UNITED NATIONS. SNOWSTORMS, CONSTRUCTION IN A SLOW SEASON

 

1 FEBRUARY 2014

SNOWSTORMS, CONSTRUCTION IN A SLOW SEASON

Those returning from the Holiday Season found U.N. Headquarters almost isolated. Successive snowstorms made it very difficult to "report to duty" as weather reports kept warning of forthcoming freezing routes or racing winds. Even those who braved inclement weather had a serious handicap: lack of transport. New Yorkers have to compete for a "cab" on normal days. In foggy ones, it turns into a serious struggle. That is, if a driver agrees to carry you. Most times, you are told in very polite Asian accents that the car is on its way to the garage.

Another drawback is construction of a wall -- or something -- along the First Avenue side of the Secretariat. There was already a steel wall built during Mr. Annan's time (Annan's Wall). Perhaps the new one -- whatever it is and whenever finished -- would, at least among staff, carry the distinguished name of Ban Ki-moon.

The third slowdown element is the slow season. Those hurriedly making their way to an almost deserted U.N. compound are either gathering to elect new members of the Economic and Social Council for 2014, or are saving their annual leave for better Spring/Summer days. Many senior officials have discovered important missions abroad. As usual, those dealing with Climate Change know best where to huddle at this time of the year.

That may be why the current issue of www.unforum.com is limited.

That is also why the next issue will take time out, returning mid-March. Meanwhile, relax. And if you're in New York -- keep warm.