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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2011

Fifth Committee, Item 129: Capital Master Plan

Statement by Paul Ballantyne on behalf of Australia, Canada and New Zealand, 8 March 2011

Mr Chairman

I have the honour to speak on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. I thank the representatives of the Secretariat, the ACABQ and the Board of Auditors for introducing their respective reports.

CANZ has been a strong supporter of the Capital Master Plan (CMP) since the Secretary-General first approached Member States with the proposal in 2001. We welcome the significant progress made over the reporting period, including the relocation of staff off-campus, completion of the north lawn building and the commencement of construction activities on and in the Secretariat and Conference Buildings.

Mr Chairman

We take issues of safety and security very seriously. We note the ongoing discussion between the host country and the Department of Safety and Security related to perimeter security and how it can be strengthened in the context of the CMP. We look forward to receiving further information on these discussions in informal consultations.

Mr Chairman

CANZ shares the ACABQ’s concern that there may be difficulty in absorbing the associated costs in the approved budget of the capital master plan as mandated in GA resolution 64/228. We also agree that the issue needs to be addressed in a manner that does not place any additional financial burden on Member States. As such, we would welcome receiving proposals from the Secretary-General on how best to deal with the associated costs, including through improved cost-efficiency measures.

We welcome the steps taken to improve physical accessibility and the ongoing efforts to fully comply with, and in some cases exceed, the relevant design standards for the needs of persons with disabilities. Likewise, our delegations take this opportunity to reiterate our hope that the CMP will adhere to best practice in the provision of appropriate health and wellness facilities.

Mr Chairman

We support the ongoing process of value engineering, and welcome the significant cost savings achieved so far. Despite a number of delays, we are confident that Assistant Secretary-General Adlerstein and his team will overcome the remaining obstacles and bring the project to a successful completion on time and within budget.

Thank you.

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Page last updated: Wednesday, 09 January 2013 14:49 NZDT