The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about the United Nations (UN) is its spectacular opulence! After all, all key decisions in the world are made here and its work reaches all corners of the globe. But did you know that you can take a UN tour for a behind the scenes look at UN and learn more about its global impact?
Nairobi is lucky to be the headquarters of the United Nations in Africa and a visit to the city can be coupled by a tour to the UN. The Visitors Service of the United Nations Office at Nairobi was established in 2012, and complements the guided tours already existing at the UN offices in Geneva, New York and Vienna. It is also important to note that the United Nations Office in Nairobi is the global headquarters for the UN-Habitat and UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme. In addition, it is home to 22 other United Nations agencies and programmes. The United Nations in Nairobi is one of the four UN headquarters in the world, and the third largest as well as being the only one in a developing Country. This makes it a key and busy UN facility.
The United Nations Office Nairobi is located in Gigiri, which is about 10 KM North of Nairobi’s Central Business District. The area is next to Karura Forest and is easily accessible by public means. The 146 acre UN Gigiri complex grounds was a donation from the Kenya government in 1975 and this is when the UNEP office was established. The Secretariat set up the United Nations Offices Nairobi in 1996.
There are three types of UN Tours you can take up:
This is a one hour walking tour through the complex. You will get to walk through the famous corridor of world flags as well visit the conference rooms where world leaders convene. The tour will have you learning more about the work of the UN in Kenya, Africa and the Global Community. While taking the Tour, you also get to see and marvel at various Artworks donated by member states including a visit to the memorial garden and VIP garden.
Green Building Tour
The UN Complex in Gigiri has a green building which hosts the global headquarters of the UN Environment Programme and the UN-Habitat, which is the Human Settlements Programme. The tour in this energy neutral building is technical and explains the energy saving and producing facilities. It has earned accolades for being the first building in Africa that is energy neutral. The building is designed to use natural flow of air as a substitute to air conditioning, and it contains solar panels to generate all the energy that the building might consume. Moreover, the building, opened in March 2011, recycles water and uses natural light to reduce reliance on artificial lighting.
Walking Tour with UN overview Briefing
This walking tour is combined with a presentation which explains history, structure, and work of the UN in more detail. It is a special offer for groups and takes approximately two hours. The briefing takes place in a conference setting and an expert from one of the UN agencies hosted at the complex is invited to speak upon request.
The tours can be offered in English, French, Chinese, Kiswahili or German. Visit the UN Visitors Service and book your visit to the UN Headquarters in Africa. It’s your world!