United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON)

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The United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) is one of four major United Nations office sites[a] where numerous different UN agencies have a joint presence. Established in 1996, it is the UN's headquarters in Africa [1].

In November 2004, the United Nations Security Council held a rare session at Nairobi to discuss the takeover of southern and western Sudan. The meeting was convened at the urging of then-Ambassador John Danforth of the United States.


The complex of buildings is located next to the Karura Forest in the Gigiri district of Nairobi, along United Nations Avenue. It stands across the street from the US Embassy in Kenya.

The UN complex contains a 'green' building, a complete energy and carbon-neutral building, housing UNEP and UN-Habitat offices. The building is the first of its kind in Africa, recycling water and using natural light to reduce reliance on artificial lighting. In addition, the building is designed to use the 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. It was opened on 31 March 2011 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.

Burned Trees, a series of sculptures designed by Monegasque artist Philippe Pastor aimed at drawing attention to forest conflagrations, has been exhibited continuously at the office since 2006.

Constituent Agencies

Headquartered at Nairobi:

  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP or UN Environment)
  • United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)

Presence at Nairobi:

  • Food and Agriculture Organization
  • International Civil Aviation Organization
  • International Labour Organization
  • International Maritime Organization
  • International Monetary Fund
  • Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
  • United Nations Centre for Regional Development, Africa Office
  • UN Women
  • United Nations Development Programme
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
  • United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization
  • United Nations High Commission for Refugees
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization
  • United Nations Children's Fund
  • United Nations Common Air Services
  • United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
  • United Nations Office for Project Services
  • United Nations Political Office for Somalia
  • United Nations Population Fund
  • World Bank
  • World Food Programme
  • World Health Organization

UNON also hosts the annual East Africa Model United Nations Conference for secondary school and University students from East Africa.


UNON is headed by a Director-General, a UN official at the Under-Secretary-General level. The incumbent Director-General, Hanna Tetteh, a former foreign minister of Ghana, was appointed in July 2018. Prior to her appointment, four other individuals had served in the position.[12]

  • Sahle-Work Zewde, Ethiopia, 2011–2018
  • Achim Steiner, Brazil, 2010–2011
  • Anna Tibaijuka, Tanzania, 2006–2009
  • Klaus Töpfer, Germany, 1998–2006

External Links