Statement by Stephen A. Ronaghan, Adviser, on Agenda Items 118 and 132: Information Technology - Arrangements for the Secondary Data Center at Headquarters, to the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly

Stephen A. Ronaghan, Adviser
New York, NY
March 23, 2009


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We would like to thank Mr. Choi Soon-hong, the Chief Information Technology Officer, not only for introducing the report of the Secretary-General but also for the leadership he has provided in managing the Secretariat’s new ICT strategy. We would also like to thank Ms. Susan McLurg, Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for introducing the Advisory Committee’s report. The information and analysis contained in the Advisory Committee’s report will assist us in deciding what immediate action to take on this important question.

Mr. Chairman,
My delegation recognizes the fundamental importance to the Organization of having an uninterrupted flow of information and communication technology services, and the necessity of having a fully operational data backup system to mitigate the risk of losing vital services and critical information.

While my delegation will reserve its detailed comments and questions for our informal consultations, we would like to take the opportunity of this meeting to address, in general terms, a few of the issues that concern us as the Secretariat transitions its ICT operations during the construction phase of the Capital Master Plan.

In light of the challenges the Secretariat has encountered in setting up the secondary data center, we remain concerned that the setbacks experienced reflect a lack of sound contingency planning and would appreciate the Secretariat clearly articulate the steps be taken to remedy this ongoing.
We seek assurances that the Secretary General’s proposal is the best possible and the most cost effective alternative, and that it will sufficiently mitigate any risk. We trust that the Secretariat will better anticipate any subsequent needs throughout the duration not only of this project but on all components of the ICT strategy launched by the General Assembly in resolution A/63/262.
We regret that a decision such as this needs to be made when additional analysis in relation to the option to be undertaken is still outstanding. However, we recognize that the execution of the CMP would be significantly impacted without such a decision.

We believe that the report of the Advisory Committee provides an appropriate framework for approaching our discussions on this issue.

My delegation would like to remind the Secretariat that given the difficult economic conditions we are operating under and the rapidly escalating expenses we are facing under both the regular and peacekeeping budgets, we must ensure that the resources the Member States provide are used in an efficient, effective and transparent manner.

We look forward to continuing to work with other delegations on how best to move this initiative forward.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


PRN: 2009/058