A "House for the United Nations" in Berlin
The founding of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945 was the international community's response to the unleashing of the Second World War by Germany and the collapse of the League of Nations. In particular, the two major German crimes of the 20th century – the Second World War, which was a war of aggression and annihilation with millions and millions of dead, and the murder of Europe's Jews with more than six million victims of the Holocaust – led the fifty-one founding members to a solemn decision: No country should ever again be allowed to start such a war or commit a million murders.
The safeguarding of world peace through a collective international system and the protection of human rights have been declared to be the supreme tasks of the United Nations. Germany, the land of Luther and Bach, Kant and Goethe, had lost its place among the civilised nations of the world. Back then, there was little to suggest that it could ever win it again. Berlin was at the centre of high culture and science as well as the devastation of Europe by the National Socialists.
The Federal Republic of Germany has made the fundamental goals of the United Nations – the preservation of world peace and the enforcement of human rights – the yardstick of its own policies. Its relationship with the world is marked by a passion for peace, commitment to international understanding and worldwide helpfulness. World responsibility without a claim to power: this is the political consensus of the Germans across the party lines, which is fully in keeping with the spirit of the United Nations Charter.
In view of this agreement of the political goals of Germany and of the United Nations, it is plausible that there should be an original place in Berlin that feels committed to the work of the United Nations and its agencies. This is the place where civil society organisations working under the auspices of the United Nations should have their offices. In its public spaces, the debates on freedom, security, justice and sustainable social, economic-technological and cultural development of a globalised world, as appropriate to the German capital, should be conducted.
The aim of the association "Haus für die Vereinten Nationen e. V." is to create such a place: a competence centre that brings together representatives of Germany and of the United Nations with the broad spectrum of civil society. It deals with the existential questions of the future of a global and often endangered world, and with the strengthening of the United Nations.
In the Agenda 2030, all member states of the United Nations have formulated seventeen Sustainable Development Goals that apply to all member states. It is the task of the "House for the United Nations" to make these development goals known to the public, to discuss them critically and to promote their implementation in a creative manner in association with many committed actors. This House should be open to all citizens who are interested in finding global and national solutions to the problems of sustainable development: here they will find information and contact persons. It mainly targets young people: Their tasks, concerns, opportunities and future are to be negotiated here.
The members of the association are convinced that the "Palais am Festungsgraben" is equipped with ideal conditions to become the "House for the United Nations". The building has the necessary premises for public events and offices. With its proximity to the future Humboldt Forum, the Humboldt Universität, the German Historical Museum, the Federal Foreign Office, the World Heritage Site “Museumsinsel” and other important institutions, it is conveniently located – and is easily accessible to the public of all ages. The location next to the boulevard Unter den Linden also offers an excellent location for the city's guests.
The use of the “Palais am Festungsgraben” as a "House for the United Nations" offers the German capital city of Berlin the opportunity to sustainably promote its status and international reputation as a cosmopolitan city with global responsibility. The location of the United Nations in Bonn is not called into question by such a house – on the contrary: even the UN organisations based in Bonn have the opportunity to use the “Palais am Festungsgraben” as a podium for their work.
These considerations have persuaded the association "Haus für die Vereinten Nationen e. V." to take part in the interest expression procedure of BIM Berliner Immobilienmanagement GmbH. We are convinced that the "House for the United Nations" cannot find a better location, and that the “Palais am Festungsgraben” cannot have a better destination. This constellation is most fortunate for Berlin.
Prof. Dr. Rolf Kreibich
Chairman of the Association
“Haus für die Vereinten Nationen e.V.”