Must the UN stay in Manhattan? (Alexander Casella, DECEMBER 2, 2005, International Herald Tribune)
Is it necessary for a cash-strapped organization whose mandate is to preserve world peace and fight poverty to occupy one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in one of the world’s most costly cities?
This is the question that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan failed to address when he requested that the General Assembly approve a disbursement of $1.6 billion for the necessary refurbishment of the UN headquarters building in New York. A subsidiary question, which has also not been entertained is why imaginative and less onerous solutions have not been investigated. […]
There is nothing in the UN charter that provides that the UN headquarters must imperatively be in New York. Indeed, when a site was determined in 1946, the preferred location was really Boston. New York was chosen only because John D. Rockefeller Jr. donated the land for the building.
Moving UN headquarters from New York should therefore be considered, provided that some minimum requirements are met. These entail that the new site should be in a developed, foreigner-friendly democracy with a good infrastructure and communication network in an uncongested environment where English is either spoken or commonly understood.
Such a site exists, less than 400 miles from New York – I nominate Montreal.
Why not get them out of the city altogether and into a setting where they’d have to live with real people? Of course, you have to strip them of diplomatic immunity first…