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Fri 15 Jan 2010 12:01 PM

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Dubai offers to host UN headquarters

UPDATE 1: UAE makes efforts to assume full role as crucial member of the int'l community.

Dubai offers to host UN headquarters
UN HEADQUARTERS: Currently, the UN headquarters are based in New York. (Getty Images)

Dubai said on Friday it has offered to host the headquarters of the United Nations should the global organisation want to leave New York, a sign the Gulf emirate's ambitions remain high despite its debt problems.

"The government of Dubai announces that it is fully prepared to host the UN headquarters on its territory in the event its officials take the decision to move from New York," the Dubai government said a statement.

Dubai's offer comes days after an article by an academic and a real estate developer on the website of Forbes magazine called for the United Nations to relocate to Dubai.

"Bringing the United Nations to Dubai makes sense," wrote Joel Kotkin, a fellow in urban futures at Chapman University, and Robert J. Cristiano, the California university's "real estate professional in residence".

"New York gets rid of one of its worst welfare cheats, and Dubai finds new tenants to fill its towers," they said, describing the UN headquarters as a "pain" which "pays no taxes and annoys hard-working New Yorkers with its sloth, pretensions and cavalier disregard for traffic laws".

Dubai, which has gained worldwide attention for its real estate projects, shocked global markets in November when it said it would request a standstill agreement on billions of dollars of debt.

The global financial crisis saw many real estate projects delayed or shelved in the emirate, but construction has barely stopped and new projects are still coming on line.

Earlier this month, Dubai's ruler inaugurated the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

"Dubai has already built something that looks the part of a 21st-century world capital," Kotkin and Cristiano wrote.

"Let it get a cast appropriate for its glittering set." (Reuters)

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Martib 10 years ago

Thumbs up, that was my laugh of the day!

Karim Fastak 10 years ago

What a beautiful dream, hosting the UN here. It would be so great for Dubai, for us, and an amazing recognition of Dubai's ambitions and vision. However, we should also think of what this means. For those who did not enjoy the outside media and organizations criticizing Dubai, well guess what, if the UN is here, those critics will be your neighbors! The UN move will attract all kind of agencies and bodies and journalists here! Here a few fundamental things that need to evolve or else major problems will soon emerge: - Equality: equal treatment of every single person in Dubai, from construction workers to CEOs and nationals. This applies to employment, law, health, respect... - Evolution of the law to accept "western" norms and stop excessive punishment: ex. no more jailing a non-married couple staying in a hotel together, or using the deportation law freely - Freedom and transparency: freedom of speech, transparency on laws (especially in real estate and finance, not abusing investors), transparency on the judicial process... If these fundamental things don't evolve, then whatever negative news Dubai faced in the past year will actually be just a taste of what will come in the future. I am assuming that the government of Dubai recognizes the implications and the needs, and therefore them welcoming the UN means their willingness to evolve in this direction, which is great and exciting! otherwise... we're in for a bumpy ride...

Shady Sammy 10 years ago

I do agree with comments of Karim Fastak.

Punky Brewster 10 years ago

Let's INPROVE our attitudes on Human Rights than just IMPROVE our image by hosting the UN. UAE can do wonders with such an exposure, but deep inside, we are selfish in some way or the other.

David 10 years ago

Do you seriously think the Americans would allow the UN to be based in UAE, an Arab country? When Dubai bought its Ports business to become DPW, the Americans made them sell all the Ports' operations in America as they would not have an Arab-owned business operating in a "crucial" area of their commerce. Great idea to move some of the parasites that make up the UN, but make it is a sensible place where they have to work with no distraction to hose taxpayers money everywhere. Somalia sounds a good start-sorry, Arab again. Stick the UN in Dubai and its prices would go even higher-might help Nakheel's share price, though. And no, I am not a Dubai knocker like so many others.

Andy Ramz 10 years ago

I am all for keeping the vision on high beam and thinking ahead. But, can't Dubai take a short break and abstain from making extravagant aspirations such as hosting UN. What we need now is a breathing time, get our act together, clear up the prevaialing mess, as much as possible (we don't need highly paid consultants to spell out the mess, do we?). Go Dubai Go.... but, be sensible and show the world that we have leant a thing or two from the last couple of seasons. Othewise, we will continue to have crdibility deficit.

Ismail Mohd 10 years ago

Hey, hold on a moment. I would vouch for any giant business entity's mvoing here to Dubai, or even Olympic committe headquarters , but not UN heardquartes , no matter how spineless it is , it is our last hope of human right justice. A country who wish to host an organization of the stature of UN which should stand for everything that free thinking society wish for, should primarily qualify for having established free speech, press freedom , right for citizenship, freedom to preach and practice any religion, right to form trade unions, equality , the list is endelss. Let us be very honest on this one. A state's goodwill is not judged by the towers it builds.

HD 10 years ago

Having read the article in Forbes myself it made a lot of sense. The benefits for Dubai out weighed the cost of hosting such an organization. Then I woke up and realized, even if the UN itself hinted it was willing to move here the amount of opposition from western nations would be a firestorm. To add to many reasons already mentioned, would the UN really be based in a nation/region where its illegal for a man and women to live together if they are not married, or some one can make a case against you for swearing at them, or giving them the finger? etc...... Lets not get ahead of ourselves, this nation has come a long way in the last decade that's for sure, but still has much more to go.

Abu Zahra 10 years ago

"In the race for excellence there is no finish line.." something like this was said by Dubai ruler sometime back. Offer to host UN hqrs. perfectly matches his vision. Why not. In fact with the world class accommadation and infrastructure in place, Dubai could host several MNC's especially in the areas of R&D, IT, Conferences and Seminars, Exhibitions etc., where people can fly in and out at short notice. Where on earth can you find a better place than Dubai?

His Excellency Dr Paul 10 years ago

The UN is committed to democratizing the world, its own fund for democracy "supports projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes" The whole idea of moving the UN to a country with no parliament and controlled media is a total non-starter. Much more likely if it moved it would go to Sweden or Switzerland, or a similar country with a history of neutrality, democracy and free media - all of which are essential to the UN's role as the political talking shop of the world.