United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

The Director-General addresses the 171st session of the Headquarters Committee

On 3 July 2009, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, opened the 171st session of the Organization’s Headquarters Committee, which is chaired by Ms Ina Marčiulionytė, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Lithuania to UNESCO.

In his remarks, Mr Matsuura noted that the renovation of the Fontenoy building was one of his priorities dating back to the time when he was first campaigning to be elected as Director-General in 1999. “The Fontenoy building had markedly deteriorated since its inauguration in 1958”, he said.

The Director-General recalled that when he assumed office in November 1999, the Belmont plan was in place, but the Organization needed to mobilize the necessary financial package for the renovation of the building. Mr Matsuura noted with satisfaction that it had been possible to embark on Phase 2 of the Belmont Plan, which is financed by an interest-free loan granted by a French institution with the guarantee of the French Government who also pays directly the interests of the loan. In this regard, the Director-General expressed his gratitude to the host country authorities for their contribution. He also thanked the Headquarters Committee for its constant support for the renovation works.

Turning to the recent External Auditor’s report on the renovation, the Director-General noted that valuable lessons touching on administrative and technical issues were drawn from the recommendations provided, which he had fully accepted. He also said that the overall tone of the report was positive; as the External Auditor had stressed that the Organization’s performance was excellent, if compared to similar large-scale renovation projects in Paris. “After consulting the Chairperson of the Headquarters Committee, I am now personally more directly involved with the management of the renovation and conservation plan since we must ensure the completion of the works before the General Conference”, he said. Mr Matsuura went on to highlight new administrative arrangements he had established through his blue note of 4 May 2009 on this subject*. “I count on the Chairperson’s support and the Committee’s guidance in these final stages of the renovation plan”, he concluded.

Speaking about the Miollis/Bonvin Site, the Director-General underlined that UNESCO’s Executive Board had requested him to reduce the financial allocations to Part III of the Organization’s draft Programme and Budget for 2010-2011 (35 C/5). In the circumstances, Mr Matsuura explained that he would not be in a position to launch any major renovation works at this site. However, “despite these financial limitations, some priority works are being done on the site as part of the conservation programme”, he noted.

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Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 129-2009 -  Publication Date: 06-07-2009

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