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Proposed UN Building by East River Not Vetted for Disaster Risk by UN Expert

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 10 -- The UN's building east of First Avenue, north of 42nd Street was full of talk of Disaster Risk Reduction on Thursday.

When the UN's expert on the topic, Margareta Wahlstrom, came to take media questions, the Free UN Coalition for Access thanked her -- and asked of any risk assessment for the UN's proposed new building just south of 42nd Street, next to the East River. Video here, from Minute 11:41.

Wahlstrom replied, "I must confess, I don't know." She said that after Hurricane Sandy, which dealt a "blow" to the current UN, risk assessment should be done. But has it been?

Back on October 4, Inner City Press for FUNCA thanked UN HABITAT's Joan Clos and asked him about UN proposing to take over Robert Moses Playground, given Clos' preaching about open space. Clos said Habitat only gives advice "when asked."

  So the UN or the UN Development Corporation did not ask UN HABITAT's advice before proposing to take over a playground, and did not ask the UN's Disaster Risk Reduction expert Wahlstrom before proposing building a new building next to the East River, after flooding a year ago. Great planning.

  The Free UN Coalition for Access began asking about this on October 1, in terms of whether the proposed new building would be accessible. Spokesperson Martin Nesirky replied that the building on Robert Moses Playground is only one proposal -- but it has already started the New York City Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, ULURP.

  Something's wrong there.

  Inner City Press also asked Wahlstrom about the Obama administration deeming Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA workers to be non-essential - could this be politicization? Video here from minute 12:22.

  Wahlstrom said emergency management is of course essential. So, like with closing the war veteran memorials, is this politicization? What about asking for a delay in 2014 of the review of the US in the Human Rights Council?

  It was said the State Department remains functional. Just not on human rights? Or is it that Republicans, many of whom opposed the HRC, won't complain about this delay? Watch this site.


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