STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS. MEGAYLA AUSTIN, MINISTER COUNSELLOR OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE CO-OPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 147: FINANCING OF THE INTERNATIONAL RESIDUAL MECHANISM (IRM) FOR CRIMINAL TRIBUNALS - CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW FACILITY FOR THE INTERNATIONAL RESIDUAL MECHANISM (ARUSHA BRANCH), DURING THE FIFTH COMMITTEE'S FIRST RESUMED PART OF THE SEVENTY-FOURTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 4 March 2020)
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 147: Financing of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, in particular on the progress report on the construction of a new facility for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in Arusha.
2. At the outset, the Group of 77 and China would like to thank Mr. Olufemi Elias, Assistant Secretary-General and the Registrar of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, for presenting the Secretary-General's progress report contained in document A/74/7662. The Group also extends its appreciation to Mr. Abdallah Bachar Bong, Chair of the Advisory Committee, for introducing the related report contained in document A/74/707.
3. The Group of 77 and China also extend its appreciation to the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania for its continued unwavering support to the work of the Mechanism.
4. The Group of 77 and China welcome the Secretary-General's progress report which provides overview of the progress made on inter alia, (i) the completion of the outstanding work; (ii) the remediation of defects relating to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system; (iii) efforts to pursue the recovery of the direct and indirect costs arising from errors and delays, where economically feasible; (iv) projected total costs and final expenditures; (v) the closure of accounts and the settlement of claims and liabilities; and (vi) analysis of lessons learned and best practices for application, as appropriate, to other construction projects.
5. The Group notes that remediation of defects of the HVAC system, whose proper functioning is critical for the long-term preservation of the archives, remains a major challenge affecting the completion and closure of the project and we would like to emphasize the need for the Secretary-General to continue to intensify his efforts in order to ensure full completion of the project.
6. The Group of 77 and China note with appreciation the ongoing cooperation between IRM and Economic Commission for Africa which is aimed at identifying and recruiting the Contractor for the remediation of the HVAC system. We urge similar collaboration with other duty stations that have adequate technical capabilities and active construction projects with a view to realizing greater efficiencies and effectiveness.
7. With regard to the contractual remedies on design defects and project delays, the Group of 77 and China have taken note of the Mechanism’s ongoing efforts related to examining options for the appropriate recovery of direct and indirect costs arising from delays that may be attributable to the Contractor and Architect in line with directives of the General Assembly contained in its resolutions 70/258 and 73/2886. We also note the intention to withhold and deduct US$ 230,000 and US$ 77, 472 from the final payments of the Contractor and Architect respectively. Further, note has been taken that the Contractor has contested deduction from the final payments. The Group is aware that settlement of claims and liabilities form an important part of the project closure and will seek to understand the final cost of the project during the informal session.
8. The Group of 77 and China would like to emphasize the need for the Secretary - General to intensify his efforts to ensure expeditious, judicious and amicable settlement of this matter in order to enable the prompt completion of the project close-out.
9. The Group of 77 and China appreciates the inclusion of the information related lesson learned and best practices for application to other relevant capital projects. We strongly believe that, the experience of the construction in Arusha together with other completed and ongoing capital projects will be contribute to the “global guidelines for the management of construction projects.”
10. The Group appreciates that the Secretary-General has complied with the request of the General Assembly’s resolution 73/788 to include the current report as final or work in progress. However, there are a number of issues to be addressed and we support the re-submission of the “final report” to enable Member States to benefit from the updated information on pending issues including remediation of the HVAC system, settlement of claims and liabilities and understanding of “actual” cost of the project.
11. In conclusion, allow me to assure you of our Group's readiness to engage constructively on the matter with a view to concluding this item in a timely fashion.
I thank you, Mr. Chair.