UNOPS constructing new UN House in Bhutan

Thimphu – Construction is underway on a new environmentally-friendly UN House in Bhutan, designed to bring all UN agencies under one roof and increase efficiency, under the UN’s ‘Delivering as One’ initiative.

The new building will provide accommodation for five United Nations agencies that are currently operating in various locations around Bhutan.

UNOPS is providing project management and physical infrastructure services to the UN House project, ensuring all works comply with international building best practice standards, on behalf of the UN agencies who will occupy the space. These are: the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Children's Fund, the World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations Development Programme.

The United Nations Delivering as One initiative is designed to reduce costs for countries hosting UN agencies and to enhance the coherence, efficiency and effectiveness of UN operations through the establishment of joint offices where appropriate. It aims to make development operations more strategic and effective, harness expertise from across the UN system, and create links that increase the UN’s ability to help countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Bhutan is one of the 'self-starter' countries that signed up to the Delivering as One pilot initiative in 2007, whose governments asked the United Nations to engage in reform efforts despite not being a formal pilot.

The UN House is being constructed on land donated by the Royal Government of Bhutan at Kawajangsa in the capital city of Thimphu and will be a modern adaptation of a traditional Bhutanese architectural style, spread over 1,645 m².

The entire compound is designed to facilitate a healthy, safe and environmentally-friendly working environment, with efficient water and energy use built in. The offices will overlook a central courtyard, to facilitate teamwork and comply with UN safety requirements. The site’s natural gradient is reflected in the building plan with the inclusion of a sunken floor nesting in the slope.

Construction of the complex started in May. UNOPS is managing the process and a national contractor has been contracted to complete the works, which are scheduled to finish by August 2013.

UNOPS is mandated to expand the capacity of the United Nations and its partners by providing common project management, infrastructure, and procurement services.