62nd Session of the General Assembly
5th Committee, 8th Meeting
ITEM 128. PROPOSED PROGRAMME BUDGET 2008-2009
CAPITAL MASTER PLAN
Statement by Ms. Clotilde Mesquita, Adviser
Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations
on behalf of the European Union
New York, October 23rd 2007
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Croatia*, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the EFTA countries Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, the Countries of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as Ukraine, Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.
At the outset, let me thank the Under Secretary General for Management, Alicia Barcena for introducing the 5th Annual Progress Report on the Implementation of the Capital Master Plan, Mr. Rajat Saha for introducing the related report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, and the Director of External Audit of the Philippines, Mr. Roland Rey, for introducing the report of the Board of Auditors.
We also wish to welcome Assistant-Secretary General Michael Adlerstein, Executive Director of the Capital Master Plan.
The European Union welcomes this opportunity to comment on the state of play of this important and longstanding project to the United Nations and reiterate its strong feelings about the urgent necessity of this project.
The CMP is a very important project and the EU hopes that under the newly appointed leadership of the CMP there will be opportunity for the effective execution of this project. The EU calls upon the Secretary-General to give his full and personal support to the Capital Master Plan.
The European Union learned with concern the situation described in the report of the Board of Auditors with regards to delays and cost overruns. We concur with the ACABQ that the recommendations of the Board are pertinent and focused. We hope that they will be implemented without delay, and will wish to hear from the Secretariat on the status of their implementation, not least regarding the long awaited establishment of the Advisory Board on the CMP.
The European Union has been a strong advocate of this project for many years now. Guided by the advice of the CMP office given to this committee two years ago, the General Assembly was finally able to select a construction plan and funding mechanism at the 61st session. We all trusted that the plan would then move forward expeditiously. So it was not without some trepidation that we learned of the Secretariat’s intent to revise its proposals for the construction strategy for us to consider anew. Yet the proposals before us appear logical and pragmatic. The new accelerated strategy IV promises to bring the costs of the project back into line with the agreed budget of $1.87 billion by expediting the construction schedule, and in a manner that poses less safety, security and operational risks to staff and the organization.
The European Union looks forward to the opportunity to hear further details on these proposals in informal consultations. The EU has serious concerns about the consequences further delays might have. The EU will also wait for further clarifications on the concept of Value Engineering which, according to the report in front of us, will eliminate design cost overruns and bring the project back to the agreed budget. It is clear we need timely and transparent communication from the Secretariat regarding this new approach. The EU notes the renewed commitment to keep the costs of the CMP within the budget and financing schedule decided by General Assembly resolution 61/251, and stresses the importance we attach to this commitment.
The EU hopes the Secretariat will seize the opportunity of this necessary renovation to launch a study to see the way of rationalizing and optimizing the space used for its activities.
We expect a productive discussion during this session on the new elements of the project presented today including full details of the implications of the new options for swing space, as well as elements for a more environmentally sustainable, ‘greener’ UN.
The European Union hopes that swift negotiations on this new approach will result in a renewed commitment to the CMP, so that this urgent renovation may be carried out in a timely, safe and effective manner that is in the best interests of the organization.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
* Croatia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process