UN budget committee backs plan to speed up Headquarters renovation


Concerned about further delays to the renovation of the United Nations Headquarters complex in New York, the General Assembly’s budget committee has endorsed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s proposals to accelerate the much-needed overhaul. A draft resolution approved today by the main committee dealing with administrative and budgetary matters (or the Fifth Committee) would have the General Assembly approve the changes to the schedule of the refurbishment of the world body’s Headquarters, known as the Capital Master Plan, as proposed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in an October report. The Assembly would also appropriate over $992 million for the Plan’s 2008-2009 budget, according to the draft which is expected to receive final approval from the entire UN membership in the coming days. Mr. Ban had proposed accelerating the plan approved last year by the Assembly, known as Strategy IV, to make the renovation “less risky, less expensive and faster” in the long run, citing the need to make up for lost time and avoid further cost escalation. Under “accelerated strategy IV,” the time needed for the renovation would be reduced owing to a decrease in the total number of phases needed to refurbish the Secretariat and Conference Buildings. The new proposals would involve the construction of the temporary Conference Building on the North Lawn as planned in early 2008, while completing the entire renovation by mid-2013 rather than mid-2016 as envisioned under the current strategy. By this timetable, renovation of the Secretariat building would be completed in three years instead of six, starting early in 2009; the General Assembly building in two years instead of two and a half; and the Conference building in two years instead of three. Today’s resolution would also have the Assembly authorize Mr. Ban to enter into an additional swing space arrangement needed for a single-phase renovation of the Secretariat building “as a matter of urgency.” In addition, it would approve the proposed changes in the renovation schedule, subject to the availability of the swing space. The Executive Director of the CMP, Michael Adlerstein, welcomed the Fifth Committee’s approval of the accelerated version of the CMP, which is expected to result in a Headquarters complex that is more energy efficient and safer for staff and visitors. 6 December 2007Concerned about further delays to the renovation of the United Nations Headquarters complex in New York, the General Assembly’s budget committee has endorsed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s proposals to accelerate the much-needed overhaul.

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