Federal Council grants loan to finance preparatory work for reconstruction of one of ITU headquarters buildings in Geneva

Bern, 24.08.2016 - On 24 August 2016 the Federal Council approved a loan of CHF 12 million to the Foundation for Buildings for International Organisations (FIPOI) to finance preparatory work for the demolition and reconstruction of one of the headquarters buildings of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva.

Founded in 1865, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the specialised United Nations agency for information and communications technologies. First established in Bern in 1868, the ITU moved its headquarters to Geneva in 1948, where it currently has three buildings. 

The oldest of these buildings no longer meets today's fire, earthquake and thermal safety standards or accessibility standards for persons with reduced mobility. Furthermore, the connections between the three headquarters buildings are made difficult by large distances and split levels. The ITU wishes to build a larger building to replace the above-mentioned building, enabling it then to sell its second headquarters building and consolidate its activities in two buildings instead of three. Subject to approval by Parliament, the grant of an interest-free loan of CHF 12 million to the ITU will provide the funding necessary for the preparatory work – namely to finance the architectural competition, the preliminary project and the project plan and to obtain a detailed estimate –  for the demolition of the existing building and construction of a larger building, planned from 2020.

As host state, Switzerland is committed to the proper maintenance of the buildings of International Geneva. It is in Switzerland's interests to support the project of the ITU in order to ensure that it can operate in optimum working conditions and allow it to continue its activities in a building which is functional, safe and adapted to current standards. This support is also essential to strengthen the image of International Geneva as the principal centre of global governance, particularly as the foremost centre for issues related to global internet governance.

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