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Old May 14th, 2008, 02:03 PM   #81
Marutokung!
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I think the old design.very classic.I'm bore glass Building.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 09:17 PM   #82
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FEATURE-U.N. Geneva offices may need $1 billion repairs

GENEVA, July 1 (Reuters) - The Palais des Nations is crumbling.

Built more than 70 years ago to house the United Nations' predecessor and then largely neglected, the grandiose structure has miles of leaky and rusted pipes and unsafe wiring, inefficent heating and cooling systems, and also suffers frequent floods.

Its Russian director-general says the historic complex urgently needs repairs that could cost more than $1 billion.

Sergei Ordzhonikidze said costly renovations of the New York headquarters had distracted attention from the dilapidated state of the U.N.'s European base which hosts 9,000 meetings a year.

"The old building is beautiful, but it is not that functional," he told Reuters in an interview in his vast office, where archaic electrical installations require him to flip 12 separate switches to turn the lights on or off.

Annexes completed in 1952 and 1973 created extra room for the 4,000 staff now working in the Palais, on issues including nuclear disarmament, human rights and humanitarian aid.

But the sprawling complex -- with 37 acres (15 hectares) of floorspace set upon a 111-acre (45-hectare) park overlooking Lake Geneva -- has never had a thorough refurbishment and falls short of modern safety and energy standards, Ordzhonikidze said.

Even his ornate workspace, used by the head of the League of Nations until that U.N. precursor body was dissolved in 1946, lacks air conditioning, has drafty windows, and offers a view of the Palais' structural decay.

"This door leads to a balcony. If you go out on the balcony, you see that everything is rusted. It's not nice," he said from behind his desk.

COMFORTABLE OFFICES

U.N. facilities often fall into disrepair because donor governments are loathe to spend aid money on upgrading buildings at the expense of other projects such as the distribution of life-saving food and medicine.

"Most of the big donors begrudge giving money to the U.N. anyway, and the last thing they want them to spend it on is more comfortable offices for the staff," said Richard Golding, PricewaterhouseCoopers' global partner for the U.N. system.

Golding also linked the disrepair to the way the United Nations keeps its financial records, noting its books track only the funds received and spent, without weighing long-term capital assets such as buildings or vehicles.

"They are presented with accounts every year that are just on a cash basis," he said. "They have no clear visibility of how much these buildings are worth, how much they have been depreciating, and how much needs to be spent on them."

The U.N. has committed to converting to international public sector accounting standards, or IPSAS, which would keep better tabs on assets but that change is not expected before 2010.

TWO HUGE CENTRES

Ordzhonikidze said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had indicated he would support renovations for Geneva once the $1.9 billion New York facelift is complete. That project, managed by a unit of the Swedish construction company Skanska, is due to end in mid-2013.

"At the moment this is a problem to have a complete renovation of the two huge centres," the former Soviet diplomat said. "For headquarters it is difficult to agree because they have their own plan, and they are afraid that the member states will not be able to support another capital masterplan that will cost maybe more than $1 billion."

The U.N. system spends about $15 billion a year on its peacekeeping operations and programmes run by agencies such as the World Food Programme, UNICEF and World Health Organisation.

Under the 2008/09 budget drafted by the U.N. Secretariat in New York and approved by the world body's 192 member states, Geneva received just $9 million for maintenance and repairs, despite having asked for $26 million.

This shortfall made it impossible to commission a full assessment of the Palais' renovation needs, which would cost about $1 million to carry out, Ordzhonikidze said.

It is already clear that about 100 km (62 miles) of electric cabling and 40 km (225 miles) of water pipes need to be replaced in the older parts of the Palais, and the library in Geneva must also be better protected from floods that have damaged tonnes of U.N. archival records, he said.

Some governments, including Spain, Switzerland, France, Slovenia and Lithuania, have refurbished individual rooms as a donation to the Palais, which attracts 100,000 visitors a year.

The director-general said he hoped U.N. ambassadors in Geneva would push for an overall upgrade to begin alongside the New York renovation, which was launched to address hazards from asbestos, lead paint, a lack of sprinklers and power failures.

"My heart bleeds for the Palais," Ordzhonikidze said. "This is a historical heritage that the United Nations is happy to have. There is no comparison anywhere."
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Old August 5th, 2008, 07:11 PM   #83
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Staff urged to dress down, stay cool as UN heats up

UNITED NATIONS, July 30 (Reuters) - The United Nations is encouraging its New York staff to trade wool business suits for cooler attire this summer so the organization can slash air conditioning costs and help the environment.

"There is going to be a relaxing of the dress protocols and people are being encouraged to wear lighter clothing," said U.S. architect Michael Adlerstein, who is overseeing a $1.8 billion renovation of the 60-year-old U.N. skyscraper.

Adlerstein said about $100,000 would be saved by turning the thermostats up 5 degrees to 77 Fahrenheit (25 Celsius) in the U.N. secretariat building and to 75 F (24 C) in conference rooms, during a trial run in the scorching month of August.

It would also help the environment in New York City, he said. About 4,400 million pounds of steam -- equivalent to several hundred tons of carbon dioxide -- would be saved by reducing air conditioning at the landmark midtown Manhattan building.

He said staff were being encouraged to shed their trademark dark suits and switch to lighter business casual clothing. Adlerstein sported a white shirt with neither jacket nor tie as he addressed reporters at U.N. headquarters.

"I don't want to get involved in the fashion police of determining exactly what people can wear, but the encouragement of business casual is where we are going," he said.

If the trial is a success, thermostats will be turned down 5 degrees in winter. The year-round changes could save up to $1 million annually, Adlerstein said.

Japanese diplomats will likely have an easy time making the transition. In 2005, Japan launched a "Cool Biz" campaign encouraging people to dress down in summer to reduce air conditioning use and greenhouse gas emissions.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 12:00 PM   #84
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NYC suspends school visits to UN over fire safety concerns; world body says buildings are safe
10 September 2008

NEW YORK (AP) - The city and the United Nations, which have tussled for years over parking tickets and property taxes, are now squabbling over schoolchildren -- specifically, whether it's safe for them to visit U.N. headquarters.

The nation's largest school system said this week it was halting trips to the landmark complex over concerns about fire hazards, though the U.N. insists the buildings are safe.

"We feel that it's very unfortunate that children in this area -- in the host city, in our neighborhood -- can't come visit," U.N. spokeswoman Soung-ah Choi said Wednesday.

The city's decision affects only local public school pupils, who account for many of the roughly 50,000 students who tour the U.N.'s midtown Manhattan headquarters each year. The U.N. draws about 500,000 visitors of all ages annually.

The dispute comes as the city seeks more say on fire safety in buildings owned by governmental agencies now exempt from city regulations and inspections. Two firefighters died in an August 2008 blaze in a government-owned skyscraper near ground zero that was rife with safety violations.

City officials who were allowed to inspect the U.N. in 2006 and early 2007 found 866 violations, according to a letter Monday from Marjorie B. Tiven, the city's U.N. liaison. The complex, which dates to 1951, is just beginning its first major overhaul.

The inspectors called for new sprinklers, smoke detectors, exit signs and fire doors, among other things. Tiven, who also is Mayor Michael Bloomberg's sister, said many problems have been fixed but the world body failed to install fire doors in some areas of the 39-story Secretariat building and corridors underneath the complex.

"Given that they haven't competed these critical safety projects, we're not comfortable sending schoolchildren on tours," Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post said Wednesday.

Tiven said fire officials had recommended canceling all tours, a suggestion the U.N. has rebuffed.

The U.N.'s experts have declared the complex safe, Choi said, adding that the U.N. changed tour routes and spent $3 million to meet the city's demands. Any remaining issues will be rendered moot by a $1.9 billion makeover that began in May, she said.

The work is expected to take until 2013. It entails shifting roughly 5,000 employees from the Secretariat tower to other locations, including a temporary building under construction on the complex's lawn.

The complex along the East River was designed by an international team, including the renowned Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier. About 39 million people have visited since tours began in 1952.

While the U.N. has been a mainstay of some school tour schedules, the city teachers' union said it supported the city's move.

"We always have to put kids' safety first," United Federation of Teachers spokesman Ron Davis said.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 05:42 PM   #85
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UN staff worry about asbestos exposure, security

UNITED NATIONS, April 16 (Reuters) - Many people at U.N. headquarters worry about security risks and exposure to toxic asbestos during the upcoming renovation of the 60-year-old New York skyscraper, its staff union chief said on Thursday.

The $2 billion renovation project is intended to make the blue-green tinted 40-story building along Manhattan's East River safer, more comfortable and greener.

During the renovation, which is already underway and is expected to take several years, U.N. employees, contractors and accredited media representatives will be moved to temporary office spaces inside or near the U.N. complex.

Stephen Kisambira, president of the United Nations staff union, held a rare news conference at U.N. headquarters to voice staff concerns about the so-called Capital Master Plan.

"Asbestos abatement is a serious issue," he told reporters. "The risk is there ... They are saying that nothing can go wrong. How can they be sure?"

Removal of the cancer-causing flame-retardant asbestos lining the ceiling tiles of the U.N. building is one of the most sensitive aspects of the renovation.

The project's manager, New York architect Michael Adlerstein, has assured U.N. staff that there is nothing to worry about. His office has set up a website that explains various aspects of the renovation, including asbestos (http://huwu.org/cmp/uncmp/english/).

"There are very stringent requirements for asbestos procedures, and those will be followed by the contractors," the website says. But Kisambira is not convinced.

One of the problems, he said, was that contractors removing the asbestos cannot be sued because of the special legal status of the United Nations, which is technically not U.S. territory. Because of the lack of liability, he said, many staff are worried that the contractors will be less careful than usual.

Neither Adlerstein, his spokesman nor the construction manager, Skanska USA Building, were available for comment.

'VULNERABLE TO ATTACKS'

Kisambira said that the problem of asbestos in the U.N. building is not a new one. He said New York City authorities were permitted to take air samples in the building several years ago but their findings were never released.

He also complained that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his administration have not carried out a threat and risk assessment for most of the U.N. structures, including the temporary ones where workers will be housed for several years.

"The organization's vulnerable to attacks, everywhere," Kisambira said. "We need to know what risks we are facing."

The staff union has adopted several resolutions demanding a risk assessment, but those have been ignored, he said.

Although the main U.N. facilities in the United States, Vienna and Geneva are widely considered to be secure, there have been high-profile attacks on U.N. buildings elsewhere, prompting a tightening of security at U.N. sites worldwide.

In December 2007, a car bombing at the U.N. building in Algiers killed at least 41 people, among them 17 U.N. staff. In 2003, 15 staff and seven others were killed by a bomb attack at the U.N. building in Baghdad.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 06:59 PM   #86
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A few years ago I was able on a few occasions to go around the UN's parking, underground and other corridors, and I have to say, while its public areas might be clean, what goes on in the backdoors is quite scary. Everything you read is quite true, leaks, decrepit areas, etc.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 12:10 PM   #87
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It's an old building ... but I thought the hardest part was securing the funding. The actual renovation itself should not be so hard.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 12:29 AM   #88
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Couldn't they just move the whole thing to a neutral nation, and/or one that is a little more supportive of the United Nations? I can think of at least 50 countries that are more suitable. Switzerland? Panama? Singapore?

If it has to go in a big city, why not some place like Melbourne, Toronto, Berlin, Istanbul, Santiago, Cape Town, or Kuala Lumpur? I'm sure all of these cities would go to far greater lengths to accommodate the United Nations. The US hasn't even paid their UN bills. The US government clearly doesn't have much regard for the UN, so why would the UN continue to be headquartered there?

In 1945 in made a lot more sense. In 2009, it doesn't.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 01:09 AM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidso View Post
Couldn't they just move the whole thing to a neutral nation, and/or one that is a little more supportive of the United Nations? I can think of at least 50 countries that are more suitable. Switzerland? Panama? Singapore?

If it has to go in a big city, why not some place like Melbourne, Toronto, Berlin, Istanbul, Santiago, Cape Town, or Kuala Lumpur? I'm sure all of these cities would go to far greater lengths to accommodate the United Nations. The US hasn't even paid their UN bills. The US government clearly doesn't have much regard for the UN, so why would the UN continue to be headquartered there?

In 1945 in made a lot more sense. In 2009, it doesn't.
WOW! the most stupid remark i have ever read is right here, Why the hell would we put the UN headquarters in another city what is wrong with NYC?, nothing you just dont like the US so you want it in Canada, do you think canada is neutral? no they have soldiers overseas just like the US, the US donates 22 percent of the UN budget, i guess you dont know that being the biased canadian you are
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 01:51 AM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backupcoolm4n View Post
WOW! the most stupid remark i have ever read is right here, Why the hell would we put the UN headquarters in another city what is wrong with NYC?, nothing you just dont like the US so you want it in Canada, do you think canada is neutral? no they have soldiers overseas just like the US, the US donates 22 percent of the UN budget, i guess you dont know that being the biased canadian you are
The US undermines the United Nations at every opportunity; whether it be international laws to amendments supported by the rest of the world.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 02:07 AM   #91
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Let's just accept the fact that the UN headquarters is in NYC (and also-ish in Geneva) and will be for the foreseeable future. While the US and the UN have not always seen "eye to eye" (to put it lightly), without the US it would be very debatable if the UN would even be able to exist.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 02:08 AM   #92
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Maybe it should go on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean, the middle of nowhere--the perfect neutral place.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 02:31 AM   #93
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Maybe it should go on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean, the middle of nowhere--the perfect neutral place.
That is too close to East Asia and the Americas while Europe and Africa are too far away!
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 03:34 AM   #94
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This isn't a question of where the UN should move to. The US provides a large chunk of the funding. If the Americans don't support the UN, regardless of where they are headquartered, the renovations / building of a new compound will not happen. That being said, the UN sits on 'international' territory in New York, so technically it's not American soil.

The notion of a 'neutral' country doesn't apply so much today. Many countries have their preferred diplomatic circles, so even though they may not be in an 'alliance' of some sort, their foreign policies certainly do not show a neutral stance. This comment applies to the big peacekeeping countries that may 'seem' neutral.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 08:18 AM   #95
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The UN has been pretty clear in asserting that they weren't going to leave New York. Their structure is not likely to change, with other key locations in Vienna and Geneva.

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Old April 22nd, 2009, 09:11 AM   #96
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The Palace of Nations at Geneva is crumbling, and an urgent renovation is needed. I could see renovations start soon, if they get the right funding for that project.

And does the United Nations City in Vienna even need any renovations? It looks well-maintained, so it may not even need one.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 04:46 PM   #97
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UN says staff needn't worry about asbestos removal

UNITED NATIONS, April 17 (Reuters) - The United Nations sought to reassure its increasingly nervous staff on Friday, saying that the removal of toxic asbestos during a major renovation project at U.N. headquarters would be done safely.

"In addition to the company that will be performing the asbestos abatement, we will have another independent group that will monitor how the abatement process is carried out, and ... try to ensure that it's done in a safe manner," U.N. spokesman Farhaq Haq told reporters.

Haq was responding to concerns about the removal of the cancer-causing flame-retardant asbestos lining the ceiling tiles of the U.N. building raised by Stephen Kisambira, president of the U.N. staff union, during a rare news conference on Thursday.

Kisambira said many people working at U.N. headquarters were worried about the $2 billion renovation project, intended to make the blue-green tinted 40-story building along Manhattan's East River safer, more comfortable and greener.

Skanska USA Building, a unit of Nordic building firm Skanska, is the construction manager and will be overseeing the asbestos removal. Haq said ATC Associates, an independent environmental engineering, health and safety specialist, will be monitoring the process.

New York architect Michael Adlerstein, who is overseeing the renovation of the United Nations, gave further details on the work that ATC would be doing.

As a certified independent consultant it would be "taking air samples several times a day at prescribed locations inside and outside the work area," he told Reuters in an e-mail.

But Kisambira said he still has concerns, partly because of doubts raised by ongoing legal action involving allegations of negligence on the part of Skanska during the removal of asbestos from a courthouse in Salinas, California, in 2005-06.

'NO MERIT'

When asked about the case, Adlerstein said that "all charges were dismissed in 2007." But Skanska spokeswoman Jessica Murray acknowledged that nearly 200 personal injury lawsuits related to the courthouse case were still pending.

"Individuals who worked in the courthouse asserted claims against Skanska, the county's program manager and others, alleging a negligent release of asbestos in connection with the courthouse renovation," Murray said.

"The claims against Skanska have no merit and Skanska is vigorously defending against them," she added.

Adlerstein did not comment on the lawsuits.

Kisambira said the Salinas case was one of the reasons people working at U.N. headquarters were nervous.

"It's a dangerous situation," he told Reuters. "They're playing with the lives of all of us."

Another problem, Kisambira said, is that contractors removing the asbestos cannot be sued in case of accidents because of the special legal status of the United Nations, which is technically not U.S. territory.

Adlerstein acknowledged that they could not be sued.

"In case of disputes, arbitration will be sought, rather than to revert to formal litigation," he said. "This has been the practice since the founding of the U.N. and its aim is to protect the U.N., not the vendor."
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Old July 26th, 2010, 04:52 PM   #98
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UN council room has last meeting before renovation

UNITED NATIONS, March 24 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council chamber -- one of the world's most familiar rooms since it was built nearly six decades ago -- hosted its last meeting on Wednesday before a two-year renovation project.

The chamber is being closed as part of a $1.9 billion plan to refurbish the entire United Nations complex in Manhattan. For the time being, the 15-nation council will meet in a conference room in the basement, U.N. officials said.

With its horseshoe-shaped table and chairs upholstered in the U.N. color of light blue, the chamber has featured in countless photographs and television news clips.

Completed in 1952, it was a gift of the Norwegian government and was designed by Norwegian architect Arnstein Arneberg.

Wednesday's last meeting in the chamber was devoted to a briefing of the council by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on a trip he paid to the Middle East last weekend.

The council is scheduled to reoccupy the refurbished chamber in early 2012, said Werner Schmidt, a spokesman for the renovation project.
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Old July 27th, 2010, 10:18 PM   #99
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How 'bout we tear it down, dissolve the UN and create a new organization where Libya isn't the head of the council on Democracy and Sudan the head of the council on womens equality?!

Who's on board?
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Old July 27th, 2010, 10:40 PM   #100
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Stupid idea, in my opinion.
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