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UN community makes New York's diversity more 'vibrant' – new report

The United Nations flag flies at UN Headquarters in New York. (file)
UN Photo/Mark Garten
The United Nations flag flies at UN Headquarters in New York. (file)

UN community makes New York's diversity more 'vibrant' – new report

Contributing to the 'vibrant diversity' of New York, the United Nations, its agencies and staff not only generated $3.69 billion in total economic output for the City, the UN community also supported nearly 8,000 jobs and brought in more than 30,000 visitors to attend meetings, according to the 2016 UN Economic Impact Report that was released today.

“New York City is not only an economic and cultural capital, but a diplomatic one. We are proud to be the host city to the United Nations headquarters and the largest diplomatic community in the world,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press release.

“The impact of the United Nations stretches far beyond New York City and this study reflects the city's enduring commitment to supporting this critical institution,” he added.

The report, which offers an analysis of the economic costs and benefits to New York City based on data from 2014, was produced in collaboration with the Mayor's Office for International Affairs and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).

It was launched today at UN Headquarters by Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office for International Affairs, at a press conference moderated by Joined by Cristina Gallach, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Public Information, who noted the strong partnership between the UN Department of Public Information and the City, in particular in promoting key areas of UN policy and public advocacy, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

According to the report, in 2014, almost 16,000 people representing the UN community went to work in New York. Their household earnings of approximately $1.64 billion have helped to create and sustain 7,940 jobs throughout New York City. In terms of direct employment, the UN, its agencies and affiliates in New York City are the 22nd largest employer in the New York metropolitan area.

“This study shows the strength of the long-standing partnership between the United Nations and New York City. The Organization brings enormous value to its host city, and UN staff members actively contribute to the communities where they live, while the City continues to support our diverse UN family,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the press release.

In addition to its employees, the UN issued more than 30,000 accreditations for visitors attending meeting and conferences at headquarters. On average, these visitors stayed in New York City for two weeks and spent roughly $258 per day, generating an additional estimated 1,210 jobs in the city.

“From increased foot traffic to local businesses from international visitors, to the impacts of household spending of UN community employees throughout the five boroughs, the presence of the UN in New York City is helping to create and sustain additional jobs for New Yorkers,” announced NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer.

The costs that New York City incurs for supporting the United Nations are projected to be $54 million, which includes costs for security and education expenses for staff members who enrol their children in public schools. After taking these costs into account, the UN community contributed some $56 million in net fiscal benefits to New York City.

The UN Community's tax-exempt status meant that New York City forewent an estimated $99 million in tax revenue in 2014.

“I thank Mayor de Blasio and all New Yorkers for their steadfast support. We look forward to continuing to work together towards our shared goals of global peace, harmony and prosperity for all,” said Mr. Ban.

New York City competed with cities including London and San Francisco in 1946 to become the official headquarters of the United Nations.

The report's website shares a quote from John D. Rockefeller, Jr.: “New York is a center where people from all lands have always been welcomed and where they have shared common aspirations and achievements. It is my belief that the City affords an environment uniquely fitted to the task of the UN and that the people of New York would like to have the UN here permanently.”