Quart de Poblet: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Spain`s Crown Prince Felipe met here on Wednesday to inaugurate a new UN telecommunications centre to support peacekeeping efforts and other global operations.
The new facility, UNSB-V, is located in a suburb of the Mediterranean city of Valencia.
"Valencia will strengthen the ability for all our personnel to stay connected 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Ban said, adding that improved communications "will significantly enhance safety and security for people on the ground".
For too long, he said, the world body`s global communications had been handled through a single facility, the UN Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy, leaving the entire system vulnerable to mistakes or technical problems.
In his remarks, Prince Felipe stressed Spain`s "firm, active and permanent commitment" to UN peacekeeping missions.
Located next to Manises Airport, UNSB-V took six years to build. The Spanish government invested EUR 25 million (USD 35.8 million) in the project, which is expected to generate 300 jobs and spur the creation of another 900 positions in the area.
The first UN base in Spain will double the world body`s capacity to communicate with the more than 100,000 personnel it has deployed around the world, according to the Spanish Defence Ministry.
While designed to function in conjunction with the base in Brindisi, UNSB-V is capable of assuming the entire communications workload if necessary.