises,” the Foreign Ministry wrote in a press release. “The new UN building will enhance efficiency and foster collaboration between the organisations and improve their ability to deliver results on the ground.”

Some 1,000 guests are expected to attend today's ceremony, including the foreign minister, Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), the development minister, Christian Friis Bach (Radikale), and mayor Frank Jensen (S).

Thorning-Schmidt will take the opportunity of Ki-moon’s presence in Copenhagen to meet with the UN secretary general and discuss some present international issues, including the situations in Syria and Afghanistan.

Ki-moon said that he and the UN appreciated Denmark’s actions on the international stage.

“Denmark is a pioneer and I am extremely appreciative of that. Denmark has contributed to numerous peacekeeping missions and has hosted several important UN agencies,” Ki-moon told Politiken newspaper. “I mustn’t forget to thank the exquisite contribution to renovate one of the UN meeting halls with Finn Juhl’s classic furniture.”

The two leaders will also be discussing Ki-moon’s international education initiative, Global Education First Initiative, which Thorning-Schmidt is an advocate of.  

The new UN building, which was designed by the Danish architect firm 3XN, is 45,000 square metres in size and is owned by a consortium including the city and state-owned development company By & Havn and the two pension funds, ATP and PensionDanmark.

The building, which won the 2012 EU Commissioner’s Green Building Award, has a strong environmental profile and is expected to use less than 50 kilowatt hours (kWh) per square metre per year. The building has solar panels on the roof and uses sea water for cooling and rain water for its toilets.

Denmark has hosted UN organisations since 1957.

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