Sumario: EU Presidency Statement - Programme Budget for Biennium 2006-2007 (31 October 2006: New York)
Statement by Ms. Katja Pehrman, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations, on behalf of the European Union, UN 61st Session; V Committee, Agenda Item 117: Programme Budget for the Biennium 2006-2007 New York
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
First of all, let me thank the Director of Programme Planning and Budget Division Ms. Sharon van Buerle for introducing the report of the Secretary-General on renovation to the residence of the SG (A/61/377) and the Chairman of the ACABQ, Mr. Rajat Saha, for his comments on the related report of the ACABQ (A/61/523).
The report in front us outlines the current conditions of the residence of the Secretary-General as well as clearly indicates the renovation work needed. The last significant renovation of the residence dates back to 1950 and the conditions of the premises have deteriorated since then. Due to various operational deficiencies of the building the European Union considers the major renovation necessary.
However, we do share the observations made by the ACABQ on this issue. The proposal to renovate the residence of the Secratary-General could have been submitted as part of the proposed programme budget for 2006-2007, rather than as revised estimates in the middle of the biennium. Furthermore, the European Union would be interested in hearing more information on what options and alternative solutions were explored and how the cost estimates were arrived at. Thus we would appreciate clarifications in this regard.
Like the ACABQ, we wish to stress the need to adhere strictly to the time schedule of the renovation work, as the delays in the implementation tend to cause cost escalation and should therefore be avoided. The EU expects that measures will be taken to ensure transparency and accountability of the project, including appropriate open-bidding procedures. All necessary security improvements, including the minimum operating security standards (MOSS) requirement, should be implemented.
We look forward to discussing the issue further and hearing the clarifications on our questions during the informal session.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.