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Renovation Overruns


A serious shortage of funds for the renovation of the substantially gutted Secretariat compound has left the UN scrambling. Over $1.8 billion in overruns have accrued “due to inflation and delays in execution,” according to a statement by officials of the Capital Master Plan. There was no convincing presentation as to where the money really went and why $265 million (over 14%) more will be urgently required. The statement referred to “many factors, including numerous unforeseen conditions and complexities in the basements” plus, of course, the politically fashionable reference to “asbestos-containing material exceeding initial assumptions.” Asbestos, by the way, was one of the main reasons mentioned initially (by Mayor Bloomberg, we were told) for the need to overhaul the whole building. Some costs, approximately $146.8M, were described as “temporary,” including buying new furniture — temporarily! Read the post on

Samir Sanbar was assistant secretary-general for the UN Department of Public Information from 1994 to 1998 and was a special envoy of the UN secretary-general in 1993.

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Renovation Overruns
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