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UN Gives Itself A $2B Christmas Present

From a joyous Reuters:

UN approves $1.9 billion headquarters renovation

By Irwin Arieff

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. General Assembly on Saturday approved a top-to-bottom renovation of its landmark Manhattan headquarters building that is expected to take seven years to complete at a cost of $1.9 billion.

The U.N. compound is one of New York’s most popular tourist destinations. The main building is a 39-story aluminum, glass and marble tower that houses the U.N. secretariat and is considered an outstanding example of modern architecture.

But after 54 years, its roof leaks, it is riddled with asbestos and it lacks fire detectors, a sprinkler system or other emergency safety devices.

Renovation was first envisioned in 2002, and the project was seen at that time as costing about $1 billion.

But the price tag has since soared, due mainly to construction delays, improvements focused on security, and a failed campaign to convince the New York state legislature to approve a new office building to provide temporary space for staff during the work.

Because of the New York lawmakers’ opposition, planners decided they could make do with much less temporary space by stretching out the renovations and doing them just 10 stories at a time.

The project is to be financed by increases in the dues paid by all U.N. member nations on a sliding scale. The resolution gives governments a choice of paying their share all at once or in five yearly installments beginning in 2007.

That will put the poorest nations’ share at a little under $2 million each. The United States, the world’s biggest economy which picks up the tab for 22 percent of the regular U.N. budget, will pay more than $400 million.

The 192-nation U.N. assembly adopted a resolution approving the renovation plan by consensus near the end of a marathon session concluding its business for 2006 that began on Friday afternoon and stretched into the early morning hours of Saturday.

This must have been a tough decision for them. After all, it means they have to pass another resolution demanding that countries play Santa Claus. What a heavy responsibility it is to decide to give yourself such lavish things on other people’s dimes.

But it’s money well spent, right? Otherwise it would just be squandered on feeding the poor — or worse still — creating productive jobs.

Still, it would be interesting to hear how much this will really end up costing, after all of these racketeers get their cuts.

Of course we never will. The UN can’t be bothered with accounting.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, December 23rd, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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