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13.01.2010 Press Release

Ban inaugurates temporary home for General Assembly, UN staff

By UN
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11 January - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today snipped a blue ribbon to inaugurate a temporary new building to house the General Assembly and a large number of United Nations staff members as the world body's New York Headquarters undergoes renovations.

“A transition like this is never easy,” Mr. Ban said at the ceremony. “This building was designed to serve for a limited period to be functional and cost- effective.”

The new three-storey, $140-million structure sits on the UN compound's North Lawn, and will serve as the home base to the 192-member Assembly as the landmark 39-storey Secretariat building towering over the East River and First Avenue in Manhattan is overhauled.

“When this structure is no longer needed, it will be dismantled, its components recycled or reused, and our beautiful North Lawn will be restored,” said Mr. Ban.

The temporary structure, stressed Michel Tommo Monthe, Vice-President of the 64th Assembly session, will “enable Member States to proceed with their work smoothly.”

Before its dismantlement as the renovations winds down, thousands of meetings will be held in it “so that the United Nations may continue its important work,” Capital Master Plan (CMP) Executive Director Michael Adlerstein said at today's ceremony.

Also this morning, the Secretary-General is expected to hold a town hall meeting with staff, followed by an address to the General Assembly, during which he will lay out his priorities for 2010.

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