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A very large screen projects a speaker behind the panel members in one of the UN conference rooms.

“A technological upgrade is a major part of elevating the United Nations to the exigencies of the multilateralism of the future. It goes back to the Secretary-General’s core vision of a more inclusive, networked, and effective multilateralism. Hybrid conferencing has made it possible for people in the most remote corners of the world to have a say in our work and actively engage with a network of global experts.”

Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of UN Geneva 

UN Geneva, a centre for modern conferencing

The United Nations Office at Geneva, one of the largest conference centres in Europe, plays a significant role in addressing a wide range of topics on the UN agenda. Our embrace of technology to facilitate online and hybrid conferencing enables a more inclusive and effective multilateralism that is fit for the 21st century. 

Leading by example, UN Geneva was also one of the first United Nations duty stations to provide modern conferencing services, with high-quality interpretation and translation services, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office quickly adapted and moved from only in-person meetings to adopting tools and technology for live remote participation to maintain business continuity. UN Geneva has progressively upgraded its conference rooms since 2020. The Strategic Heritage Plan further adapted its technical designs for the conference rooms currently under renovation. The modernized rooms will continue to be excellent venues for in-person meetings as well as providing the necessary technology to allow for meetings with remote participation in various formats. 

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the crucial role of in-person interactions in multilateral diplomacy particularly for discussion on sensitive issues, and the opportunities for informal discussions which are often crucial to advance negotiations. At the same time, it also showed that remote participation allows expanded access and more active high-level engagement. With these upgrades UN Geneva will therefore be ready to provide remote participation in the long term to Member States, either in the context of business continuity or a future framework for remote participation.  

The Office continues to adapt to technological trends and participants’ demands to remain at the cutting edge of conferencing and events. The ongoing Conferencing Today and Tomorrow initiative builds on our relationship and engagement with clients, to identify how major trends (COVID, economic, technological, social, environmental etc.), may impact conferencing in the future. UN Geneva, therefore, remains well placed to be a centre for modern conferencing far into the future.