G77 Chair Addresses the UN's Capital Master Plan
Speaking in Fiji’s capacity as 2013 Chair of the Group of 77 and China, Fijian Ambassador Peter Thomson, today delivered the Group’s response to the proposed programme budget for the UN’s Capital Master Plan (CMP). The CMP’s budget for the biennium 2014-2015 was presented to the 5th Committee of the General Assembly by the UN Secretariat earlier this morning.
Ambassador Thomson said that the Group of 77 welcomed the progress made on implementation of the CMP, in particular the reoccupancy of the UN’s Secretariat Building and the waterfront Conference Building housing the chambers of the Security Council, ECOSOC and other conference halls.
Ambassador Thomson told the 5th Committee the Group firmly rejects any proposal to defer the demolishing of the UN’s temporary North Lawn Building. Asserting that, “the architectural integrity of the United Nations complex must be preserved,” he reminded the 5th Committee, “the CMP was conceived as a project to refurbish, modernize and preserve the architecture of the landmark headquarters of the United Nations.”
Noting that the overall CMP budget totals US$2,114 million of approved expenditure, 11.9% higher than the budget approved by the UN General Assembly in 2006, Fiji’s Ambassador accepted that with the renovation of the UN General Assembly Building now underway, the central concern was of completing renovations in time for the General Debate in September 2014. In so saying, he warned that managing related cost pressures was the critical risk faced by the project, and called for vigilance by all concerned in controlling costs.
Ambassador Thomson said the Group was also concerned that the renovation of the UN’s South Annex and Library buildings was on hold. He said it was “unacceptable that a proposal sent by the United Nations to the host Government in December 2011 is left unanswered for almost two years.” He reported that the Group of 77 will not consider the work of the CMP completed until an agreeable solution to this situation is reached with the host Government.