New York

27 March 2013

Secretary-General's remarks at inauguration of "Russian Room" [Security Council Consultations Chamber]

The Security Council consultations chamber is a special place.

It is a place where history is made; a place where Member States engage in intense discussions about how to build a better, more peaceful world.

This is a small space.  But it is a room where big things happen:

Big decisions about international conflicts and crises.

Big commitments that can mean the difference between life and death.

And at times -- let us be frank -- big arguments between Member States as they seek to uphold their responsibilities.

Given the important work that Member States undertake here, it is crucial that they and the Secretariat staff that support them have a room that facilitates dialogue…  that is equipped with the latest modern technologies… and that creates an atmosphere where constructive steps can be taken.

The renovation that we celebrate today achieves all that and more.

I thank the architect and interior designer, Mr. Alexander Konov.  Let’s applaud him. For decades, this room was functional and austere, with no adornments or artwork.  Now there are new lights, new panelling and other decorative elements.

I especially thank Ambassador [Vitaly] Churkin and the Government of the Russian Federation.  Russia’s generous financial support of this work has come on top of Russia’s contributions to the Capital Master Plan, and marks the first time this particular room has been sponsored by a Member State.

I think that [Amb.] Churkin must have had a lot of difficult times to convince your Government at this time of economic difficulties around the world. I thank you very much.

This is yet another step forward in the fulfilment of the Capital Master Plan.

The re-vamped Secretariat tower is open for business.  Next month, the refurbishment of the full Security Council chamber will be complete.  Nearby escalators and halls will soon hum with activity.  Art will appear again on the walls.  The General Assembly Hall will shortly get its own overhaul.  Before long this beautiful, iconic complex will be a 21st-century office and edifice.

Of course, our ultimate goal is not simply cosmetic external updates but deep internal renewal as we strive to better serve the world’s people.  In that spirit, I look forward to the good work and sound decisions that will emanate from this new consultations room, and from a fully modernized UN Headquarters.

I again thank all involved for their contributions. I wish you all the best.

Thank you.