06 July 2011

Remarks at inauguration of UN Support Base [as prepared for delivery]

Ban Ki-moon

Muchas gracias. Es un profundo honor estar con ustedes en Valencia en este día tan importante para las Naciones Unidas y para la paz.

Today, we do more than inaugurate a facility.

We launch a new chapter in the history of United Nations operations, one that will lead to greater efficiency and reliability for our work around the world.

As we do, we pay tribute to the generosity and solidarity of the government and people of Spain.

You are pivotal supporters of our global mission – from tackling climate change to combating chronic poverty from promoting cross-cultural understanding to contributing troops to peacekeeping operations around the world.

This facility is yet another demonstration of the Kingdom of Spain's commitment to advancing the goals of the United Nations.

In particular, I want to recognize your leadership in making such a significant strategic investment in such difficult financial times.

Spain acted with vision – and on schedule.

I was here in 2007. You transformed an empty field into a world-class information and communications technology facility.

A new base for our work, but also for jobs – high technology, high quality jobs and business opportunities in Valencia and throughout the region.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The United Nations operates in some of the farthest reaches on earth, and in some of the most difficult conditions.

Places where communications operations have been destroyed – if they existed at all.

Places where communication lines are, quite literally, lifelines.

United Nations peacekeeping, peacebuilding and special political missions depend on the UN network to stay connected, especially in times of crisis.

For too long, those operations were serviced by a single communications hub.

That means we were just one failure – one blackout – one mishap -- away from severely damaging not only our information and data, but our very ability to function.

This facility changes that.

It will provide one resilient hub for all UN locations – and serve as a key element for our future vision of efficient and agile responses to any crises.

In the process, it will double United Nations ICT capacities to our offices and field missions around the world.

Valencia will strengthen the ability for all our personnel to stay connected -- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

By providing that certainty in communications links, the Valencia base will significantly enhance safety and security for people on the ground.

A facility like this is even more crucial in an age in which information is ever more vulnerable to extreme weather, natural disasters, political crises and other events.

And as is plain for any visitor, this is more than just functional space. The state of the art design is both visually striking and environmentally friendly.

There are 700 solar panels, with more on the way. The design reduces the need for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.

In every sense, this is a 21st century facility which will help the United Nations deliver to the most vulnerable places on earth.

The Valencia support base is an integral part of our Global Field Support Strategy – as well as the overall ICT strategy of the United Nations

Once again, I want to express our deepest gratitude to the Government of Spain and the city of Valencia.

More and more, the world is turning to the work of the United Nations.

Thanks to your continuing contribution, this facility will allow us to do our job more effectively, more efficiently, more reliably.

As it does, it will help safeguard the lives and work of thousands of UN personnel.

They are out there supporting the mission of the UN – and you are here supporting them.

For that, we say thank you for your leadership and your contribution.

Muchas gracias por su generosidad y apoyo.