Capital Master Plan, In Dangerous Glass Building, Conceals Costs,
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 2, updated below
-- Chicanery in the budget of the UN's Capital
Master Plan rehabilitation were raised in public this week, in a
report about contingencies, in the first meeting of the UN's Fifth
(Budget) Committee, and by Inner City Press in the October
City Press: the Fifth Committee, the budget committee, just began
this morning for its new session, and in it, Mexico, on behalf of the
Rio Group, said it’s highly problematic that the Secretariat hasn’t
included in its proposed budget, among other things, the associate
cost of the Capital Master Plan. There was no response that I saw
from the Secretariat from the meeting, but it seems like the kind of
thing. Is this factually accurate? Are there costs of the Capital
Master Plan that are not in the budget?
Montas: I would have to inquire from the Capital Master Plan people. In
fact, I was thinking of getting you a briefing very shortly,
because some of you know you are going to be moving in a few weeks,
and you might need to be updated on that.
the move date
for the Press has seemingly been moved back to November or even
December, into what's been dubbed the "whistleblower free zone"
in which offices will not have walls that go to the ceiling, more
than 24 hours later, there was no response by the UN to the Rio
Group's critique of its budget.
was other CMP
criticism, at the High Level Committee on Management, at which staff
noted they had been moved into a glass building on Madison Avenue
without, they say, blast protecting film over the windows in the
event of a bombing. One staffer asked, have we learned nothing from
the Canal Hotel bombing in Iraq? The statement read:
knowledge of the damage inflicted by glass in Baghdad, it is
unconscionable that the administration has relocated over 2000 staff
into a glass building on Madison Avenue, with is not equipped with
blast resistant films. That building is adjacent to a construction
site and too close to the street where trucks are parked... We hope
that these trucks will continue to deliver cement and nothing more."
will continue to
Work on UN CMP, murky as the UN budget
Meanwhile, arriving breathless from Madison Avenue, top
UN humanitarian John Holmes said wryly that the Capital Master Plan
is providing this form of exercise. He might note, the UN has
implemented its own van service from Madison to First Avenue, only
only every half hour. What was that again, about the associated
costs? To be continued.
costs, now with the General Debate over, those who work in the UN
Cafeteria and Delegates Dining Room are expect the lay off pink slips
that have been threatened. At the UN, no re-training, no safeguards...
of October 6: at Tuesday's noon briefing, days after Inner City
asked for a response to the Rio Group's criticism in an open meeting
of the Fifth (Budget) Committee of what it calls the non-inclusion of
the UN Capital Master Plan's associated costs in the budget, and
after it wrote about the Staff Union's criticism regarding blast
protection at 380 Madison Avenue in a meeting of the High Level
Management Committee, spokesperson Michele Montas read this into the
more note about the Capital Master plan to answer some questions
asked. About Security at 380 Madison Avenue, even though we usually
do not comment on measures taken so as not to compromise the security
of our staff, this instance is an exception, because erroneous
information has been circulating in the media already.
leases were signed, and before buildings were occupied after fit-out,
all swing space locations were cleared by the Department of Safety
and Security. At 380 Madison Avenue, the windows of the floors
occupied by UN staff are covered with blast resistant film.
associated costs, in its resolution A/RES/63/270, the General
Assembly decided “that the approved associated costs for the
capital master plan will be financed from within the approved budget
of the capital master plan unless otherwise specified by the General
Assembly.” The CMP stated last year and has stated again this year
that they will continue to seek costs savings and attempt to absorb
the associated costs. However, the CMP is not optimistic that they
will be able to absorb all the associated costs.
about associated costs is appreciated -- still to come: contingencies
-- the comment about inaccurate media report merits a same day
response. Inner City Press reported on what the Staff Union said in
the HLMC meeting. If the UN Department of Management does not respond
to criticisms made in such settings, or in a public meeting of the
Fifth Committee, it is not inaccurate for the Press to report on what
the Staff Union or Rio Group say.
The head of
the Department of
Management has previously said, in writing, that she does not have
time to answer questions. And so we report what's said and ask about
it, and publish belated responses on the day they are received.
noon briefing, after the unilateral read out above, Inner City Press
City Press: On the Capital Master Plan, I just wanted, the, the, I
guess, two questions. One, the statement about the blast film at
Madison Avenue was made during a High-Level Committee on Management
by the Staff Union, so I just want to be, you’re saying erroneous
media, media council [inaudible]. Has the Staff Union been informed,
that’s what they say…?
I don’t know whether the Staff Union was informed, but I do know
that they have the films on the windows…
City Press: Okay. What about in the, in the, what they call the
luggage building, the building on the corner of 42nd and 2nd?
I haven’t asked, but as they mentioned, all the buildings were
inspected by DSS [Department of Safety and Security].
City Press: Right, but the Staff Union says there was a safety plan,
but that the blast film wasn’t put on. I am just saying there’s
a dispute between the Union…
I haven’t, but the Capital Master Plan, they know what they have