11 January 2010
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12694

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, at Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, Calls Temporary North Lawn

 

Structure ‘Building Block’ for Headquarters Renovation

 


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Temporary North Lawn Building in New York today, 11 January:


Good morning.  Welcome and happy New Year to you all.


In May 2008 we gathered to break ground for this building -- and began our five-year project to modernize the United Nations Headquarters complex.  Today we celebrate another milestone in the Capital Master Plan:  the official opening of our Temporary North Lawn Building. 


This structure is more than a short-term home.  It is a key building block for the renovation of the Conference and Secretariat buildings.  This is a massive undertaking -- requiring the teamwork and dedication of so many.  I would like to thank our Host Country, Government and people of the United States of America, and Host City, New York, for their continued cooperation and support. 


To Assistant Secretary-General Adlerstein and his team, thank you for shepherding this building from concept to construction to reality today.  I thank the many United Nations staff who played such an important role, including our security, information technology, procurement and legal staff.  I also salute the hard work of the contractor, Skanska, and the hundreds of workers who participated in this important effort.


I would also like to say a special word of thanks to the staff of DGACM [Department for General Assembly and Conference Management], the invisible hands who facilitate the intergovernmental process.  And all of the staff -- including my own -- who will be here day in and day out.  A transition like this is never easy, and a great challenge, and I appreciate all the efforts to support the work of the Member States, for their generous financial support and also political support.


This is your temporary home.  This building was designed to serve for a limited period, to be functional and cost-effective.  As you will see, it is no-frills.  There are no escalators.  The windows are limited.  We have simple concrete floors.  No carpets.


When this structure is no longer needed, it will be dismantled, its components recycled or reused, and our beautiful North Lawn will be restored.  There will be some disruptions and inconveniences for all of us.  But I hope we will bear with these temporary disruptions and inconveniences for a better future.  But this is our down payment to ensuring a modern, energy-efficient, and possibly the greenest twenty-first century Secretariat building for generations to come.  All of us who work here are contributing to that history.


As we move forward with the renovation of the Secretariat, we remember the most important part of any building is what brings it to life:  people.  Delegates, staff, officials, all those who will come here to find the way to greater peace and security, development and human rights for all the peoples of the world.  This is your building.  This is our work.  Let us begin.


Thank you very much.


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For information media • not an official record