Remarks at a Fifth Committee Meeting on Agenda Item 136: Strategic Heritage Plan

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Minister Counselor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 30, 2017


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

My delegation would like to thank UNOG Director of Administration, Mr. Clemens Adams, and Vice-Chairman of the ACABQ, Mr. Babou Sene, for introducing their respective reports on the Strategic Heritage Plan, SHP.

The United States notes the progress that has been made to date on the project as well as the efforts outlined in the Secretary-General’s annual progress report in this regard. Because of its significant resourcing levels, the United States seeks to ensure that the resources dedicated to it are transparently and effectively managed, and that the project is completed within the approved budget and timeline.

The Strategic Heritage Plan involves many components, including governance, risk management, space utilization, and accessibility, and we look forward to discussing these issues further this session along with the financing arrangement to ensure Member States continue to provide direction needed for success of the project.

Mr. Chairman, my delegation wishes to highlight two particular issues: financing of the project and efforts to reduce the financial burden on Member States through alternative financing options and flexible workplace strategies and space efficiency. My delegation firmly believes for transparency and good governance for a project this size, that a separate account should be established for this project outside of the regular budget. We also appreciate the updates on donations and rental income in the report, but reiterate that any revenue gained from leasing any UN properties in Geneva must be applied to the Strategic Heritage Plan and the financing of the project within the approved amount. We would like to again thank the Swiss government for its offer of interest-free loans.

With regard to flexible workplace and the mandate given by the General Assembly in the 70th session to implement this initiative as part of the Strategic Heritage Plan, we would like to thank UNOG and the UN Office of Central Support Services in the Department of Management for their efforts in exploring ways to maximize space efficiency in the new and existing buildings. While the Palais is an historic building, we encourage the SHP team to continue to identify opportunities to modernize within that footprint to ensure a more flexible workplace and increased capacity within the Palais and related buildings.

Mr. Chairman, in closing, my delegation is committed to the success of this project and stands ready to work constructively with delegations to ensure that outcome.

Thank you.