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UN Head Quarters in Podgorica

Podgorica, 8 September 2010 – The foundation stone for the UN Head Quarters in Podgorica has been laid today! UNDP Chief Administrator, Mrs Hellen Clark and Montenegrin Prime Minister, Mr Milo Djukanovic, put the foundation stone near Podgorica Millennium bridge for the first ecological and energy independent UN building in the world, the idea of which has been initiated eight years ago.

As soon as the idea had been born, the Austrian Development Agency, together with WUS Austria, as an implementing agency, accepted to enter into cooperation agreement with national and municipal authorities in Montenegro. In February 2002 the heads of five UN organizations in Montenegro have submitted the formal and official request to Montenegrin Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mayor of Podgorica asking for their support for the construction of UN premises. State organs have accepted the request so in 2003 official agreement has been signed, according to which Municipality of Podgorica has given land as a gift, which is located in the place of former military premises, next to Moraca river, and the project is released of all taxes.

In November 2005, an architectural competition was launched in Tyrol/Austria, by WUS Austria, for the design of the new premises. Since Montenegro declares itself to be an "Ecological State", according to the 1992 Constitution, it was decided that this UN building should be the showcase example of environmentally friendly design and first such UN headquarter in the world. Since Austria has already various projects in Montenegro with the aim to support the sustainable development of the country and Austrian architects have an extensive expertise in building along ecological principles, it made perfect sense to launch this architectural competition in Austria as a means of knowledge transfer from Austria to Montenegro. Finally, Bureau Fügenschuh and his idea have been selected as the best architectural solution in 2006.

Memorandum on construction of UN eco building was signed on 11th April 2006 by the representatives of Montenegrin Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Austrian Development Agency, and the Ministry for Economic Development has issued the first document of urban and technical conditions of the parcel. All preparatory works have been finished until the following year. UN, ADA and Montenegrin Government have approved the concept, finances have been provided, and the design of the solution with entire technical details has been chosen and completed in December 2008. Beside EUR 900.000 from the Austrian Development Agency, it has been predicted that the costs for the Government of Montenegro for the UN eco building will be EUR 2.7 million, while UN agencies in Montenegro will invest around EUR 250.000 for the expenses of management.

UN eco building will be placed on a parcel of 4000 sq.m., while the surface of the building will be 1400 sq.m. It has been designed to independently produce the energy for its functioning. Photovoltaic production of electricity shall satisfy the needs of the entire building, while the water, heated by solar energy, will reduce the need for heating with boilers which use fossil fuels. Underground water level will be used for cooling and heating, which will enable the pleasant temperature inside the facility throughout the year.