STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. JIBRAN KHAN DURRANI, FIRST SECRETARY OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF PAKISTAN TO UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 138: PROPOSED PROGRAMME BUDGET FOR 2023: SEISMIC MITIGATION AND RENOVATION PROJECT OF THE NORTH BUILDING AT THE ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (ECLAC) IN SANTIAGO (New York, 2 November 2022)
1. I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and thank Mr. Chandramouli Ramanathan, Controller, and Assistant Secretary-General for introducing the progress report A/77/315. We also thank Mr. Abdallah Bachar Bong, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), for presenting the report A/77/7/Add 8.
2. The G-77 and China also note with appreciation the continued support of the Government of Chile, the host country of ECLAC, to the work of the Commission in Santiago and for facilitating the implementation of this project. The Group reiterates the importance of close cooperation between the Organization and the host country and we trust that the Secretary-General will continue to take steps to engage the local Government to ensure the success of the project.
3. The Group emphasizes the relevance of the five regional commissions to the Organization. ECLAC was founded in 1948 with the purpose of contributing to the economic development of Latin America and the Caribbean and has been headquartered in Santiago, Chile, since 1965.
4. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean is responsible for promoting the economic, social and environmentally sustainable development of the countries in this region. It is a reference for Latin America and the Caribbean since it is a hub for the gathering of information, the creation of ideas and multilateral cooperation for the sake of development. The Commission has been relentlessly active through various political moments in the region and has been a bastion for the developing countries that give life to it. Thus, ECLAC is not only a physical presence translated into a building, but it has also a historical significance.
5. The Group takes note of the fourth progress report by the Secretary-General on the seismic mitigation and renovation project. We welcome the sustainability and energy-efficiency approach of the planned renovation of the ECLAC North Building that would transform the renovated structure into the first net-zero building within the United Nations system. We note that the new building will consume 41 per cent to 48 per cent, less energy than the current building. In conjunction with this and applicable lessons learned in all aspects of the project, we encourage the Secretary-General to continue sharing the knowledge among other United Nations construction projects.
6. The Group stresses the importance of effective governance, oversight, internal control and accountability to ensure that the project is implemented within the approved budget and timetable. We welcome that the projected costs and quality of the proposed solutions are continuously being monitored by the project management team in order to achieve and comply with United Nations objectives and standards.
7. The Group of 77 and China would highlight following additional points:
First, we note that construction process, due to start in January 2022, is behind the original project schedule. Keeping this in mind, we request the Secretary-General to abide by the approved scope, budget and timeline for the completion of the project by the end of 2024.
Second, we note the recent quantitative analysis of risks conducted in May 2022 and observe decrease in the level of confidence for the project to be completed within the approved budget from 14 percent this year as compared to 30 percent in 2019.
Third, we take note of the cancellation of the tender for the general contractor service contract and the launch of the rebidding tendering exercise, in the form of a multistage request for proposal exercise and encourage the Secretary-General to undertake all efforts to mitigate the risks related to the ongoing tendering process and the construction planning phase, in order to conclude the project by the end of 2024.
8. In conclusion, the Group of 77 and China would like to assure you of our continued commitment to work constructively with all delegations and to engage in constructive deliberations on this agenda item to reach a positive outcome in a timely manner.
I thank you Mr. Chair.