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Statement by Wang Xinxia, Representative of China to the Fifth Committee of UNGA on the Capital Master Plan

2005-12-09 00:00

Mr. Chairman:

First of all, the Chinese delegation wishes to thank ASG Mr. Reuter and the Chairman of ACABQ for their presentations of the report. Now I wish to make a few comments.

Three years ago when this committee discussed the various options of the capital master plan, the Chinese delegation explicitly expressed its support for a well-planed and well-managed renovation plan. We also expressed our hope that the plan could be carried out smoothly and as early as possible so as to fundamentally change the conditions of the infrastructure of the UN headquarters, which is crucial to the security of the complex and the well-being of the Secretariat personelle and all the delegations. China's position remains unchanged.

It is disappointing, however, that what most member states wished to see did not happen and as time went by, the basic parameters for implementing this project also changed fundamentally. As a result, the member states have no choice as to make another decision in light of the latest circumstances.

The Chinese delegation has seriously studied the 4 options in the report and found that when member states have to choose out of these 4 options one that is most feasible, most appropriate and most cost-effective, there isn't much to choose from. Option 1 is similar to the renovation plan approved by the GA, but UNDC 5 is no longer a practical swing space option. An immediate consequence of this change is that both lease and construction costs have gone up significantly. What is most worrying is that the UN is now subject to the price changes of the New York real estate market and consequently runs considerable commercial risks. Option 3 includes a proposal to build a permanent building. This seems to be an alternative to the UNDC5 as originally envisaged. It is also what makes this option most attractive. However, we are not certain how feasible this option is. Furthermore, this option does not give a detailed account of the renovation plan of the Secretariat building. It just postponed this part of the project. We wish to know why it is not included in the overall renovation plan. Does an incomplete renovation plan reflect the original intentions of the CMP ? Option 4 is a phased plan of renovation recommended by the Secretariat. It is. Though the cost for leasing swing space is much lower in this option than in option 1, the redesign cost goes up sharply. Thus the total costs of these two options are pretty much the same. Besides, as renovation will be done in phrases, it will create great inconveniences for the work of the UN. Whatever the case we will seriously study and discuss the Secretariat options with other delegations, weighing all pros and cons.

Finance is the key to the implementation of this plan. The report gives an account of the required resources at various phases of the construction and contains financing methods. We are in favor of the financing method based on assessment from the member states. As for how assessment is to be done, for instance, should it be a one-time assessment or a multi-year assessment based on the progress of the project and actual requirements, it can be left to the member states themselves to decide. The Chinese delegation also agrees that there should be adequate and uninterrupted financing of the CMP. As for the explanation about the external commercial loans in documentA/60/550 Add.1, we need some time to study the issuance of bonds so as to have a better understanding of it, including terms of repayment. We also have some questions about the "reserve mechanism" mentioned in the same document. We will have further discussions on specific issues during informal consultations.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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