New York

25 September 2013

Secretary-General's remarks at inauguration of the renovated North Delegates' Lounge

Thank you very much for coming to this historic opening.

For decades, this Lounge has been a place where diplomats, staff and friends can meet and talk.

When the six main committees are in session, the most popular spot in the UN is here, in what we like to call the “Seventh Committee.”

Other meetings have chairpersons, rules of procedure and formal speeches. In the Seventh Committee, we are all leaders with no rigid rules, and we can speak out of order.

The official committees give us results – but there have been many diplomatic breakthroughs in this informal atmosphere.

I am deeply grateful to the Royal Family and the Government of the Netherlands for generously contributing to this beautiful redesign.

This room has something for everyone. There is an “info wall” for busy officials who want to check the meetings schedule. There are sofas and chairs for those who want to relax. And of course if you need a drink, there is a brand-new bar. You can even escape to the beautiful terrace outside. Some people say the view of the Rose Garden and the river is even more refreshing than the beer.

I am especially pleased that this room reflects the Dutch tradition. The Netherlands hosts many important United Nations bodies. The Hague is a home to international justice. Many of us travel there often. So it is nice to be able to have a piece of the Netherlands here, just a few steps from the General Assembly.

Our agenda this year is packed with difficult issues, from conflict to climate change. As we wind up and get started let us remember that we can come here to unwind and get rest. In the process, we may discover that we can be even more productive thanks to our casual chats in this beautiful Lounge.

Thank you.