Wednesday, June 6, 2007

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paints UN green!

Secretary-General Pledges Greening of UN Headquarters

MADRID, Spain, June 6, 2007 (ENS) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the United Nations will help safeguard the planet by making its own in-house practices more climate neutral and environmentally sustainable.

In an address Tuesday at the headquarters of the UN World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, in Madrid, Ban said he believes that a planned $1.9 billion refurbishment of the Organization's Secretariat building in New York City is a "good starting point."

Movement of staff to accomodate the renovation is set to begin in 2008, with construction on a lawn on the UN's premises to begin the same year so that the General Assembly can meet in the new space during the renovation. The refurbishment is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

Originally built in 1949 and 1950, the main UN Headquarters buildings are inefficient, costing the UN more than $30 million a year in energy costs alone.

The United Nations Headquarters on the East River in New York City. Framed in marble, the 39 story office structure is known as the Secretariat building. At left is a partial view of the General Assembly building. (Photo courtesy UN)
"I would like to see our renovated Headquarters complex eventually become a globally acclaimed model of efficient use of energy and resources," said Ban, asking all United Nations offices around the world to join in this initiative.

In his speech, which coincided with World Environment Day, the secretary-general emphasized the need to eliminate wasteful practices.

"That is why, today, I am asking the heads of all UN agencies, funds and programs to join me in this effort," he said, adding that UN staff members across the system should do their part.

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