Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Access to UNCC-AA

Q:  Who is authorized to hold meetings at the United Nations Conference Center in Addis Ababa (UNCC-AA)?

A:  The UNCC-AA is open for everyone, UN Agencies, the Private Sector, Inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Universities, Professional Associations, Civil Societies (CSOs), with the exception of Religious Organizations, Ethnic Groups & Political Organizations.


Q:  Which Gate do participants use to access the UNCC-AA?

A:  Gate 3 at Sallcost Gate is used by participants. Vehicles, however, may use Gate 1 for VIPs.  For dropping exhibition materials, pick up cars can access the Centre through the Sallcost Gate.


Q:  How should organizers plan the registration process?

A:  Organizers should plan their registration in relation to the number of participants.  If participants’ number range from 50 – 200, registration could be managed the same day.  Registration could open as early as 7:30 AM.  Overtime cost should, however, be borne by the Organizer.  If participants’ number exceeds 200, UNCC-AA encourages staggering participants, starting from the eve of the event to make the registration process manageable.


Q:  How are registration and badge issuance organized at the UNCC-AA?

A:  Badges are issued by the UN Security Personnel at the Delegates Registration Building (DRB).  The badge template in excel format needs to be completed by the conference organizer with confirmed participants’ list and sent to the UNCC-AA team a couple of days before the event in order to be able to print the badges.

In addition to the names for the badges, the following are needed:

  1.  Abridged version title of event
  2. Electronic logo (optional)
  3. Date of the Event (From – To)
  4. Name Pattern (Name + Organization) or (Name + Country)

Three to Four badge categories can be printed such as:  participant, secretariat, media, delegate depending on needs, which will be color coded.

Please note that the UNCC-AA does not make any modification on the content of the template.  Therefore, due diligence is expected from organizers in terms of sending accurate information such as correct spelling.


Q:  Do all meetings that take place at the UNCC-AA require Badges?  What if I organize a meeting of half a day?

A:  No.  Meetings that are more than one-day need badges.


Q:  How is access to participants organized for events that last a day or less than a day?

A:  The organizer sends the list of participants electronically in any format preferably sorted alphabetically to the UNCC-AA team 48 hours before the event.  The UNCC-AA team is responsible for ensuring access is granted by the Security Team.


Q:  What if I have more names to submit after I sent the template with the majority of participants.

A:  Additional names can be submitted to the UNCC-AA using the same template.


Q:  What if a participant/s who has not registered decide/s to show up at the Delegates Registration Building?  Would he/she be refused access to the UNCC-AA?

A:  UNCC-AA strongly recommends organizers to assign people at the Delegates Registration Building in order to give accreditation to such types of participants that did not confirm but show up on the day of the event.  Once accreditation is given, the people that are assigned at the Delegates Registration Building will contact the assigned Meeting Services Assistant who will then clear and send the name to the Security Staff.


Q:  Are buses allowed at the UNCC-AA?

A:  Buses are allowed at the UNCC-AA to drop participants and leave.  The organizer would need to give the following details to the UNCC-AA Team in order to ensure smooth access:

  1.  Details of vehicle:  car plate number and type of car
  2. Full Name of the Driver
  3. Arrival Time


Q:  Is the UNCC-AA open on weekends?

A:  The official working hours of the UNCC-AA are:

      Monday through Thursday:

            8:30 – 13:00 hours in the morning

            14:00 – 17:30 hours in the afternoon

      Friday:  8:30 – 14:00 hours

Any request outside of office hours, as long as a prior notice is given to the UNCC-AA team, all the necessary staff will be at the client’s disposal and the space and facilities operational.  The latter are expected to cover the overtime payment to the staff who will be on duty.



Q:  When should we pay for the UNCC-AA facilities?

A:  Payment needs to be effected by the deadline given in the Proforma Invoice which is usually three weeks before the event.   If payment is not effected by the given deadline rooms booked may be cancelled without any notice to the organizer.  If organizers could not meet the deadline due to any compelling reason, the former should contact the UNCC-AA team requesting to extend the deadline and the deadline for payment will be extended accordingly.


Q:  What if additional needs arise after payment?

A:  For any additional request made by the organizer, a revised invoice will be prepared with another deadline for payment with the remaining balance.


Q:  What if organizers use more rooms after the event has started?

A:  For any additional request after the event has started, the organizers will send a commitment letter and the services will be rendered.  The balance will be reflected in the Final Invoice.


Q:  Is there a cancellation fee?

A:  Yes. A cancellation fee of 5% of the estimated cost of the event shall be charged to any client, who has reserved Conference Rooms 1 to 6 at UNCC-AA, unless a cancellation notice is received at least one (1) week before the starting date of the event.


UNCC-AA Facilities and Services

Q:  Who do we contact at the UNCC-AA once payment is effected to discuss details of our event?

A:  A Meeting Services Assistant is usually assigned as a Focal Person to co-ordinate all tasks in connection with the event.   The organizers will be contacted by the Focal Person.  If contact has not been established, the organizers can contact the UNCC-AA team and they will be given the name, e-mail address and cell phone number of the assignee.


Q:  Do all the rooms in UNCC-AA have LCD Projectors.

A:  Yes.  All rooms in the UNCC-AA (conference rooms and caucus rooms) have LCD Projectors and can be used with no extra charge.


Q:  Do Organizers need to contact technicians directly?

A:  No.  The Focal Person deals with all technicians/electricians and any facility required for any event as long as the needs are communicated prior to the event.


Q:  Does UNCC-AA provide power extension cords/APC, to clients?

A:  Because of a limited number of extension cords, UNCC-AA can provide only in limited numbers.  If there is a need of many extension cords, organizers are advised to bring their own.


Q:  Does the UNCC-AA give ICT assistance?

A:  Yes.  If there is a special need as long as the Focal person is informed about it, the assistance will be rendered.


Q. Participants may come to the Conference halls directly from the airport. Do you have rooms for keeping suitcases?

A: No. UNCC-AA does not provide such a service.



Q:  How are the offices in UNCC-AA equipped?

A:  The offices identified for a specific event will be equipped as per the clients’ requirement:   PC, Printer, International line, Fax, Scanner, photocopier, etc


Q:  Are keys to the offices handed-out to organizers?

A:  No. Security staff will be available at the Security Counter to make sure the rooms are open and closed as required.



Q:  We have some parcels containing our banners and documents that we need to send to the UNCC-AA, who should we address it to?

A:  You may address any parcel related to your event as follows:


To:      Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

Menilik II Avenue

United Nations Conference Center

C/O any UNCC-AA Staff at Planning or Servicing Unit

Conference Management Section

P.O.Box  3001

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia



Q:  Is catering included in the conference package?

A:  No. Catering is not included in the conference package.  Sheraton Addis, the Luxury Collection Hotel, provides corporate catering service exclusively to the UNCC-AA.  However, lunch for up to 400 participants can also be organized by other caterers, Harambe or Tiboli Restaurants within the premises, about 3 minutes’ walk from the UNCC-AA.


Q:  Do organizers need to contact the caterer/s directly or would UNCC-AA facilitate?

A: The UNCC-AA team is ready to assist, once details are provided by clients, in obtaining the invoice from the caterer, ensure that the negotiated “preferential rates” are applied and follow-up. 


Q:  Where are functions held?

A:  UNCC-AA has 3 spaces (multifunction rooms) that could be utilized for functions such as lunches/receptions/dinners:

  1.  The delegates lounge (maximum of 200 pax)
  2.  The Banquet Hall (maximum of 500 seated pax)
  3. The exhibition concourse (maximum of 900 pax if not used for exhibition)


Q:  Where are coffee breaks held?

A:  Coffee breaks are held in the spacious walkways just outside the conference rooms.  Alternatively, for events with exhibition, the coffee breaks could be set-up at the Exhibition Concourse.



Q:  What is the total area of the exhibit space?

A:  The total area of the exhibit space is 2100m2 with a ceiling height of 3.12m.


Q:  Is it possible to have booths on the exhibit area? What are the possible booth options and their prices?

A:  It is possible to exhibit products/services using booths.  Frequently used booth arrangements are 6sq.m and 9sq.m options.  However, other booth set up options are also possible depending on clients’ requirements.  With a 6sq.m booth arrangement, 50 booths can be accommodated (price = $53.00 per day/ booth).  With the 9sq.m. booth arrangement, 38 booths can be accommodated (price = $79.00 per day/booth)

Q:  Who will setup the booths? Are there any charges for constructing the booths?

A: The UNCC-AA Team will setup the booths and there is no additional charge for booth construction.


Q:  What does the exhibition package include?

A:  The exhibition package includes a booth built according to plan, 1 shelf, 2 chairs, one 80cmx80cm table, fascia board and spot light.


Q:  Is there a carpet inside the booths?

A:  Carpet will not be provided with booths. However, if there is a need, organizers can bring their own.


Q:  What if I need more tables and chairs further to what is provided as package?

A:  Additional tables and chairs can be provided upon request. The daily rental rate of a table is $2 while a chair costs $1.


Q:  Can we exhibit poster/picture only?

A:  Yes. We provide folding panels (exhibition display stands) of 60cmx 180cm size, which is Velcro-ready fabric wall for poster exhibitions. The daily rental cost is $8.76/m2.


Q:  Is there any other rental option of the exhibition concourse?

A:  Yes, there is a ‘space only’ rental option, on which one can bring in and setup own materials. The daily rental cost for this option is $1,271.55.


Q:  When should I send the plan of my exhibition?

A:  Ideally, a week in advance to the event is recommended to give the UNCC-AA team plan appropriately.


Q:  Can we have power outlets at the exhibition concourse?

A:  Yes.  Because of a limited number of extension cords, if there is a need for extended number of extension cords organizers are advised to bring their own.


Q:  In case of exhibition of machineries, does the exhibition hall has capacity in terms of power to display machineries?

A:  The organizer should provide the list of machineries together with their power consumption and current requirement well in advance in order to determine the capacity – this will be decided on case by case basis.


Q:  Is there weight limitation for exhibiting machinery items?

A:  Yes. The maximum load capacity of the exhibition floor is 250kg/m2. Furthermore, the organizer has to provide the dimensions of the machinery for the UNCC-AA team to check on access limit.


Q:  How do exhibitors bring in their exhibits to the UNCC-AA?

A:  Organizers have the responsibility to compile information such as: the names of exhibitors, company name, the list of materials that they wish to bring, name of the driver who will be bringing the items with details and plate number of the vehicle that will be used to transport the items.  Once the information is obtained, the focal person at UNCC-AA will take the necessary action in terms of facilitating entry.


Q:  How do exhibitors take out their exhibits from the UNCC-AA once the event is over?

A:  Details of vehicles need to be compiled and communicated to the assigned focal person by the organizer in order to facilitate access.  Exhibitors can then take their materials out of the UNCC-AA smoothly.


Q:  Are exhibits safe at the UNCC-AA?  Can exhibitors leave valuable items overnight?

A:  The UNCC-AA is generally a secure place.  However, the exhibition concourse may be accessible by any passerby and leaving valuable items including laptops is not advisable.  Alternatively, upon request, a security coverage could be organized as long as the overtime cost is borne by the organizers.



Q:  What are the UN’s official languages?

A:  There are six official languages of the UN.  These are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.  The correct interpretation and translation of these six languages, in both spoken and written form, is very important to the work of the organization, because this enables clear and concise communication on issues of global importance.


Q:  What are the conference languages of UNECA?

A:  The meeting/conference languages of UNECA are Arabic, English and French.  When meetings are held abroad in a country whose language is not provided by UNECA, the host government provides interpretation from/into its national language.


Q:  Does the UNCC-AA provide interpreters for external clients?

A:  Yes, ECA has freelance interpreters and service will be provided for ECA, UN Agencies, Private organizations etc, upon request.


Q:  How do I know how many interpreters to request?

A:  Interpreters usually work in teams of two per booth, reliving each other every 30 minutes when working in simultaneous mode, and every hour or so when working in consecutive mode.

The following minimum working conditions are adhered to when recruiting interpreters for UNECA: Simultaneous Interpretation: For sessions lasting up to 3 hours, a minimum of two interpreters are assigned per language. When interpretation into and from a particular language is provided from one booth, three interpreters capable of working into both languages are assigned.


Consecutive Interpretation: A minimum of two interpreters are assigned to meetings lasting more than one hour.

Interpretation for Missions: Conference Interpretation Unit (CIU) will determine the

number of interpreters required depending on the length and technical nature of the mission, the size and composition of the mission team, and the availability/non-availability of interpreters in the mission country.

Q:  Do I need an interpreter provided by UNECA if the authorities have their own interpreter?

A:  International diplomatic protocol calls for each side to have an interpreter. Accordingly, for high-level meetings involving UNECA management and/or high-level member country officials, it is appropriate for each side to have an interpreter.


Q:  How do I know if the interpreter will maintain confidentiality?

A:  Confidentiality is a fundamental principle followed by professional interpreters. Freelance

interpreters are bound by confidentiality provisions of their contracts, as well as by the Professional Code of Ethics


Q:  How do I request interpretation services?

A:  It is simple. Kindly complete the Interpretation Service Request in eMeets Seeing that events abroad may require interpreters sourced from countries other than that of the event, requestors are asked to communicate their interpretation requests to CIU as soon as they begin planning for a mission or event, even though the dates may not be confirmed.


Q:  How do I get an approximation of the cost of interpretation services?

A:  For an event convened in Addis Ababa, it will be:

  • Current daily rate x # of languages x # of interpreters x # of meeting days


For an international event, it will be:

  • Current daily rate x # of languages x # of interpreters x # of meeting days x DSA per interpreter x ticket cost per interpreter x terminal expense for travel days per interpreter.  CIU finalizes the cost of the service and the number of interpreters required based on the agenda for the event. CIU will also source interpreters from overseas for international events, or for local events when there is an insufficiency of locally-based interpreters. Meetings going beyond 6 hours require an overtime fee.


Interpreters’ Group Level Salary: Daily Rate

Interpreter Group 1 Gross: 712 USD and Net: 630

Interpreter Group 2 Gross: 473 USD and Net: 420


Q:  How can I keep my interpretation costs at a minimum?

  1.  The way in which your agenda is prepared is a key factor for keeping the cost of interpretation down. Keeping the sessions that will require interpretation on specific days of the event is one way to control the cost. However, in some cases, this is unavoidable and all sessions require interpretation. Avoidance of several simultaneous plenary sessions and the adoption of consecutive sessions is another way of keeping the cost down. Interpreters work in teams of 2 and simultaneous sessions increase the number of interpreters required. Proper session management with focused, concise interventions (rather than speakers meandering, talking about extraneous issues, and being repetitive) are other factors that help to keep the sessions within the agreed timeframe, and obviate the need for interpreters’ overtime costs. Strict timekeeping during the meeting is another. A late start to your meeting, and coffee and lunch breaks extended beyond the stipulated time are generally the factors that push your event off-track and beyond the closing time on the agenda. This in turn, often leads to interpreters having to work for an overtime fee that is charged beyond their 6 hours of work. Alternatively, a new team of interpreters would have to be brought in at the daily rate to work until the conclusion of the event. In such cases, they may just work for 1-2 hours until the conclusion of the event, but based on the stipulations of the AIIC Agreement to which the UN subscribes, they must to be paid for a full day.


Q:  Can my division hire its own interpreters at a cheaper rate?

A:   The United Nations (UN), and by extension UNECA, is bound by the Agreement between the United Nations and the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) Consequently, interpreters that UNECA hires must be AIIC certified and meet its professional standards In order to ensure optimum quality of work performed, CIU maintains a roster locally-based and foreign AIIC-certified interpreter with several language combinations to service meetings and events in Addis Ababa and overseas. CIU is therefore ultimately responsible for the hiring of all interpreters for UNECA events at HQ and at the SROs.

Q:  What is expected of the organizer for UNCC-AA to recruit interpreters?

A: Organizers are expected to send the programme of work for the meeting and specify the languages that interpretation is required (French-into-English or English-into-French)

Q:  What is the difference between translation and interpretation?

A:  Translation involves written material between more than one language and interpreting involves spoken content between multiple languages. While linguistic

and cultural skills are critical, the most important quality a good translator must have is the ability to write well in the target language. Skilled translators must have the ability to understand the source language and the culture of the country where the text originated, then using a good library of dictionaries and reference materials, to render that material clearly and

accurately into the target language. When choosing a translator, it is important to insist that the translator only translates into his/her native language and an area of his/her subject matter expertise.

Interpretation is an oral form of translation, enabling real-time cross-linguistic communication either face-to-face, in a conference setting or over the phone. It can also be called oral translation, real-time translation or personal translation. This is the process where a person repeats what is said out loud in a different language. Interpreting, just like translation, is basically paraphrasing—the interpreter listens to a speaker in one language, grasps the content of what is being said, and then paraphrases his or her understanding of the meaning using the tools of the target language. An interpreter changes words into meaning, and then changes meaning back into words—of a different language. An interpreter must be able to translate in both directions on the spot, without using dictionaries or other reference materials. Just as you cannot explain to someone a thought if you did not fully understand it, neither can you translate or interpret something without mastery of the subject matter being relayed. To be effective, the interpreter decides how to best convey both the meaning of the words and the context in which those words were used. This requires a high level of expertise in a subject area, current knowledge of different cultures, and a great deal of proficiency and experience.


Q:  Is there any quality control of interpretation services?

A:  Yes, this is ongoing after every event. Interpreters are expected to have a perfect command of the language into which they are interpreting, professional competence, and mastery of the subject matter to enable them to interpret a wide subject range accurately and completely. Immediately upon completion of the delivery of the interpretation service, CIU conducts a Client Satisfaction Survey to ensure that the highest quality output is maintained. Should this not be the case and poor performance is brought to the attention of CIU even during an event, remedial action is immediately taken to ensure that there is no reoccurrence.



Ali Todaro

Chief, Conference Management Section

United Nations Conference Center in Addis Ababa

P.O.Box 3001

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Tel.: (+251)11 544 5386

Fax: (+251)11 551 0105

Contact by email