ASTANA – The United Nations regional branch in Almaty, a bigger building equipped with modern facilities, was unveiled during an Oct. 23 opening ceremony. The new headquarters, which will cluster 19 UN agencies and representative offices in one place, will be occupied by the end of the year, reported the Almaty Akimat (administration) press service.
“This new office creates new opportunities for interaction not only with international organisations, but also with the talented youth of the country,” said Afshan Khan, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.
The new office, located in the city’s business district, should facilitate achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and humanitarian aid provisions, as well as respond to emergency situations in Central Asia and Afghanistan, he added.
Almaty Akim (Mayor) Baurzhan Baibek, speaking on behalf of the city, said committing to SDGs is the city’s main interest. He added creating a UN regional hub in Almaty was a priority for the mayor’s office.
Baibek cited SDG examples such as Gorod dlya lyudei (City for the people), which resulted in modernising public spaces, especially for people with disabilities. The Ustoichivyi Transport (Sustainable Transport) project was designed in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“We are conducting systematic work to make the city a regional hub for international organisations. Considering that the Summit of Mayors is taking place today dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the signing of the WHO (World Health Organisation) Almaty Declaration, I am sure that the presentation of the new UN house will be a golden line in the history of our common cooperation,” he said.
The hub’s status still needs to be revised by the UN Secretariat.