Addis Ababa

28 October 2014

Secretary-General's remarks at inauguration of new office facility at UN Economic Commission for Africa Compound

The opening of the New Office Facility [NOF] is a milestone for the United Nations and for its already close partnership with Ethiopia and with people across Africa.

Being together under one roof means common services, economies of scale and the harmonization of our operations. Most of all, it means the United Nations is better placed to deliver better results.

The ECA [UN Economic Commission for Africa] compound has a rich history. Africa Hall, a gift from Ethiopia, has seen memorable events, including the founding of the Organization of African Unity more than half a century ago.

With the completion of the NOF, we take an important step towards a future of dignity, prosperity and peace.

On behalf of the United Nations and the Economic Commission for Africa, I would like to express our deep gratitude to you, Mr. Prime Minister, and to the Government and people of Ethiopia. This project could not have happened without the gracious provision of additional land by our host Government. ECA has now become the third largest UN duty station after New York and Geneva in terms of building portfolio.

This project is one of many in a long line of cooperation with our host. ECA is embarking on a renovation of the Africa Hall. We look forward to continued improvements and expansion of services in the ECA compound over the next few years and it is hoped the next decade will see the opening of a new and rejuvenated Africa Hall building.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a time of multiple crises -- but also one of great opportunity. It is also a crucial time for Africa, when great progress is being made in many ways. The work done here at ECA is a major part of that picture.

I am told that three days ago, in your commemoration of United Nations Day, seedlings of beautiful and famous trees that survived the Hiroshima bombing were planted here in the ECA compound. What a wonderful symbol of our strong desire for peace -- and of our hope that our efforts will blossom into good things for the people of Africa.

In that spirit, it is with great pride and pleasure that I declare officially open this new facility for the United Nations family.