Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the move of the Japanese parliament to approve payments for the renovation plan for United Nations Headquarters in New York and for the world body’s expanding peacekeeping operations.
The Japanese Diet approved a payment of the country’s assessed contribution to the UN of $1.06 billion, which includes just over $285 million as an accelerated, one-time payment towards the Capital Master Plan (CMP) for the UN Headquarters redevelopment, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement. The remaining $775 million will go to the UN peacekeeping budget.
“The Secretary-General thanks the Government of Japan for this payment, which will greatly help the United Nations fulfil its obligations,” the statement noted.
In a December 2006 resolution, the General Assembly approved the CMP at a total projected budget cost of not more than nearly $1.9 billion, and also provided Member States the option of paying in either equal instalments or a one-off payment.
The redevelopment of UN Headquarters is expected to take five years and will occur in one phase, during which staff in the Secretariat building will be relocated to alternative sites known as “swing spaces.” The overhaul is designed to result in a more sustainable, modern, safe and efficient facility.
Meanwhile, Japan is also contributing about $3 million to fund a UN Development Programme (UNDP) scheme to reduce the proliferation of small arms and light weapons across West Africa.
The Japanese grant will go towards establishing national small arms commissions in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire that will help draft legislation, promote public safety and awareness and initiate community collection programmes.
Ambassador Yukio Takasu, Japan’s Permanent Representative to the UN and the current chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, said he hoped the anti-proliferation project will also contribute towards the implementation of the Sierra Leone Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework.
The Peacebuilding Commission was set up in 2006 to help countries emerging from conflict avert a slide back to war, and the framework outlines some of the key challenges and threats – including good governance, youth employment and security sector reform – facing Sierra Leone, which endured a brutal civil war through much of the 1990s and early this decade.