The Swiss government has called on parliament to approve a loan of CHF438.4 million ($440 million) for renovation projects at international organisations in Geneva.
The funds are destined for the refurbishment of the Palais des Nations – the European headquarters of the United Nations – and reconstruction of main offices of the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the International Labour Organization (ILO).
“Maintaining International Geneva’s housing stock is one the core elements of Switzerland’s host state policy,” the foreign ministry said on Wednesday in a statement.
The policy is part of efforts to consolidate efficient and high-quality multilateral activities and helps boost the image of Geneva and of Switzerland abroad, while offering the country a platform for promoting its interests, the statement adds.
Besides the contribution from the Swiss government to be approved by parliament, Geneva authorities will also pay towards the total estimated renovation costs of CHF836.5 million.
The Palais des Nations was built in the early 1930s and has played a prominent role the history of modern international relations. It initially served as seat of the former League of Nations, which later became the UN.
The complex hosts around 10,000 UN employees, more than the official headquarters in New York.
The UN General Assembly agreed to the renovation project in Geneva last December. Work is due to begin next year and be completed by 2023.
swissinfo.ch and agencies