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Annan Urges Action On $1.8 Billion Overhaul

Annan Urges Action On Proposed $1.8 Billion Overhaul Of UN Complex

New York, Nov 28 2006 10:00PM

The United Nations General Assembly should act on how to fund a proposed $1.8 billion renovation of the world body’s dilapidated New York Headquarters, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a <"http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=a/61/549">report released today.

His recommendation on the so-called “capital master plan” – a massive overhaul of the complex aimed at bringing it in line with local health and safety codes while improving security – was endorsed by the Assembly’s budgetary watchdog, known as the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).

In its own report released today, the powerful ACABQ, which often influences budget decisions made by the Assembly’s 192 member countries, “recommends approval of the revised capital master plan budget of $1,876.7 million.”

In seeking this amount, Mr. Annan argued that the plan “is important for the safety of all United Nations Headquarters occupants” and said that since an agreement on the strategy has been reached, “it is now critical for the General Assembly to decide on the funding mechanism for the renovation.”

Among other decisions, the Assembly will have to determine whether Member States will pay for the costs of the renovation through a one-time cash assessment, multi-year cash assessments, or some combination of the two.

The main UN Headquarters buildings were constructed in 1949 and 1950 and have not been significantly improved or maintained since then. They are extremely energy inefficient, costing the UN more than $30 million a year in energy costs alone.

In addition, the New York Fire Department has long expressed its concerns that the UN Headquarters buildings do not meet current New York fire, safety and building code standards. The capital master plan seeks to redress these shortcomings while tightening security.

Ends

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