A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) has been signed in Hanoi for the construction of Green One UN House in a partnership between the Government of Vietnam and the United Nations (UN). The scheme will see an existing residential building at 304 Kim Ma Street in Hanoi transformed into an eco-friendly commercial base for UN work in the country, bringing together all United Nations organisations under one roof. Staff are currently separated into over ten different offices.
On completion, the building will use energy and water more efficiently and have a reduced environmental footprint, not only having a more sustainable outlook but enabling cost efficiencies for the UN. Construction costs are to be covered by the Government of Vietnam, the UN Country Team and a number of international donors including Australia, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Switzerland. The Vietnam Government has agreed to a 10-year rent-free contract for all UN organisations.
The preliminary survey and design was undertaken by architects from the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok before an international tender was issued for the renovation and retrofitting, eventually won by architects GHD.
Of their concept, GHD says: “The project involves the gutting and refurbishment of an existing apartment building and construction of 2,500 sq m. Green features include extensive use of green roofs, drought tolerant landscaping, low water use fittings, energy efficient lighting and air conditioning, use of low voc materials, extensive re-use of recycled materials and photovoltaic panels that will produce around 10% of the total building energy requirements.”
Speaking on the signing of the MOA at the end of December, UN Resident Co-ordinator Pratibha Mehta said: “The Green One UN House will further enhance the UN’s efforts to ‘deliver as one’ in Vietnam and will make us a stronger and more efficient UN Country Team to support the country’s development. With its green building features, the Green One UN House will also demonstrate the UN’s commitment to environmental sustainability.”
The global ‘Delivering as One’ reform initiative was launched in 2006 when the governments of eight countries - Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay, and Viet Nam - volunteered to become ‘Delivering as One’ pilot countries. The eight countries agreed to capitalise on the strengths and comparative advantages of the different members of the UN family and look at ways to increase the UN system’s impact.