Despite its moderate size of about 190,000 inhabitants, Geneva plays a vital role in multilateral diplomacy and international cooperation. Geneva owes its reputation as the “the world’s smallest metropolis” to the presence of numerous international organizations, including the European headquarters of the United Nations, the headquarters of numerous agencies of the United Nations, of the World Trade Organization and the Red Cross.
Geneva is the located at the banks of the Lac Léman, at the foot of the Alps, and directly borders France. In fact, the city of Geneva shares more of its borders with France than it does with the rest of Switzerland. On a clear day, Geneva offers a splendid view on the Mont Blanc, which is only an hour drive from the city centre.
United Nations Office at Geneva – Le Palais des Nations
The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) is the second-largest duty station of the United Nations after New York. About 8,000 meetings are held each year at the Palais des Nations, making it one of the busiest and most important conference centre in the world. The main fields of activity of the UN in Geneva are humanitarian assistance, economic, trade and development activities, disarmament negotiations, as well as science and technology.
The Palais des Nations was originally built to serve as the headquarters of the League of Nations, and has been home to the European headquarters of the United Nations since 1946. The bulding is located in a large and beautiful park (Park Ariana), right on the shores of Lake Geneva. The park was a gift to the City of Geneva by Gustave de Revilliod de la Rive in 1890, attached to three conditions: first, that the park always remain open to the public, that he be buried in the park, and that peacocks should roam freely on the premises. The City of Geneva later transferred the park the League of Nations, and then to the United Nations. Today, two of the three conditions are still kept by the UN: Gustave de Revilliod de la Riveis buried in the Park Ariana, and peacocks are a frequent sight on the UN premises. However, due to security regulations, the park is no longer open to the public.
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