United Nations The General Assembly finally gave a green light to start a $1.9 billion renovation of the U.N.'s landmark headquarters in New York after years of delays, a move welcomed Saturday by outgoing Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
The 39-story glass-and-steel building has not seen a major overhaul in its 54-year existence and now violates safety and fire codes.
Stressing its "serious concern at the hazards, risks and deficiencies of the current conditions of the building which endanger the safety, health and well-being of staff, delegations, visitors and tourists," the assembly late Friday night approved the budget committee's plan to refurbish the building.
The so-called Capital Master Plan will allow preparatory work to begin immediately on the phased renovation which is to be completed by 2014 at a total revised budget of $1.88 billion. The assembly approved a $42 million appropriation for 2007 for the design and pre-construction phases, including finding space for U.N. staff who must move during the refurbishment.