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General Assembly Approves Plan To Speed HQ Work

General Assembly approves plan to speed up UN Headquarters renovation

The General Assembly has approved a series of proposals to speed up the much-need renovation of the United Nations Headquarters complex, a move welcomed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who said the project could now be completed sooner and with less risk to staff and visitors.

Concerned about the costs of further delaying the renovation - known as the Capital Master Plan (CMP) - the 192-member body adopted a resolution yesterday backing Mr. Ban's proposals to accelerate the overhaul of the UN's antiquated complex in New York, which he presented to Member States in an October report.

The Assembly also authorized nearly $1 billion for the project, which will relocate thousands of employees and delegates to temporary "swing space" during the refurbishment.

With the project behind schedule, Mr. Ban had proposed an accelerated strategy to save money on construction by speeding up the renovation, in particular by emptying the entire 39-story Secretariat Building in one phase, instead of the four-step process envisioned in the plan approved by the Assembly last year.

This would require more office swing space off site, but the costs of such space would be offset by the lowered cost of the renovation itself, which would be completed by 2013 instead of 2016.

"By approving the accelerated renovation strategy it will be possible to minimize the inconvenience and risk for delegates, occupants and visitors to the UN Headquarters during construction," Mr. Ban said in a statement welcoming the Assembly's action.

He added that once the renovation is completed in 2013, the complex "will not only be a safer, healthier, greener and more secure place, but our renovated workshop for peace will also stand out as a symbol for building a revitalized UN for a better world."


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