25 April 2012
General Assembly
PI/2026

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Committee on Information

Thirty-fourth Session

3rd Meeting (PM)


Member States’ Support Will Strengthen Determination of Public Information

 

Department to ‘Inform, Engage and Act’, Says Communications Chief

 


As Committee on Information Concludes Debate, Speaker Calls Department

Reliable Source that Keeps Pace with World’s ‘Deafening Cacophony of Messages’


Noting the transformation of the past five years of the Department of Public Information into a modern communications outfit, the Department’s top official this afternoon pledged to address Member States’ requests to bolster specific programmes and offices while calling on Governments to help with that process.


“The Department of Public Information is dedicated to communicating the ideals and work of the United Nations to the world; to interacting and partnering with diverse audiences; and to building support for peace, development and human rights for all.  Your support will only strengthen our determination to inform, engage and act,” said Maher Nasser, Acting Head of the Department of Public Information, as the Committee on Information concluded its general debate.


Mr. Nasser, acknowledging the concern expressed by several delegates over the past two days for adequate financial resources for the global network of United Nations Information Centres, thanked those Member States who continued to provide the Centres with rent-free premises or financial help, and called on others to follow suit.  In a nod to Pakistan’s delegate, he said the Department looked forward to appointing a new full-time Director soon at the Centre in Islamabad, while also pledging to study a proposal set forth by Belarus’ representative to turn the Centre in Moscow into a regional training hub for communications staff and journalists.


In response to delegates’ request that the Meetings Coverage Section’s press releases be issued in all official languages, instead of just English and French, he pledged to continue exploring creative ways to do that without tacking on more human and financial resources.  The Department had already researched the possibility of sharing resources with the Department of General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services, but found that the lack of consistency in timing, capacity or availability of staff would not allow for a workable formula.  Nor was it realistic to translate the releases via computer software and pro bono agreements with universities.


“The options have not proven viable for press releases, given the need for fast turnaround and for high-quality drafting and editing on complex subjects,” he said, noting that the Section’s press releases were usually published within two hours of the conclusion of the meeting.  The human resources and skills required to expand them into Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish, including by just one language at a time on a rotational basis, would have significant financial implications.


Mr. Nasser also welcomed the Spanish representative’s proposal to observe the International Day of Radio in a befitting manner.  In this year’s observance, United Nations Radio drew on historic interviews from its archives to produce special multimedia programming in the six official languages, plus Portuguese and Kiswahili, as well as a promotional campaign through Facebook — all of which was carried out at no extra cost and was well-received by radio partners and audiences.


While noting that expansion, either in terms of duration or the number of participants of the Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalists Fellowship Programme, as called for by Pakistan’s representative, would have budgetary implications, Mr. Nasser said the Department planned to make use of social media platforms to allow for web-based interfacing with the Programme’s participants.


“In the increasingly deafening cacophony of messages and signals,” said Switzerland’s representative during the day’s debate, “it was a challenge for both the consumers and the producers of information to convey the essence of an issue.”  Recent events, particularly in the Arab world, showed the impact of the new ways of procuring, disseminating and dialoguing on information.  In situations of uncertainty, the United Nations information services often served as a reliable source of keeping pace with events, he said.


Iran’s representative felt that certain developed nations were taking advantage of their monopoly of modern communication technology to distort facts and fabricate events and realities to the detriment of the developing world.  He called on the international community to take steps to close the information and communication technology gap between the North and the South in order to make media more just and impartial.


Several speakers today commended the Department’s steadfast support of the Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine.  Syria’s representative joined the representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine in stressing the Programme’s importance, particularly in the light of the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people.


Also speaking this afternoon were the delegates of the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Togo, Jamaica, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago.


The representative of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta also spoke.


Also participating was a representative of the World Meteorological Organization.


Background


The Committee on Information met this afternoon to conclude its general debate.  (For more information, please see Press Release PI/2022 of 20 April.)


Statements


IGOR EVDOKIMOV (Russian Federation) commended the Department for correctly identifying its communication priorities and developing realistic annual plans in 2011 within existing resources.  Under the current financial constraints, the Department should maximize the use of available resources and ensure that all agencies speak with one voice and that their media campaigns did not overlap, but rather complemented each other.  The United Nations Information Centres were reliable agents on the ground and were responsible for adapting the Organization’s communication signals to regional and national realities.  He called for strengthening the Centres’ role and was pleased to note the high level of professional work in the post-Soviet area by the one in Moscow, which promoted the recent practice of horizontal communication between regional Centres.


He welcomed the Department’s ongoing coverage on universal issues high on the Organization’s agenda, such as xenophobia and racial and religious intolerances.  He called for the continuous preservation of the memory of the Second World War and the Holocaust, and warned against the propaganda of modern forms of Nazism, which, in some countries, were not repressed, but were encouraged at the State level.  “Crimes of the Nazis and their accomplices have no time of limitations.  Thus, we believe that the DPI should pay more attention to this subject in its outreach activity,” he said.  It was important that the Department also kept alive, not only of the victims of Nazism, but also of the “glorious soldiers and liberators”.  He commended the Department’s outreach programme, suggesting that attention also be paid to the coverage of the Rio+20 Conference.


He noted the Department’s activities involving young people, including the Model United Nations, whose implementation in his country had won wide support.  A large number of students from Russian universities had come to New York to learn about the Organization.  The Academic Impact global initiative, which had become a reliable mechanism for mutually beneficial relationships between the United Nations and the academic community, had also gained universal recognition.  The use of modern technology, such as live webcasts, connected students from around the world and allowed them to participate in the International Day of Human Space Flight marked at Headquarters.


Although he welcomed the use of modern media, such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, he said that the effective dissemination of information required a balanced approach of both new and traditional media.  He commended the work done by the Russian Language Unit of United Nations Radio in Moscow and beyond, and noted that a new P-3 post had been made available in the News Centre in the Russian Language Division.  He also noted the progress made in implementing multilingualism on the United Nations website and welcomed the digitalization of the photo and video archives.  The initiative to hold “Days” of the United Nations official languages was worth further development, he said, noting the successful commemoration of Russian Language Day.


JOHANN AESCHLIMANN (Switzerland) said that the events of the past year demonstrated to the world the importance of reliable, fast and accurate information.  “In the increasingly deafening cacophony of messages and signals, it was a challenge for both the consumers and the producers of information to convey the essence of an issue.”  He said recent events, particularly in the Arab world, showed the impact of the new ways of procuring, disseminating and dialoguing on information.  The information the Committee was concerned with was political material that empowered citizens to follow and participate in that conversation and take part in the political decision-making, both at national and international levels.  The freedom to gather information, ask difficult questions, publish, speak, read and watch what free media produced was essential to freedom.


He said that, in situations of uncertainty, the United Nations information services often served as a reliable source of keeping pace with events.  In that regard, he commended the action of the News Division.  It was equally important that the citizens of the world knew and understood the United Nations and its action.  Outreach activities were essential, and it was also highly commendable that the United Nations stayed up to date with the rapid progression of information technologies though YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.  The Department’s strategic planning should focus in particular on emerging and innovative approaches, such as “Delivering as One”, to current challenges.


That did not mean that traditional media should be neglected, he said.  He was fully aware that, in large parts of the world, neither computers nor mobile phones were a main source of information.  He underlined the importance of radio and emphasized Switzerland’s support of the “Hirondelle” Foundation, which worked with United Nations-trusted radio stations in several countries.  The international Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, to be hosted later this year by Switzerland, was an opportunity to discuss the impact of the Arab uprisings on the Middle East.  Lastly, it was important for Member States to engage in United Nations information efforts in a forward-looking and constructive manner.


KOUESSAN YOVODEVI, Director-General of Togolese Television, Togo, said his country had always used all means at its disposal to sensitize the local population about the various initiatives of the United Nations, relying on both public and private media to spread the message.  It supported the network of United Nations Information Centres.  Togolese attention to the Organization had increased following Togo’s election as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.  Togo’s media had made great efforts to bring public attention to the matter.  The national press disseminated information on the work of United Nations agencies based in Lome, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), notably their attention to Millennium Development Goals.  National Radio Lome broadcast a weekly programme called The United Nations:  Yesterday and Today.  Pedagogical in nature, the programme was very popular, particularly among young people.  National television network TVT had a regularly broadcast programme, in which chiefs of the United Nations system participated.  The United Nations system in Togo signed a cooperation agreement in 2007 with local media to carry regular United Nations informational materials.  That agreement should be strengthened, and a committee of press leaders had been set up to consider the matter.


He said that, in order to meet the information needs of young people and other groups, public conferences chaired by University professors or United Nations experts were regularly organized in Togo.  The United Nations Information Centre in Lome was a principal source of information on the United Nations.  It had a specific documentation fund concerning the Millennium Development Goals, human rights, environmental protection and maintenance of international peace and security.  Over an eight-year period, the number of visitors to the Lome Centre had risen from 300 in 2000 to more than 1,050 today, thanks, in part, to the opening of a free cybercafé.  Most visitors were professors, researchers, students and journalists.  However, the Centre’s information and communications technology equipment was outdated, and several budget cuts due to security concerns could seriously impact its functioning.  He asked the Secretary-General to make further efforts to guarantee the Centre’s functioning, which was needed to keep the United Nations close to the population it serviced.  The Information Centre’s entire dissemination strategy to date was based on print, radio and television.  The use of social media networks was limited, given the low number of Togolese with Internet access.  The Togolese Government was willing to engage in efforts in the coming months to guarantee greater circulation of information.


IHAB HAMED (Syria), aligning himself with the statement made by Algeria on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, stressed the need to for a new information system that was fairer and lived up to the aspirations of the United Nations Charter and away from narrow interests and manipulation.  In the framework of a comprehensive reform programme, the Syrian Government had adopted an Information Act last August that embodied the aspirations of the Syrian people, and aimed to create more freedom and transparency in the information field.  It was incumbent on the Committee to disseminate the voice of the Organization worldwide, give visibility to its work, promote a positive image of the United Nations and spread the message of peace, which was now facing tremendous transnational challenges.  The United Nations must rely on reliable information resources, not those focused on narrow purposes and distortion, particularly in the Arab world.  The reliance by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General’s daily bulletins on information from Western mass media, while excluding the messages conveyed by other mass media, which presented a different image, should be reconsidered, in order to rebuild the Organization’s credibility and impartiality.


He noted the importance of the Internet, but cautioned against relying exclusively on material posted anonymously.  He was deeply concerned that some Governments, information institutions and international organizations relied on video clips posted on the Internet, which lacked credibility and aimed to incite and exacerbate tensions.  The Department must increase efforts to produce informational material in all of the official languages, particularly Arabic, and bridge the gap in Arabic materials on the United Nations website.  He further called on the Department to increase its communications efforts on the question of Palestine, particularly the continued suffering of the Palestinian people due to the Israeli occupation.  In that connection, the Department should continue to implement its annual information programme on Palestine and bolster coverage of Israel’s violations of the Geneva Conventions. There must be respect for religious values and the culture of all peoples, and freedom of expression must be promoted.  The Department must also focus on such vital issues as decolonization, ending occupation and respecting the right to self-determination.


ANGELLA COMFORT (Jamaica), associating herself with the Group of 77 developing countries and China, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, thanked the Department for bringing greater focus to the issue of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and their harmful impact on people and economic development across the globe.  The Department was instrumental in allowing a small-State perspective through an article contributed by the Permanent Representative of Jamaica.  The UN Chronicle publication played a vital role in disseminating the United Nations message in Jamaica.


She also commended the Department’s focus on relevant issues, such as human rights, the campaign to end violence against women, and issues relating to the African continent, among others.  The United Nations Information Centres continued to play a vital role in disseminating information and engaging local audiences in their local languages, most currently, about the Rio+20 Conference.  She particularly lauded the efforts of the Centre in Trinidad and Tobago, which had undertaken important work in the Caribbean.  She asked that consideration be given to basing an Information Officer in Kingston, to serve the information needs of the northern-most areas of the Caribbean and complement the efforts of Centre in Port-of-Spain.


Despite the increasing use of modern information and communication technologies, she stressed that, for many in the developing world, traditional media remained paramount.  While greatly encouraged by the increase in popularity in new media, she was even more encouraged by the addition of a further 150 stations to the number of radio stations using United Nations Radio programmes and broadcasters using the UNifeed system.  Maintaining and accessing the Organization’s news, film and photographic archives should be a matter of utmost priority.  She was concerned that the delays could lead to loss of vital history.


She emphasized the importance of promoting a monument to honour the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.  The work of the Department was critical to educate future generations of the transatlantic slave trade and to the annual commemorative events surrounding the International Day of Remembrance, held in March.  She drew attention to a concert scheduled for 15 May, coordinated by the Department of Public Information and Member States, in remembrance of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.


ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran), aligning with the Group of 77 and China, said that the Department’s role was pivotal in helping to fulfil the substantive purpose of the United Nations by strategically communicating the activities and concerns of the Organization with the greatest public impact.  The Department’s most important mission was to provide accurate, impartial and relevant information on the tasks and responsibility of the Organization, in order to harness and strengthen international support for its activities.  He emphasized the Committee’s role in examining the Department’s activities, adding that close cooperation was essential.  He encouraged the Department to play its effective role in promoting and raising awareness of the International Day of Nowruz, held on 22 March.


He said that, although the information and communication revolution had greatly increased the possibilities of disseminating and sharing information, there was a widening gap between developed and developing countries.  Developing countries were suffering from an unjust, inequitable, partial and monopolized world of media.  Certain developed countries, by taking advantage of their monopoly of modern communication technology, were continuously trying to distort facts and fabricate events and realities.  He believed the international community should take steps to rectify the imbalances in the use of information and communication technologies by all Member States to make media more just and impartial.


The Department had the important responsibility to raise international awareness about the serious deterioration of the humanitarian and economic situation of the innocent Palestinian people, he said, warning against “Islamophobia” and the defamation of Islam geared towards dehumanizing Muslims.  He called on the Department to counter that phenomenon and to facilitate dialogue between different civilizations and cultures.


He said the Information Centres, including in Iran, were the “real interface” between the United Nations and the international community, and had a crucial role in enhancing the Organization’s image.  He called for further coordination between the Centres and the host countries, the provision of new information and communication technologies, and allocation of adequate resources for the Centres, as well as careful attention to the cultural, social, and economic characteristics and needs of different regions.  He supported the effort to disseminate information, not merely in the official languages of the United Nations, but also in local languages, which were widely regarded as the roots of great cultures and civilizations, including the Persian language — a source of “integrity and solidarity among several nations in our region”.


ERIKA MARTÍNEZ LIÉVANO (Mexico) thanked the Department for using both traditional media like radio and television, as well as social media like Facebook and Twitter.  She also commended it for its thematic campaigns and for enhancing coordination with other Departments.  She underscored the efforts by the Information Centres worldwide and highlighted the work of the one in Mexico City, which was at the vanguard of technological development.  It had expanded its regular live broadcast transmissions of most of its public activities, which had allowed for greater interaction with journalists.  Among the Centre’s activities were regional and international presentations of the Secretary-General’s 2011 report on the Millennium Development Goals, the 2011 World Investment Report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the 2011 Global Economic Study of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.  Given the exponential increase in the use of electronic media, she emphasized the need to increase multilingual content in diverse media, particularly on the United Nations website.


She noted the growing number of “hits” to the United Nations Spanish website and encouraged the Department to address the growing demand for as much information as possible on the other language sites, including the English site.  Further, the Department should present creative proposals to increase dissemination of the United Nations daily activities in other languages.  She supported the use of social networks for disseminating information, but felt that the use of traditional media must continue.  The Department must remain innovative.  She recognized its outreach strategies, which had made it possible to strengthen ties with academia to promote campaigns and events.  Efforts should also be strengthened to encourage young people’s participation.  The Department must continue to organize the annual “NGO conference”, which, in years passed, had contributed to debates on disarmament and sustainable development.  She called on the Department to improve the information infrastructure used by various electronic services, websites, search engines and the Dag Hammarskjöld Library.


RODNEY CHARLES (Trinidad and Tobago), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said that in the digital age citizens’ ability to access information was often closely tied to national development.  He called for greater attention to the disparities between developed and developing countries as that related to the capacity to disseminate information and communicate at all levels.  He underscored the important work being carried out by the Department in its effort to reach people around the world, especially in developing countries.  Although he was delighted to see the Department’s expanding use of new and innovative media to broadcast its message to larger audiences, he stressed the importance of traditional television and radio in developing countries like Trinidad and Tobago.  He highlighted the Department’s work throughout the year on issues that promoted discussion on sustainable development and related topics, such as forests, oceans and climate change, particularly in the lead-up to Rio+20.


He said that guaranteeing freedom of speech and press were entrenched in his country’s Constitution and in the Government’s seven-pillar strategic plan for sustainable development, which dedicated two pillars to information and communication.  Trinidad and Tobago continued to host the Information Centre for the Caribbean subregion, which assisted in raising awareness of numerous international days and international years on the United Nations calendar.  Those included the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Nelson Mandela International Day and the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.  The Centre also had had an exhibit on International Women’s Day and continued to assist United Nations Women in Barbados in promoting the “UNiTE” to end violence against women campaign.  He reiterated his call for further support to the Centre for the development and expansion of its information technology capacity, which would enable it to extend its outreach.


SOMAIA BARGHOUTI, Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China, stressed the importance of the Special Information Programme on Palestine, maintained in accordance with the General Assembly resolutions.  Adopted unanimously, they were a reflection of the worldwide support for educating about the situation of the Palestinian people.  She commended the Department, particularly the Palestine section, for its activities, including the organization of the seminar, held in Budapest, Hungary.  She also thanked the Department for organizing an art exhibition in New York.  The Department played a very important role in training of broadcasters and journalists, which no doubt contributed to freedom of press.  She called on the Department to promote other activities requested by the General Assembly on the Palestinian question, including the dispatch of news teams to the region, in order to convey the situation on the ground.


She said the Israeli occupation continued to limit the role of Palestinian journalists to cover the violations perpetrated by the Israeli army.  Israelis continued the use of rubber bullets and tear gas against journalists who were covering Israel’s illegal settlements.  Freedom of press in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was under violent attack.  That forced journalists, on numerous occasions, to stay away from the regions targeted by the Israeli army.  Thus, often, acts of aggression were not covered by the press.  All international institutions and Member States should protect foreign journalists and put restrictions on Israeli forces.  Despite the Israeli blockade of Palestinian access to information technologies, the Palestinian Government continued to strive for such access.  The Palestinian Government also strove to protect journalists, she said, highlighting a new bill being drafted to protect international journalists in the region.  Against the backdrop of Israel’s colonialist activities, she believed that the Department’s Special Information Programme on Palestine supported an end to the occupation and worked to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their unalienable rights among all nations, with pride and dignity.


BERTRAND DE LOOZ KARAGEORGIADES, Sovereign Military Order of Malta, said that he had witnessed the meaning and importance of information technology and freedom of press during his 34 years at the United Nations.  The Order of Malta attached great importance to the magnitude of communication and its social impact.  He emphasized the significance of cooperation, coordination and diplomatic relations with Member States and numerous international governmental and non-governmental organizations.


BATJARGAL ZAMBA, the representative of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said that his organization was facilitating a worldwide exchange of information through its global networks, helping the world community to withstand natural disasters, manage with scarce water resources and respond to climate variability.  He highlighted WMO’s new information system, which became operational at the beginning of this year.  It boosted data exchange for disaster risk reduction, forecasting, predictions and service delivery for food security and health, among others.  The international information system would promote improvement and expansion of the current exchange of weather, climate and water data and cut the costs involved.  Built to model the success of the Global Telecommunication System of WMO’s World Weather Watch, which had been the backbone of meteorological information exchange for the past 40 years and was used for daily weather observations and forecasts, the new system would allow users outside the meteorological community to have free access to the information for the first time.  That was important as WMO moved ahead in partnership with the United Nations and other international organizations to provide basic climate services for all in the food security, water management, disaster risk reduction and health sectors.


He said that the WMO information system, or WIS, connected and integrated information from three types of data centres, including national centres, data collection and production centres, and global information system centres.  The national centres were responsible for generating quality-controlled analysis and forecast products, and services including archiving national climate information.  Data collection and production centres focused mainly on thematic collection and production of sets of data, forecast products and information.  The global centres, connected to each other through a high-speed private network, provided entry points for any request for data exchanged within the “WIS”.  The new system also provided fundamental types of services, including the routine collection and dissemination service for time-critical and operation-critical data and products, data discovery, access and retrieval, and timely delivery for data and products.


Closing Remarks


MAHER NASSER, Acting Head of the Department of Public Information, thanked Kiyo Akasaka, the outgoing Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, who for five years had overseen the Department’s transformation into a “modern communications outfit”, capable of confronting new and evolving communications challenges.  Mr. Nasser then responded to some of the specific comments and questions raised by delegates during the Committee’s general debate.  He thanked delegates who spoke on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, for praising the work of the network of United Nations Information Centres, Offices and Services, and stressing the need to ensure they received adequate resources to conduct their work.  He also thanked Member States who continued to provide support to the Centres, either through rent-free premises or voluntary contributions, and he expressed hope that others would follow suit.


Noting the interest of Pakistan’s representative in restoring full services at the Centre in Islamabad, he said the Department looked forward to a new full-time Director taking up the post shortly.  The proposal by Belarus’ representative to turn the Centre in Moscow into a training centre for communications staff and journalists covering the region was worthy of further study, and the Department would pursue it.  Expansion, either in terms of duration or the number of participants of the Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalists Fellowship Programme, as called for by Pakistan’s representative, would have budgetary implications.  More than 470 journalists and broadcasters from more than 160 countries, including two women and one man from Pakistan, had participated in the programme since its inception in 1981.  He mentioned plans to draw on social media platforms to have web-based interfacing with participants.


He noted the importance attached to the Department’s role as a convening forum for ideas that promoted global unity and understanding, and thanked the Committee for partnering with the Department and the Permanent Mission of India to co-host the “unlearning tolerance” event on 30 April, International Jazz Day, which would focus on the role of jazz as a force for education and dialogue.  The Department had continued public awareness campaigns on the prevention of genocide.  He assured the Committee that the Department would continue to work vigorously to support the General Assembly mandate to help prevent future acts of bigotry, racism, hatred and prejudice.


He also noted the Indian representative’s comments about the United Nations Academic Impact for its role in improving awareness about the Organization’s goals, priorities, and in strengthening international support for the Organization.  He welcomed the Spanish representative’s proposal to observe the International Day of Radio in a befitting manner.  For this year’s observance of the Day, United Nations Radio had produced special multimedia programming in the six official languages plus Portuguese and Kiswahili and a promotional campaign through Facebook.  The special programming included the use of the historic United Nations Radio interviews from the archives, which was well-received by radio partners and audiences.  The Department would continue to highlight the Day with special programming, and it could do so at no extra cost.


Noting that several speakers had discussed the need to issue press releases in all official languages in a cost-neutral manner, he said the Department would continue to explore creative ways that would not require additional human and financial resources.  The Public Information Department had met with the Department of General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services to see if there was some way to share resources.  However, the latter’s mandate was such that there would be no consistency in timing, capacity or availability of staff to create any kind of workable formula.


The Department had explored translation mechanisms — rather than original rendering of meetings as with English and French — via computer software and pro-bono agreements with universities, he said.  “The options have not proven viable for press releases, given the need for fast turnaround and for high-quality drafting and editing on complex subjects,” he said.  Translation software produced materials that required significant editing, which in turn, required skilled staff.  Pro bono translating arrangements remained an effective mechanism for increasing parity among the six official languages, but such agreements did not result in the very timely delivery of materials and required editing upon receipt.


The Meetings Coverage Section’s press releases were — with rare exceptions —published within two hours of the conclusion of the meeting, he said.  The human resources and skills required to expand the press releases from the working languages, English and French, into the six official languages, or to one language at a time on a rotational basis, would have significant financial implications.  The Department would continue to consult with Member States and relevant budgetary bodies to arrive at a satisfactory decision.


“The Department of Public Information is dedicated to communicating the ideals and work of the United Nations to the world; to interacting and partnering with diverse audiences; and to building support for peace, development and human rights for all.  Your support will only strengthen our determination to inform, engage and act,” he said.


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For information media • not an official record