The complex is located on a large plot of land in Brasilia donated by national authorities and is named after Sérgio Vieira de Mello, a Brazilian High Commissioner who dedicated his career to the United Nations before dying in a terrorist attack on UN premises in Baghdad in 2003.
UNOPS is responsible for the project design and planning process, the procurement processes and the construction of the new premises, which will be comprised of two main buildings. The first building, taking up nearly 3,000m², was constructed in less than a year and within budget. It houses the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Department of Safety and Security, the United Nations Volunteer Programme and the UNOPS Brazil office.
UNOPS will also implement the construction of the second section between 2013 and 2014. This addition will accommodate four other agencies: the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Population Fund.
In line with the UN’s Common Premises and Delivering as One initiatives, the project aims to increase the coordination and collaboration among United Nations agencies.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Brazil, Jorge Chediek said: "The new UN House will serve as a bridge between Brazil and the rest of the world."
Brazil’s foreign minister, government officials, ministers and the diplomatic community were among those to attend the inauguration of the first building at the end of 2012.
In his special message for the event, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: "This UN House will allow you to pool your expertise and generate real results. I hope that as you work together under one roof, you also advance jointly towards our shared goals of development in Brazil and around the world."
UNOPS had no presence in Brazil before it was selected as implementing partner for the UN House complex in October 2011. Since then, UNOPS has supported UNDP and the Government of Brazil in their organization of the Rio+20 sustainability conference and is currently working on establishing temporary office space to accommodate four agencies during the design and construction of Module 2 of the complex.