United Nations

A/50/21


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

[7 August 1995]

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


United Nations
Report of the
Committee on Information

Official Records of the Fiftieth Session
Supplement No.21 (A/50/21)
A/50/21
Report of the
Committee on Information
Official Records T Fiftieth Session
Supplement No.21 (A/50/21)
General Assembly
Official Records of the Fiftieth Session
Supplement No.21 (A/50/21)

United Nations T New York, 1995
NOTE

        Symbols of United Nations documents are composed  of capital letters
combined with figures. Mention  of such a symbol indicates a reference to  a
United Nations document.
ISSN 0255-190X
--[Original:  English]

[7 August 1995]  

CONTENTS

Chapter    Paragraphs  Page

I.  INTRODUCTION ..........................................  1 - 101

II.  ORGANIZATIONAL QUESTIONS ..............................  11 -204

  A.  Opening of the session ............................   114

  B.  Election of officers ..............................   124

  C.  Adoption of the agenda and programme of work ......  13 - 154

  D.  Observers .........................................  16 - 175

  E.  Other matters .....................................  18 - 205

III.  GENERAL DEBATE AND CONSIDERATION OF SUBSTANTIVE
  QUESTIONS .............................................  21 - 516

IV.  PREPARATION AND ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE
  TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT ITS FIFTIETH SESSION .......  52 - 5315

Annexes

I.  Statement by the Chairman of the Committee on Information at the
  opening of the seventeenth session .................................21

II.  Statement by the Assistant Secretary-General for Public Information
  at the opening of the seventeenth session of the Committee on
  Information ........................................................23

III.  Paper on media strategies for peace-keeping and other field
  operations .........................................................41
-iii---I.  INTRODUCTION

1.  At its  thirty-fourth session, the General  Assembly decided to maintain
the Committee  to  Review  United Nations  Public Information  Policies  and
Activities, established  under Assembly resolution  33/115 C  of 18 December
1978, which would be  known as the Committee on Information, and to increase
its membership  from 41  to 66.   In its  resolution 34/182  of 18  December
1979, the Assembly requested the Committee on Information:

  "(a)   To continue to examine  United Nations  public information policies
and activities,  in the light of  the evolution  of international relations,
particularly during  the past  two decades, and  of the  imperatives of  the
establishment of  the new  international economic order  and of a  new world
information and communication order;

  "(b)   To  evaluate  and  follow up  the  efforts made  and  the  progress
achieved  by the  United Nations  system  in the  field of  information  and
communications;

  "(c)  To promote the establishment of a new, more just and more  effective
world  information and communication  order intended to strengthen peace and
international understanding and based on the  free circulation and wider and
better balanced  dissemination of  information and  to make  recommendations
thereon to the General Assembly;"

and  requested the  Committee and  the  Secretary-General  to report  to the
Assembly at its thirty-fifth session.

2.   At its thirty-fifth session, the General Assembly, in resolution 35/201
of  16  December  1980,  expressed its  satisfaction  with the  work  of the
Committee  on Information,  approved its  report and  the recommendations of
its  Ad Hoc  Working Group,     Official  Records  of the  General Assembly,
Thirty-fifth  Session,  Supplement  No.  21,  (A/35/21),  annex,  sect.   V.
reaffirmed the  mandate given  to the  Committee in  resolution 34/182,  and
decided to increase  the membership of the Committee from 66 to 67.   At its
organizational session in 1980, the Committee  agreed that the principle  of
geographical rotation would be applied to  all the officers of the Committee
and that they should be elected for two-year terms of office.

3.   At  its thirty-sixth  to  forty-eighth  sessions, the  General Assembly
again expressed  its satisfaction with the  work of  the Committee, approved
its reports     Ibid., Thirty-sixth  Session, Supplement  No. 21  (A/36/21);
ibid.,  Thirty-seventh Session,  Supplement  No. 21  (A/37/21  and  Corr.1);
ibid., Thirty-eighth Session, Supplement No. 21  (A/38/21 and Corr.1 and 2);
ibid., Thirty-ninth  Session, Supplement No.  21 (A/39/21); ibid.,  Fortieth
Session,   Supplement  No.   21  (A/40/21);   ibid.,  Forty-first   Session,
Supplement No. 21 (A/41/21); ibid., Forty-second Session, Supplement No.  21
(A/42/21); ibid., Forty-third  Session, Supplement No. 21 (A/43/21);  ibid.,
Forty-fourth  Session,  Supplement  No.  21  (A/44/21);  ibid.,  Forty-fifth
Session,  Supplement   No.   21  (A/45/21);   ibid.,  Forty-sixth   Session,
Supplement No.  21 (A/46/21); ibid.,  Forty-seventh Session, Supplement  No.
21 (A/47/21); ibid.,  Forty-eighth Session, Supplement No. 21  (A/48/21).and
its recommendations,  and reaffirmed the mandate  given to  it in resolution
34/182  (resolutions 36/149 B, 37/94 B, 38/82 B, 39/98 A, 40/164 A, 41/68 A,
42/162, 43/60, 44/50, 45/76, 46/73 B, 47/73 B  and 48/44 B).  At  its forty-
ninth  session, the  Assembly took  note of  the  report  of the  Committee 
Ibid.,  Forty-ninth Session,  Supplement No.  21 (A/49/21). and  adopted its
consensus recommendations  (resolutions 49/38 A and  B).   The Assembly also
requested the Committee to report to it at its fiftieth session.

4.   At its  thirty-ninth session, the  General Assembly  appointed two  new
members  of the  Committee, namely,  China  and  Mexico; at  its forty-first
session  the Assembly  appointed  Malta a  member of  the Committee;  at its
forty-third session, it appointed Hungary, Ireland  and Zimbabwe; and at its
forty-fourth session it appointed Nepal.

5.   At  its  forty-fifth session,  the  General Assembly  decided,  on  the
recommendation  of  the  Committee,  to   increase  the  membership  of  the

Committee from 74 to 78 members,  and appointed Czechoslovakia, the  Islamic
Republic  of  Iran, Jamaica  and  Uruguay  members  of the  Committee.   The
Assembly also decided to appoint  the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic
a member of the  Committee, with immediate effect,  to fill the vacancy left
by the German Democratic Republic.

6.   At  its  forty-sixth  session,  the General  Assembly  decided, on  the
recommendation  of  the  Committee,  to  increase   the  membership  of  the
Committee from 78 to 79 members and  appointed Burkina Faso a member  of the
Committee.

7.   At its  forty-seventh  session, the  General Assembly  decided, on  the
recommendation  of  the  Committee,  to  increase  the   membership  of  the
Committee from  79 to  81 members and  appointed the Republic  of Korea  and
Senegal members of the Committee.

8.   At  its  forty-eighth session,  the General  Assembly  decided, on  the
recommendation  of  the  Committee,  to  increase  the  membership  of   the
Committee from 81 to  83 members and  appointed Gabon and Israel members  of
the Committee.

9.    At  its forty-ninth  session,  the General  Assembly  decided, on  the
recommendation  of  the  Committee,  to  increase  the  membership  of   the
Committee from 83  to 88 members  and appointed  Belize, Croatia, the  Czech
Republic, Kazakstan and South Africa members of the Committee.

10.  The Committee is composed of the following Member States:

Algeria
Argentina
Bangladesh
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Brazil
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Chile
China 
Colombia
Congo
Costa Rica
Cote d'Ivoire
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Ethiopia
Finland
France
Gabon
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Guatemala
Guinea
Guyana
Hungary
India
Indonesia

Iran (Islamic Republic   of)
Ireland
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kazakstan
Kenya
Lebanon
Malta   
Mexico
Mongolia
Morocco
Nepal
Netherlands
Niger
Nigeria
Pakistan
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Republic of
  KoreaRomania
Russian                  Federation
Senegal
Singapore
Slovakia
Somalia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Syrian Arab              Republic
Togo
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
TurkeyUkraine
United Kingdom of        Great Britain and      Northern Ireland
United Republic of       Tanzania
United States of         America
Uruguay
Venezuela
Viet Nam
Yemen
Yugoslavia
Zaire
ZimbabweII.  ORGANIZATIONAL QUESTIONS


A.  Opening of the session

11.   The organizational meeting of the seventeenth session of the Committee
was  held at United Nations Headquarters  on 1 May  1995.  In the absence of
the outgoing  Chairman, the session was  opened by  the Assistant Secretary-
General for  Public Information  on behalf  of the  Secretary-General.   The
Bureau  was elected, with  the exception  of the  Rapporteur, whose election
was  deferred  until the  second meeting.   The  Chairman and  the Assistant
Secretary-General for Public Information  made statements (see annexes I and
II).


B.  Election of officers

12.  In accordance  with the principle of geographic rotation, the Committee
elected the following officers for the period 1995-1996:


  Chairman:  Mr. Ivan V. Maximov (Bulgaria)

  Vice-Chairmen:  Mr. Alejandro H. Nieto (Argentina)
            Mr. Minhaj Barna (Pakistan)
            Mr. Jose Alberto de Sousa (Portugal)
  
  Rapporteur:  Mr. Fateh Zeghib (Algeria)


C.  Adoption of the agenda and programme of work

13.    At  its   organizational  meeting,  the  Committee  adopted,  without
objection, the following agenda and programme of work (A/AC.198/1995/1):

  1.  Opening of the session.

  2.  Election of officers.

  3.  Adoption of the agenda and programme of work.

  4.  Statement by the Chairman.

  5.  Statement by the Assistant Secretary-General for Public Information.

  6.  General debate and consideration of substantive questions:
  
    (a)Continuation of the examination of United Nations public  information
policies  and activities  in the  light  of  the evolution  of international
relations,  and of  the need  to  establish  the new  international economic
order and the new world information and communication order;

    (b)Evaluation  and  follow-up  of the  efforts  made  and  the  progress
achieved  by the  United Nations  system  in the  field of  information  and
communications;

     (c)Promotion  of  the  establishment  of  a  new,  more  just  and more
effective world information  and communication order intended to  strengthen
peace and international understanding and based  on the free circulation and
wider and better balanced dissemination of information;

  7.Preparation and adoption of  the report of the  Committee to the General
Assembly at its fiftieth session.

14.  The Committee held the substantive meetings of its seventeenth  session
at United Nations Headquarters from 1 to 12 May 1995.

15.   For its consideration of  agenda item 6,  the Committee  had before it
the  reports of the  Secretary-General on  the allocation  of resources from
the  regular budget  of the  United  Nations  to United  Nations information
centres in 1994 (A/AC.198/1995/2)  and on the review of publications by  the
Department of Public Information (A/AC.198/1995/3).


D.  Observers

16.  The  following Member States  took part  in the  session as  observers:
Antigua and  Barbuda,  Armenia,  Austria,  Azerbaijan,  Democratic  People's
Republic  of  Korea,  Eritrea,  Georgia,  Haiti,  Kyrgyzstan,  Libyan   Arab
Jamahiriya, Madagascar,  Panama, Suriname and  Sweden.  The  representatives
of the Holy See and Switzerland also participated as observers.

17.    Representatives of  the  United  Nations Educational,  Scientific and

Cultural   Organization  (UNESCO),   the   United   Nations  Correspondents'
Association (UNCA) and  the World Federation  of United Nations Associations
(WFUNA) also attended.


E.  Other matters

18.   The  Committee  decided  to  conduct  further  informal  consultations
through the  Bureau, the spokespersons of the regional groups,  the Group of
77 and China.

19.   The  Chairman informed  the  Committee  that the  Democratic  People's
Republic of Korea had requested to become a member of the Committee.

20.  In  response to General Assembly resolution 49/233 B of  31 March 1995,
the  Extended  Bureau brought  to the  attention  of the  Committee a  paper
containing  a  review  of  the  Secretariat's  policy  on  dissemination  of
information related  to peace-keeping (see annex  III).   The Committee took
note  of  this review  and will  examine  it  further after  its seventeenth
session through its Extended Bureau.


III.  GENERAL DEBATE AND CONSIDERATION OF SUBSTANTIVE QUESTIONS


21.  Statements during the general debate were made by the following  States
members of the Committee:  Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus,  Belize,
Benin,  Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Czech Republic, Chile, China, Costa Rica,
Cuba, Denmark,  Ethiopia, France (on  behalf of  the European Union  and the
associated  States  from  Central  and  Eastern  Europe),  Guinea,   Israel,
Indonesia,  Iran  (Islamic Republic  of),  Japan,  Jordan,  Lebanon,  Nepal,
Pakistan, Philippines  (on behalf of the  Group of  77), Russian Federation,
South Africa,  Syrian Arab Republic, Netherlands  (on behalf of the Group of
Western European and Other  States), Tunisia, Ukraine,  Venezuela and Yemen.
Statements  were  also made  by  the  observers  for  Haiti, Kyrgyzstan  and
Panama.   At the invitation of the Committee,  the representatives of UNESCO
and UNCA also addressed the Committee.

22.    In  addressing  the  substantive  issues  before  the  Committee, all
speakers  acknowledged the  dynamic  power of  information  in  bringing the
message of the  United Nations - peace, democracy  and development - to  the
world  audience.      In  addition,   they  expressed   their  belief   that
communication  was an  important tool  that  could  help all  peoples attain
their  political, socio-economic  and  cultural objectives,  unite  them  in
awareness and aspiration, and  shape the world of tomorrow.  Information was
both the mirror of  today's realities and a powerful catalyst for change and
development.

23.  Most speakers  expressed the view  that the spirit of consensus,  which
had  been sustained  and consolidated  in past  years in the  Committee, had
been essential in allowing it to be a  meaningful force for positive  change
and effectiveness in the public information  policies of the United Nations.
In  the opinion  of one speaker,  who also  spoke on  behalf of  a number of
others, the  active role  of the Extended  Bureau had  improved the  working
relationship between  the members  of the  Committee and  the Department  of
Public Information and  had contributed  to transparency in the  information
process.  This interaction, in the  opinion of most speakers,  had increased
the efficiency and effectiveness  of the Department over the last year and a
half, and they were convinced that  with the Assistant Secretary-General for
Public  Information   this  partnership  would   continue  and  be   further
strengthened in the future.

24.   All speakers  pointed to the  importance of  commemorating World Press
Freedom Day, 3 May, and solemnly  recalled and remembered the  unprecedented
numbers  of  journalists who  had  been  killed in  the  exercise  of  their
profession in  the previous  year, as  well as  those who  were detained  in

jails.  A tribute was paid  to the Algerian journalists who were the victims
of fundamentalist terrorists. Another delegation reiterated the  possibility
of  the creation of  a legal  instrument to  protect journalists, especially
those covering situations of social and military tension.  It proposed  that
as  a  first  step  there should  be  legal  protection  through  a  special
accreditation to the United Nations of  those journalists who covered peace-
keeping operations,  which would allow  them to  pass freely and  would help
provide  them with assistance  and protection.   All  delegations reiterated
that  freedom of  information  was the  touchstone of  all  the  basic human
freedoms, to  be protected at  all costs, and  that, accordingly, the  world
press  must be safeguarded  from harassment  and harm.   Several delegations
remarked  that the theme of World Press Freedom Day  in 1995, "the press for
peace and tolerance", was in consonance  with the declaration by the General
Assembly of  1995 as  the United Nations  Year for Tolerance.   One  speaker
said that the Secretary-General had stated  that the international media had
an  important  role to  play in  promoting  tolerance by  bringing to  light
abuses against marginalized groups throughout the  world.  While many agreed
that a  free  press was  indispensable  for  promoting democracy  and  human
rights,  others,  however,  pointed  out  that  it  must  be  accompanied by
responsibility and respect for cultural integrity and diversity.

25.   A number of speakers commented on the professional cooperation between
UNESCO and the Department of Public  Information in organizing the  regional
seminars to promote pluralistic and varied  media, held at Windhoek in 1991,
Almaty in  1992 and Santiago  in May 1994.   Several  speakers characterized
those  seminars   as  "turning-points"  in   the  international  debate   on
communications,  and many looked forward to the seminar planned for the Arab
region at Sana'a in  January 1996.  One speaker suggested that such seminars
be held annually.

26.  Many speakers  stressed the need  for promoting the establishment of  a
new,  more  just,   balanced  and  more  effective  world  information   and
communication   order,  intended  to  strengthen   peace  and  international
understanding.    They  also  emphasized  the   need  for  the  transfer  of
technology from  the developed to the  developing countries,  and removal of
disparities and imbalances between them.  A number  of speakers stated their
belief  that  all  countries  should  have  access  to  the  flow  of  world
information  in a balanced and equitable order.  Several speakers said that,
in the  communications  field today,  news  about  the rich  and  prosperous
abounded,  while the poor  and disadvantaged  were ignored  in their misery.
As  one  representative said,  news  from  the  developing  world was  often
sensational.    He  praised  the  journalists  who  helped  to  rectify this
unfortunate situation and protect  against the destructive  effects of press
cliches,  which  were  potentially  harmful  to  some  societies.    Several
speakers   agreed  that  objectivity   was  a   goal  in   the  covering  of
international issues by the so-called "free"  media, so that half-truths and
innuendo would  not be  given credibility  and stereotypes  not accepted  as
unchallenged realities.   It  was  important in  the  view  of a  number  of
speakers   that  technology  be  transferred  from  the   developed  to  the
developing countries  in the  field of information  and communication,  thus
creating a  partnership, with  the common objective of  sharing professional
expertise and setting up a two-way information  flow.  Several speakers made
the  point that  electronically transmitting  United Nations  materials  had
little impact  when the infrastructures required  to access the  information
were  lacking.  They stressed  the importance  of  creating information  and
communication infrastructures  in developing  countries to  help them  truly
become part of the "global village".   In this connection  speakers extended
their support to the UNESCO International  Programme for the Development  of
Communication.

27.    One  delegation  spoke out  against  the worsening  violation  of his
country's sovereignty,  alleging that radio  and television broadcasts  from
another Member State were being transmitted to  his country in violation  of
international standards.

28.   All speakers  expressed their  strong and continuing  support for  the

work  and activities  of the  Department  of  Public Information,  and their
appreciation for the  Assistant Secretary-General's introductory speech  and
the reports of the Secretary-General before the Committee.   The majority of
speakers  highlighted  the innovative  approaches  of  the  Department,  the
strengthening of  professionalism within its ranks  and the pioneering  role
it had  played within  the Secretariat  in the  electronic dissemination  of
information.    Many  commended  the  Department   for  the  new  spirit  of
partnership, cooperation  and  transparency  evidenced under  the  Assistant
Secretary-General's leadership, which had resulted in strengthened  outreach
towards Member States and diverse media  and to educational institutions and
non-governmental organizations.  One delegation said  that in less than  two
years the Assistant Secretary-General had  restored a climate  of confidence
in  the Department, which  was greatly  appreciated.   While recognizing the
complexity  of the Department's  task as  a focal  point of  the information
activities of the Organization, one representative on behalf of a number  of
others  welcomed the fact  that the Department had  operated during the past
year more  than ever  before as an  integral part of  a well-defined  United
Nations information  strategy.   One speaker  said that  the endeavours  and
achievements of  the United  Nations in  social development,  peace-keeping,
self-determination  and human  rights  would go  unnoticed  and  unfulfilled
without the excellent work of the Department.

29.   Another  speaker characterized  the  management  of the  Department as
dynamic  and action-oriented.   It  was  agreed  that the  Department had  a
particularly important role to play in  responding to the heightened  public
interest in the  fiftieth anniversary of the Organization.   In its work  it
was,  therefore, more than ever  necessary to project a unified and positive
image of the  Organization and to disseminate  its success stories as widely
as possible.  Several speakers said that they thought the "UN Minute"  video
segments  covering   the  history  of   the  Organization  were   especially
noteworthy in  this regard.   One speaker  said that  the Department  should
intensify its  efforts to  commemorate the historic  San Francisco  meeting,
which  marked the  end  of a  brutal  war, the  defeat  of  fascism and  the
beginning of  an era of peace.  One speaker informed the Committee about her
Government's contribution to the celebration of  the fiftieth anniversary of
the United Nations by  proposing the observance of  "A World Week  of Peace"
to begin on 24  October 1995 with the purpose  to achieve a universal cease-
fire or truce.   A proposal to that effect would be forwarded to the General
Assembly  for  adoption  during  its  forty-ninth  regular  session.    Many
delegations stressed the view that  it was imperative for  the Department to
continue to restructure and redirect its  resources in response to  changing
information priorities.   It was acknowledged  by many that  that was  being
done, although some believed that more could always  be done.  On the  other
hand, another speaker, who also represented a large group, said that in  the
pursuit of cost-effectiveness, the wishes of  the majority of Member  States
should not  be  forgotten.   The  Department  should receive  the  necessary
budget allocations for the performance of  its tasks. Several others  echoed
that  sentiment,  one  delegation  maintaining,   for  example,  that  if  a
particular publication were to be needed,  it should be produced  regardless
of cost, so that  the goals and  the objectives of the United  Nations would
not be disregarded.

30.  Another speaker  suggested that the Department must lead in the  global
struggle  to ensure  that information  and  information technology  was  the
servant and not  the master.   He hoped that the Department  would give some
guidance to the branches  of the United  Nations family, ensuring that  they
did not abuse  the easy electronic  access now  existing and that  audiences
were not drowned  in a  sea of  paper or electronic  signals.  One  speaker,
speaking  also  on  behalf  of  a   large  group,  reiterated  his   group's
appreciation to  the Secretary-General  for the  attention he  had given  to
information work within the system.

31.  One  representative suggested  that the  Department, on  behalf of  the
Organization,  must not  be afraid  to  stride  along bold,  new information
paths and  even  reiterated  his delegation's  suggestion, made  during  the
previous session of the General  Assembly, that the  Secretary-General might

consider appearing  on popular  talk-shows and  teaching new  constituencies
about the Organization.  Several speakers  emphasized the importance of  the
Department's  getting the United Nations message out to  young people and in
that  connection stressed the importance of a  partnership with universities
and other  educational institutions.  That  teaching role  of the Department
was  expanded  upon by  one  representative  who  strongly  believed in  the
importance of peace education and suggested  that media programmes could  be
developed for that purpose.  For example, he mentioned the possibility of  a
peace education  programme, which the  Department should promote,  involving
the  creation  of a  concept  of  human values  that  went  beyond  specific
identities, and the  recognition, appreciation and  respect for diversity on
the one hand and  the realization of common human  origin and values  on the
other.  The subject of the  Department's training of journalists,  who could
help to impart peace education and  counteract media propagating hatred  and
xenophobia, was also raised.

32.   Most  speakers praised  the  Department's  multi-media expansion  into
information dissemination and outreach on the Internet and other  electronic
networks.    They characterized  that  new  direction  as  perhaps the  most
dynamic area of information activity undertaken  by the Department in recent
years,  which  had greatly  increased  its  outreach  and  advocacy to  vast
potential audiences  worldwide.   Representatives pointed  out concrete  and
positive   results  of   the  Department's   upgrading  and   use  of   more
sophisticated   informational   capabilities,  citing   specifically   their
improved  access to the  materials in  the Dag  Hammarskjold Library through
electronic networks,  as well as  to United Nations  news and activities  by
telephone  via  the United  Nations  News  Electronic  Bulletin  Board.   In
supporting  the policy  of increasing  the  United  Nations presence  on the
"information superhighway",  one speaker  on behalf  of a  number of  others
said that the necessary funds should be made  available to the Department to
allow  it to keep pace  with modern information techniques,  if necessary by
budgetary reallocation, particularly  in the areas of radio and  television.
Others agreed  that  additional expenditures  would prove  to be  worthwhile
outlays for effective communication to the outside world.

33.  Reiterating the integral relationship  between peace and development, a
number  of  speakers pointed  to the  Secretary-General's supplement  to his
Agenda  for Peace and  his Agenda  for Development  as important information
priorities  of  the  Organization.    Several  speakers  suggested  that the
departmental resources  freed by the  discontinuation of the  anti-apartheid
information  activities  could   be  reallocated  to  economic  and   social
development and democracy  in Africa in  general and in  southern Africa  in
particular.  Some delegations expressed strong support for a World Week  for
Peace and  urged  delegations to  join in  sponsoring a  proposal which  was
being submitted to that effect.   On the other hand, a number of delegations
noted that, while the  United Nations had  been called to play an  increased
role in  the  field of  international peace  and  security,  it was  equally
important that the  Department be  an advocate  for sustainable  development
activities of the Organization.   One speaker said that it must step up  its
efforts in that regard.

34.    All  speakers  stressed  the  important  role  that  the  information
programmes and  activities of the Department  could play  in contributing to
the success of  the many peace-keeping missions  of the Organization.   They
pointed  out that  a timely  and  integrated  information campaign  could be
helpful in forming a  positive climate of world opinion, both in the  troop-
contributing  countries  and  in  the  countries  where  the  missions  were
deployed,  and  that  more  funds  should  be  allocated  for  this purpose.
Accordingly,  many  speakers  representing  all  groups  of  Member   States
favoured the idea of the Department's  increased involvement in support  for
United Nations  peace-keeping and other  political missions, which  entailed
introducing an information component into each  mission at the very earliest
planning stages, so that the Department would  be included in early planning
missions.  In this  connection, it was important that the Department and the
relevant  departments,  in   particular  the  Department  of   Peace-keeping
Operations,  the Department  of  Political  Affairs  and the  Department  of

Humanitarian  Affairs, further  enhance their  cooperation and coordination.
One speaker,  representing a  troop-contributing country  of long  standing,
asked that the Department  be given a greater  role in devising  information
campaigns for  those missions,  which would impart  to the  public in  those
countries a clearer picture  of what the United Nations could and could  not
do  in a  given operation.  Another representative  said that, in  his view,
because  peace-keeping operations did  not always  bring with them immediate
political solutions, it was imperative that the public be made aware of  the
exact mandate of each mission to avoid unnecessary confusion.

35.   One  delegation, on behalf  of a  large group,  and a  number of other
speakers stressed  the particular  benefits  to be  gained from  the use  of
United  Nations  radio,  which  could  have  an  immense  influence  on  the
effectiveness  of  United  Nations operations  and  serve  as  an  important
confidence-building measure.  Another  representative  said that  his  group
could not understand  how the  use of radio by  the United Nations could  be
perceived  as  a  threat  by  some   countries  and  called,  therefore,  on
Governments  to provide every  assistance in  those instances  where a radio
broadcasting system was being installed by  a peace-keeping operation.  Such
a capacity,  in the opinion of  one speaker, was  needed to strengthen  both
peace-keeping operations and humanitarian activities.

36.  Two delegations specifically requested  that the Department, as  stated
in  General  Assembly resolution  38/82  B  of  15  December 1983,  initiate
specific broadcasts in French and in Creole for  the Caribbean region, which
they  thought would be  especially beneficial  to local  populations to help
clarify the  aims of the  United Nations Mission  in Haiti.   One delegation
commended  the Department  in general  for the efficiency,  productivity and
excellence of  the Caribbean  Radio Unit during  yet another year.   On  the
general  subject  of  the  advantages  of  radio  broadcasting,  one speaker
alluded to  its importance  to millions  of people  all over  the world  and
requested that more frequencies and time be allotted to radio programmes  in
some of the regional languages of his country, such as Urdu.

37.    All  speakers  were  supportive   of  the  Organization's  cycle   of
international  conferences  on  economic  and  social  issues  and   greatly
appreciated  the Department's  commendable role in bringing  the messages of
those  conferences to  the forefront of  the international agenda.   In that
connection, one representative said that the  press kits were of  particular
value.   The work  related to  the World  Summit for Social  Development was
singled out  by a  number of delegations  as an outstanding  example of  the
Department's recent successful  information campaigns.  One speaker,  noting
that 2,900  journalists had  been accredited to  the Summit,  said that  the
media coverage for that  conference had been the most substantial of any  of
the Organization's  economic and social  activities, demonstrating that  the
United Nations  was indeed a major  contributor in the  field of information
on sustainable  and  human  development.   Many delegations  also  expressed
appreciation for  the  preparatory work  being  done  for the  Fourth  World
Conference  on Women:   Action  for Equality, Development  and Peace,  to be
held  at Beijing  in September  1995, and  one representative said  that his
country's positive  cooperation with the Department in that connection would
surely contribute to the  success of the  Conference.  It was important,  in
the  view of  one  speaker, that  the Department  continue  to  evaluate the
content  of  its  information  campaigns,  by  studying  exactly  what   was
published  and  with  what  goal  in  mind.    One  delegation  praised  the
Department's publications programme on sustainable development issues.

38.   Several representatives expressed the view that  support for the peace
process  in  the  Middle  East  and  assistance  to  the  Palestinian people
continued to be one  of the priorities of  the United Nations  and supported
the Department's ongoing information activities in  that area.  One  speaker
suggested that  fact-finding missions  for the  press must  be sponsored  to
that region.  Several also pointed  specifically to the Department's seminar
on assistance  to the Palestinian people in the field  of media development,
held  at Madrid earlier  in the year.  Several  speakers paid tribute to the
tireless work of the Department in bringing to  an end the apartheid  regime

in South Africa.

39.   Several delegations  made reference  to the  tenth anniversary  of the
Chernobyl  disaster  in 1996  and  asked  that  the  Department develop  and
implement  a programme of activities  to commemorate that tragic event.  One
delegation expressed  its appreciation for the Assistant Secretary-General's
initiative  of  appointing  a  special  coordinator  for  dissemination   of
information for the tenth anniversary of the disaster.

40.   One  delegation welcomed  the  fact that  the Publications  Board  had
succeeded  in revitalizing  the publications  programme of  the  Department.
Many speakers  referred positively to  the Department's publications,  which
they believed were helping to create  a positive image of  the Organization,
and  stressed the criteria  that they  should be  cost-effective, timely and
issued in response to real needs.  Several pointed to the  usefulness of the
Department's  new  publication, Development  Update.    Several  delegations
urged the  need for early resumption  of the  publication Development Forum.
Another delegation  pointed to the value  of Development  Business and other
publications  on  economic and  social issues  being  widely distributed  to
libraries around  the world.   Another  speaker congratulated  the staff  of
Africa  Recovery  for  a  publication   of  high  editorial  and  production
standards.   One speaker  referred to  that publication  and other recurrent
publications,  UN Chronicle  and the  Yearbook  of  the United  Nations, and
suggested the release of major recurrent  publications also in French.  Some
speakers  asked that  more  Department  materials be  published in  Russian,
which was  important not only for  the Russian Federation  but also for  the
countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

41.  Many  delegations praised the recently launched  Blue Book series as  a
valuable resource  for an  important constituency  of scholars,  researchers
and journalists,  and one speaker  characterized them  as "must-have"  books
for  everyone  interested   in  a  serious  evaluation  of  United   Nations
activities.     In  that  connection,  the  same  representative  wished  to
encourage the Department to  take advantage of the  demand for such research
materials and to promote sales in order to increase revenues for the  United
Nations.  As  to the timing and choice  of subject-matter in the series,  he
suggested that the issues  to be covered would be  those on which the United
Nations  had  recently concluded  a major  stage of  its involvement  and on
which the community  of students of  the United  Nations was  only about  to
begin undertaking a review.

42.  One delegation,  on behalf of a  large group, welcomed  the improvement
in quality  and  speed  of  issue of  the  press  releases in  both  working
languages.   One speaker said  that he would  like very much  to have  press
releases in  Spanish, but  realized there were  budgetary considerations  on
that proposal.

43.   On the subject  of media relations,  several speakers  paid tribute to
the  Spokesman's Office  for the important  contributions that it  made on a
daily basis.   The observer for UNCA said  that relations between his  group
and the  senior officers  of the  Department had  improved considerably  and
that the latter had  gone out of their way, within the limits allowed, to be
approachable and to discuss problems.   While differences remained,  serious
efforts were  being made to  resolve them.   He further  asked for practical
steps to  this end, including regular  meetings with  the representatives of
UNCA, improved access  and transparency, increased availability to the press
of  the   United  Nations  electronic   database  of  documents,   increased
representation of  the press  at Headquarters,  and improved  accommodations
for   correspondents.     Some  speakers   expressed  the   view  that   the
participationofUNCAas anobserver atthe sessionofthe Committeewas important.

44.  One delegation, on  behalf of a number of others, urged the  Department
to devote special attention to the requirements  of UNCA.  Some  delegations
supported the request of  UNCA for access for  its accredited members to all
conference rooms,  including  the  General Assembly  Hall and  the  Security
Council Chamber,  for first-hand coverage of their open meetings.  They felt

the gesture would have the desired  effect of strengthening the transparency
of  the  United  Nations  system.    One representative  expressed  concern,
however,  at inappropriate  remarks made  by  the  observer for  UNCA, which
constituted,  in his  opinion, interference  in  the  internal affairs  of a
Member State.

45.  All speakers  welcomed the strengthening of  the role of United Nations
information centres  by  the Department,  which  was  greatly enhancing  the
information activities  of the United Nations  throughout the  world and was
contributing to a positive  image of the Organization.  They emphasized  the
importance   of   information  centres   as   focal   points   for   two-way
communications between  the  United Nations  and  its  Member States.    One
speaker  believed that this  was particularly  important in  relation to the
newly independent  States and those in  transition.   Several speakers noted
that the information centres were performing  an essential and useful  role,
particularly  in  the developing  countries  where,  because  of  inadequate
resources,  the  media  had  more  limited   access  to  information.    One
representative commented that, during the past  year, the network of centres
had  facilitated  access   to  regional  responses  to  the   Organization's
activities,  in particular to  the World  Summit for  Social Development and
the International Conference on Population and  Development.  He noted  also
that  booklets and  background papers  had  been  produced in  several local
languages, including Bahasa Indonesia.

46.  Many delegations  expressed support for the policy of integration, on a
case-by-case  basis,  where  appropriate,  in  consultation  with  the  host
Government  and  provided   the  functional  autonomy  of  the   information
component  was  preserved. One  speaker  noted  that  this  process had  not
affected  the level  of  efficiency under  which the  integrated information
centres  operated.   Another speaker,  on behalf  of  others, said  that his
group  was  pleased  with  the  way   the  integration  of  United   Nations
information  centres in  certain countries  had  been carried  out.  Another
speaker, however,  said that, while the  decision to  integrate some centres
might have had virtue,  it could also possibly create new problems in regard
to  the  functioning   of  those  centres   as  effective   and  independent
institutions.   One  speaker said  that  prior  consultations with  the host
Governments and also with  the Committee on Information  must be held in the
implementation of this exercise.

47.    One  speaker  expressed  interest  in   establishing  an  information
component within the office of the  United Nations Development Programme  at
Sofia and  was sympathetic with  other countries having similar aspirations.
Another speaker expressed hope  for the continued active role of the  United
Nations  information centre in  Moscow, under  the new  Director, especially
with  regard  to the  dissemination  of  information  in  Russian.   Another
representative  said that his  delegation was  still looking  forward to the
nomination of  a  Director for  the  United  Nations information  centre  at
Beirut.   His  Government would  spare  no effort  in cooperating  with  the
Department  to enhance  the  role  of the  centre, in  order to  restore its
importance in the country and the region.  According to one delegation,  the
United Nations information centre at  Dhaka had been without  a Director for
the last few years,  and it asked the Department  to nominate one as soon as
possible.   Another speaker  expressed his  country's  appreciation for  the
appointment  of a  professional information  officer to  the United  Nations
information centre  at Tehran and the  reactivation of that centre.  Another
speaker  looked forward to  the early  addition of  an information component
within  the United  Nations office  in his  country,  which  was one  of the
youngest  democracies   of  the  international   community.    One   speaker
reiterated his delegation's request for a United Nations information  centre
at  Port-au-Prince,  and  another  repeated  the  request  for  a  centre at
Conakry.  One speaker  asked for the Department  to re-establish the post of
Director of  the centre in  his country as  a contribution in  the field  of
preventive diplomacy.

48.   One  speaker said  that the  University for Peace  in her  country was
successfully disseminating  information on the  work of  the United Nations,

and another said that the Department,  in collaboration with the University,
should  publicize information  that enhanced  positive developments  in  the
area  of peace.  One representative,  stressing  the importance  and pivotal
role of United Nations information centres, said it was alarming that  since
the  early  1990s  there  had been  a  steady  decline  in  host  countries'
contributions for centres, and it was important to  reverse this trend.   An
agreement was being finalized between his  country and the Department  which
would cover  the legal  basis upon which  the United Nations  centre in  his
capital  operated  and  would create  more  favourable  conditions  for  its
multifaceted  activities,   which  his   Government   intended  to   support
financially.   Several speakers urged the Department to continue to make all
the necessary  efforts to  address  the question  of the  imbalances in  the
allocation of funds to the United  Nations information centres.  One speaker
said that  he  hoped that  the Department  would  continue  to make  genuine
efforts to bring some sort of defensible balance  in the extent of resources
and facilities it provided to its regional centres throughout the world.

49.   Several  speakers commented  on  the  importance of  the  Department's
outreach  to non-governmental organizations, highlighting  the importance of
the annual  Department of  Public Information/non-governmental  organization
conference.   One  speaker suggested  that  it  be complemented  by regional
conferences.    Another speaker  emphasized  the  great  public  information
potential of the network  of United Nations depository  libraries.  He noted
that his Government had cooperated with  the Department the previous year on
a project which involved a professional  librarian from the Dag Hammarskjold
Library visiting the  13 depositories in his  country to inspect the  status
of their  current operation. One major  observation which  resulted was that
the   local  library  staffs  needed  greater  guidance  and  training  from
Headquarters  librarians  to  make  more  effective  use of  United  Nations
materials,  which were often  highly specialized  documents.   He hoped that
the  conclusions  reached  in  the  project  would  prove  useful  to  other
depository libraries around the world.  In that connection he believed  that
the host  countries could  greatly assist, and  he called upon  other Member
States  with depositories to  consider ways  in which to make  better use of
that  valuable  resource  in  bringing  United  Nations  activities  to  the
attention of the broader public.

50.  The guided  tours were of particular interest  and concern to  a number
of  delegations in  the debate.   One speaker, on  behalf of a  large group,
emphasized that  visitors to  the United  Nations should  not be  prohibited
from access to the Security Council Chamber  or General Assembly Hall simply
on  the  grounds  that  meetings  were   taking  place.    Several  speakers
maintained that  guided tours  should be  presented in  the widest  possible
range of  languages, which should be  considered in the selection of guides.
Another speaker reiterated this point, saying  that visitors should meet  as
few  closed doors  as  possible.    One  speaker  noted in  particular  with
satisfaction  that the  disarmament exhibit  in the  first-floor corridor of
the conference  building, which had been  inaccessible to  visitors for some
time, had  recently been  reinstated as  part of  the tour.   His delegation
attached particular  attention to those  exhibits, which included  materials
from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as  an expression of the  aspirations of people
everywhere  for  nuclear  disarmament  and  world  peace.    He  thanked the
Department of Public  Information and the  Department of  Administration and
Management for working out this arrangement, at the same time welcoming  any
additional  measures  that could  help  make  United  Nations  tours a  more
informative and inspirational experience.

51.   At the close  of the general  debate, the  Assistant Secretary-General
for Public  Information expressed  his appreciation  for the  kind words  of
support  addressed  to  him  personally  and  to  his  staff  members.    He
emphasized  that such  progress could  not  have  been achieved  without the
close  collaboration and mutual  confidence between  the Department  and the
Committee.


           IV.  PREPARATION AND ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE

                TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT ITS FIFTIETH SESSION

52.  At the  7th meeting  of the Committee, on  12 May 1995, the  Rapporteur
introduced  the draft report  of the  Committee on  its seventeenth session.
Statements were made by the representatives  of Belize, Benin, Burkina Faso,
Costa Rica, Cuba, India, the Netherlands (on behalf  of the Group of Western
European and Other States),  the Philippines (on behalf of the Group of 77),
Romania,  the  Russian  Federation,  and  by  Haiti  as  an  observer.   The
Committee decided  by consensus  to recommend  to the  General Assembly  the
adoption of the report including the  following draft resolutions, as orally
amended.


Draft resolution A

Information in service of humanity

  The General Assembly,

  Taking note of the comprehensive and important report of  the Committee on
Information,   Official Records of  the General Assembly, Fiftieth  Session,
Supplement No. 21 (A/50/21).

  Also  taking note  of the  report  of  the Secretary-General  on questions
relating to information,

  Urges  all countries,  organizations of  the  United  Nations system  as a
whole  and  all  others  concerned,  reaffirming  their  commitment  to  the
principles of  the Charter of the  United Nations and  to the principles  of
freedom of the press and freedom of information, as well as to those of  the
independence, pluralism and diversity of the  media, deeply concerned by the
disparities  existing between  developed and  developing countries  and  the
consequences of  every kind arising from  those disparities  that affect the
capability  of  the  public,  private  or  other  media  and  individuals in
developing countries to disseminate information and communicate their  views
and  their   cultural  and  ethical   values  through  endogenous   cultural
production,  as well as  to ensure  the diversity of sources  and their free
access to information, and recognizing the call in this context for what  in
the United Nations  and at various  international forums has been  termed "a
new  world information  and communication  order,  seen  as an  evolving and
continuous process":

  (a)    To  cooperate  and  interact  with  a  view  to  reducing  existing
disparities in information flows at all  levels by increasing assistance for
the  development  of  communication   infrastructures  and  capabilities  in
developing  countries, with due  regard for  their needs  and the priorities
attached to  such areas by those countries,  and in order to enable them and
the public, private or other media in developing countries to develop  their
own  information and  communication policies  freely and  independently  and
increase the  participation of  media and individuals  in the  communication
process, and to ensure a free flow of information at all levels;

  (b)   To  ensure for  journalists the  free and  effective  performance of
their professional tasks and condemn resolutely all attacks against them;

   (c)    To provide  support  for  the  continuation  and strengthening  of
practical training programmes for broadcasters and journalists from  public,
private and other media in developing countries;

  (d)    To  enhance  regional  efforts  and  cooperation  among  developing
countries,  as  well   as  cooperation  between  developed  and   developing
countries, to strengthen communication capacities and  to improve the  media
infrastructure  and communication  technology in  the developing  countries,
especially in the areas of training and dissemination of information;

  (e)    To  aim, in  addition to  bilateral  cooperation, at  providing all

possible  support  and assistance  to  the  developing countries  and  their
media, public,  private or  other, with  due regard  to their  interests and
needs in the field of information and to  action already adopted within  the
United Nations system, including:

  (i)The  development   of  the  human  and  technical  resources  that  are
indispensable for the  improvement of information and communication  systems
in developing countries and support for  the continuation and  strengthening
of  practical training  programmes, such  as those  already operating  under
both public and private auspices throughout the developing world;

    (ii)The creation  of conditions  that will  enable developing  countries
and their media, public,  private or other, to have, by using their national
and  regional  resources,  the  communication  technology  suited  to  their
national needs, as well as the  necessary programme material, especially for
radio and television broadcasting;

   (iii)Assistance  in establishing and promoting telecommunication links at
the  subregional,  regional  and  interregional   levels,  especially  among
developing countries;

    (iv)The  facilitation,  as appropriate,  of  access  by  the  developing
countries  to  advanced  communication  technology  available  on  the  open
market;

  (f)   To  provide full  support for  the International  Programme for  the
Development of  Communication   See  United Nations Educational,  Scientific
and Cultural Organization,  Records of the General Conference,  Twenty-first
Session,  Belgrade, 23 September  to 28  October 1980,  vol. I, Resolutions,
sect. III.4, resolution 4/21. of  the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and  Cultural Organization,  which should  support both  public  and private
media.


Draft resolution B

United Nations public information policies and activities

  The General Assembly,

  Reaffirming its primary role in elaborating, coordinating and  harmonizing
United Nations policies and activities in the field of information,

  Also  reaffirming  that  the  Secretary-General  should  ensure  that  the
activities of  the Department of Public  Information of  the Secretariat, as
the focal point of  the public information tasks  of the United Nations, are
strengthened and  improved, keeping in view  the purposes  and principles of
the  Charter of  the  United Nations,  the  priority areas  defined  by  the
General  Assembly and the recommendations of the Committee on Information,  
           
  Taking note of all the  reports of the Secretary-General  submitted to the
Committee on Information,

  1.   Welcomes Belize,  Croatia, the  Czech Republic,  Kazakstan and  South
Africa,  following the establishment  of a united, non-racial and democratic
Government in that country, to membership in the Committee;

  2.   Decides to  consolidate the  role of the Committee  on Information as
its main  subsidiary body mandated to  make recommendations  relating to the
work of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat;

  3.    Calls  upon  the  Secretary-General,   in  respect  of  the   public
information  policies and  activities of  the United  Nations, to  implement
fully the recommendations contained in paragraph 2 of resolution  48/44 B of
10 December 1993;

  4.   Requests the  Secretary-General, in  order to  put into practice  the
need  for an  effective public  information  capacity  of the  Department of
Public  Information  for the  formation  and  day-to-day functioning  of the
information components of peace-keeping  and other field  operations of  the
United  Nations, to ensure the involvement of the Department at the planning
stage of  such  future operations  through inter-departmental  consultations
and coordination with the other substantive departments of the Secretariat;

  5.   Takes  note  of the  report of  the  Secretary-General  regarding the
continuous and major publications of the  Department of Public Information  
A/AC.198/1995/3. and  urges  all  efforts to  ensure timely  production  and
dissemination of its  major publications,  in particular  the UN  Chronicle,
the  Yearbook  of  the  United  Nations  and  Africa  Recovery,  maintaining
consistent  editorial  independence  and  accuracy,  taking  the   necessary
measures  to  ensure  that  its  output  contains  adequate,  objective  and
equitable  information  about issues  before  the  Organization,  reflecting
divergent opinions wherever they occur;

   6.  Requests the Secretary-General to increase  his efforts for the early
resumption of the  publication Development Forum,  or an alternative system-
wide publication  that meets the requirements  set out  for new publications
by the Committee;

  7.  Requests  the management of  the Department  of Public Information  to
review  the Department's  publications  and proposals  for  publications  to
ensure that all publications  fulfil an identifiable need, that they do  not
duplicate other  publications inside  or outside the  United Nations  system
and that they are produced in a cost-effective manner, and to  report to the
Committee on Information at its eighteenth session;

  8.   Reaffirms the  importance attached  by Member  States to the  role of
United  Nations  information  centres  in  effectively  and  comprehensively
disseminating  information,   particularly  in   developing  countries   and
countries in transition, about United Nations activities;

   9.  Takes note of  the report of the Secretary-General on the results  of
the  trial  of integrating  United Nations  information  centres with  field
offices of the United Nations Development  Programme,   A/AC.198/1995/5. and
invites the Secretary-General to continue the integration exercise  whenever
feasible,  on a case-by-case basis,  while taking into  account the views of
the host country, and ensuring that  the information functions and  autonomy
of the  United Nations information centres  are not  adversely affected, and
to report to the Committee on Information;

  10.   Reaffirms the  role  of the  General  Assembly  in relation  to  the
opening   of  new  United   Nations  information  centres  and  invites  the
Secretary-General,  as well, to  make such  recommendations as  he may judge
necessary regarding the establishment and location of these centres;

  11.  Takes note  of the report of the Secretary-General on the  allocation
of   resources   to   United   Nations   information  centres   in   1994   
A/AC.198/1995/2. and calls upon  him to continue to  study ways and means to
rationalize and effect equitable disbursement of  available resources to all
United Nations  information centres and to  report thereon  to the Committee
on Information at its eighteenth session;

  12.  Welcomes the  action by some Member  States with regard  to financial
and  material  support  to  United  Nations  information  centres  in  their
respective capitals;

  13.    Welcomes the  successful  conclusion  of  the  negotiations on  the
establishment of a United Nations information component at Warsaw;

  14.   Notes  the progress  made by  the Secretary-General  and  the German
authorities  towards   establishing,  within  existing   resources  of   the
Department of Public  Information, a  United Nations  information centre  at

Bonn;

  15.  Notes  with appreciation the  action taken,  or being  taken, by  the
Secretary-General regarding the  reactivation and enhancement of the  United
Nations information centres at Bujumbura, Dar es Salaam, Dhaka and Tehran;

  16.   Welcomes the  continued enhanced  cooperation between the Department
of Public  Information and the University for Peace in Costa Rica as a focal
point  for promoting  United  Nations activities  and  disseminating  United
Nations information materials;

  17.  Takes  note of the  requests of  Bulgaria, Gabon,  Guinea, Haiti  and
Slovakia for information centres or information components;

  18.   Expresses  its full  support for  the  wide  and prompt  coverage of
United Nations  activities through  a continuation  of United  Nations press
releases in both working languages of  the Secretariat, namely, English  and
French, and  welcomes the improvements  in the  quality and speedy  issue of
those press releases in both working languages; 

  19.    Encourages the  Secretary-General  to  explore  ways  and means  to
improve the  access of United Nations  radio to airwaves world wide, bearing
in mind that radio is one of the most cost-effective and far-reaching  media
available to  the  Department of  Public  Information  and is  an  important
instrument  in United  Nations  activities  with regard  to development  and
peace-keeping;

  20.   Notes  with  appreciation the  efforts of  the Department  of Public
Information  to  take  advantage  of  recent  developments  in   information
technology  in order  to improve  the  dissemination  of information  on the
United  Nations, and encourages  the Department  to continue  its efforts in
this field;

  21.  Notes the  important role the  Department of Public Information  will
have to play in responding to  the increased public interest  resulting from
the fiftieth anniversary of the United  Nations, and requests the Department
to ensure the greatest  possible access for United Nations guided tours,  as
well as to ensure that displays in public areas  are kept as informative, up
to date and relevant as possible;

  22.    Invites Member  States  that  wish  to  do  so  to  submit  to  the
SecretaryGeneral by  15  March 1996  their observations  and suggestions  on
ways   and   means  of   furthering   the   development   of   communication
infrastructures  and capabilities in  developing countries,  with a  view to
consolidating recent  experience in the  field of international  cooperation
aimed at  enabling them to develop  their own  information and communication
capacities freely and  independently, and requests the Secretary-General  to
report thereon to the Committee on Information at its eighteenth session;

  23.  Recommends,  in order to  continue to facilitate contact  between the
Department of  Public Information  and the Committee on  Information between
sessions, that the Bureau of the  Committee together with representatives of
each  regional group, the Group of  77 and China,  in close contact with the
members of the  Committee, should meet  on a  regular basis  and consult  at
periodic intervals with representatives of the Department;

  24.  Takes  note of the  request of  Belarus, the  Russian Federation  and
Ukraine concerning information activities for the tenth  anniversary in 1996
of  the  Chernobyl  disaster  and  calls   upon  the  Department  of  Public
Information to  continue cooperation with  the countries concerned, and with
the relevant organizations  and bodies of the  United Nations system, with a
view to establishing  and implementing such  activities as  appropriate, and
within existing resources;

  25.    Requests  the  Secretary-General  to  report  to  the  Committee on
Information at  its eighteenth session, in 1996, and to the General Assembly

at its fifty-first session,  in 1996, on the activities of the Department of
Public  Information  and  on  the  implementation  of  the   recommendations
contained in the present resolution;

  26.  Decides that the next session of the Committee on Information  should
last  not  more  than ten  working  days,  and  invites  the  Bureau of  the
Committee  to  explore  ways  and   means  of  making  optimum  use  of  the
Committee's time;

  27.   Requests  the Committee  on  Information to  report to  the  General
Assembly at its fifty-first session;

  28.   Decides to  include in  the  provisional agenda  of its  fifty-first
session the item entitled "Questions relating to information".

53.   Also  at  its  7th meeting,  the Committee  decided, by  consensus, to
recommend to  the  General Assembly  the  adoption  of the  following  draft
decision:
  Draft decision

Increase in the membership of the Committee on Information

  The General Assembly decides to increase  the membership of the  Committee
on Information from 88 to 89 members and  to appoint the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea a member of the Committee on Information.

--ANNEX I

Statement by the Chairman of the Committee on Information
at the opening of the seventeenth session


  I feel highly honoured  over my election as  Chairman of the  Committee on
Information for  1995 and 1996.  I  wish to express my thanks to the members
of the Committee for placing their trust and confidence in me and  bestowing
this great  distinction on  my country.   I  shall make  every endeavour  to
fulfil both the mandate  of this Committee and  your expectations.  In doing
so, I shall be guided by your wisdom in the course of our deliberations.

  May I take this  opportunity to thank Mr.  Salman Abbassy of Pakistan, who
was  elected  Chairman  of  the  Committee  at  the  last  session,  and Mr.
Stanislaw  Konik of  Poland,  who has  directed in  his  capacity  as Acting
Chairman the  work of the Committee  for over a year.   Mr.  Konik cannot be
with  us today,  and I  would like,  through the  delegation of  Poland,  to
convey our best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.

  Both distinguished  delegates deserve our  recognition for their  positive
contributions to the atmosphere of cooperation  that has helped maintain and
broaden  the consensus  in this  Committee,  which  deals with  questions of
utmost  concern  to  Member  States.    I  consider  this  to  be  a   major
achievement, and one for which we shall continue  to work together with  the
management  of the Department  of Public  Information, under the experienced
leadership   of  the  Honourable   Assistant  Secretary-General  for  Public
Information, our friend Mr. Samir Sanbar.

  At this point  I wish to  assure you  of my intention  to continue on  the
same  path  and  to  promote  teamwork  further  in  order  to  provide  the
Department with the direction  it requires to strengthen  its role as  focal
point  within  the   Secretariat  for  the  implementation  of  its   public
information tasks.

  I  am delighted  to extend  my felicitations  and a  warm welcome  to  the
delegations  of Belize,  Croatia, the  Czech Republic,  Kazakstan and  South
Africa,  who are the newest  members of our Committee.   Their participation
certainly further enhances the standing of  the Committee on Information and
broadens the diversity of its membership.

  At  this time  of  new  tasks and  major responsibilities  for  the United
Nations,  the importance  of public  information  as  a means  of mobilizing
support for  the  Organization cannot  be  overemphasized.   People  in  all
regions of the  world see the  United Nations  as a  repository of hope  for
humanity and the future.  The work of the Department for Public  Information
over  the  last  year  has  endeavoured  to meet  these  expectations  in  a
productive and efficient way.  I would like to note  that the Department has
developed a  public information strategy  which, undoubtedly, has  increased
its outreach and at the same time ensured greater cost-efficiency.

  The   General  Assembly   in   its  resolution   49/38  B   requested  the
SecretaryGeneral to submit to the Committee  several reports, which are  now
before us and  which reflect the  Department's new  directions.  The  first,
which  is contained  in document  A/AC.198/1995/2, describes  the  increased
outreach of  the United  Nations information  centres, provides  information
about   the  cost-efficiency   of  their   operation  and   summarizes   the
Department's  measures  to  ensure  an  effective  network  of   information
centres.  The second report, contained  in document A/AC.198/1995/3, gives a
detailed  account of the Department's publication activities and reviews its
recurrent and  non-recurrent publications,  highlighting their purposes  and
their importance for reflecting the achievements of the Organization.

  As distinguished delegations are aware, in  paragraph 21 of its resolution
49/38 B, the General  Assembly invited "Member States that  wish to do so to
submit  to the Secretary-General  ... their  observations and suggestions on
ways   and   means  of   furthering   the   development   of   communication
infrastructures in developing  countries".  In response to this  invitation,
only one  communication was received.   The Permanent  Representative of the
Republic  of Maldives  to  the  United  Nations has  submitted  a number  of
suggestions  inviting   United  Nations  system   organizations  to   assist
developing   countries   in   strengthening    their   basic   communication
infrastructures,   particularly  in   the  telecommunications   sector,   in
providing  training facilities  and in  developing an  information  exchange
system both within and between developing countries.

  The  strength of the United Nations depends on  its ability to communicate
and to  convince.   I wish  to ensure  the management  of the Department  of
Public Information of  the Committee's  continued commitment to provide  the
guidance  and the means for the implementation of its successful work.  I am
looking forward to a  constructive exchange of views  in the course of these
two short  weeks before  us.  With  your support  and dedicated  work, I  am
confident  that we shall be  able to progress even  further in strengthening
our consensus on  matters pertaining to the  important issues before us  and
produce concrete, workable and action-oriented recommendations.

ANNEX II

              Statement by the Assistant Secretary-General for Public
              Information at the opening of the seventeenth session
of the Committee on Information


I

  It  is indeed  an honour and  pleasure for me to  be with you  here as the
Committee on  Information undertakes its  deliberations at this  seventeenth
session.  May I first  of all congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, and the  other
distinguished members of the  Bureau, on your election  and, on behalf of my
Department, extend best wishes to you for a very successful session.   Also,
I wish  to express a warm welcome to the delegations of Belize, Croatia, the
Czech Republic, Kazakstan  and South Africa  as they take their  place among
the  members of  the  Committee.   No doubt  they  will make  an  invaluable
contribution to  our work.    Allow me  to assure  you, the  Bureau and  the
Committee  as a whole, that I and my staff will  make every effort to assist
you in  your deliberations.  Having  worked with you  closely in my  present
capacity for well  over a year  now, I  am convinced that this  session will

provide further  momentum to  the work  of the  Department, or I  should say
your  Department,  in   addressing  the  public  information  needs  of  the
Organization at the threshold of its next 50 years.

  This  session   coincides  with   World  Press  Freedom   Day,  which   is
commemorated on 3 May.   We are committed  to freedom of information as  the
touchstone of all the freedoms  to which the United  Nations is consecrated.
I would  like, on behalf of my Department, to express gratitude to all media
professionals around the world who risk their lives  daily to transmit to us
the  important  message  of  peace,  democracy  and  development.    In this
connection, we  cannot fail to recognize the important role of a pluralistic
media  in  building  democracy.     The  Department  of  Public  Information
continues  to  show its  dedication  to  this  cause through  the  series of
regional  seminars  organized  in  collaboration  with  the  United  Nations
Educational,  Scientific   and  Cultural  Organization  (UNESCO).  Following
seminars  held at  Windhoek, Almaty and  Santiago, we are  planning the next
seminar  for Sana'a at  the beginning  of 1996.   We  in the  United Nations
system, and  especially  those  of  us  who  are dealing  with  media,  must
continue to  work together  at this  session, and  wherever the  opportunity
arises, to recommit ourselves to the fundamental human rights  of freedom of
thought and expression and freedom of the press  in the service of  humanity
and its well-being.

  Through a cycle  of world conferences,  the United  Nations is laying  the
foundations of  a new  consensus  dedicated to  essential human  development
values. "In  making social issues a  universal priority",  as the Secretary-
General  pointed  out  at  the  recently   held  World  Summit  for   Social
Development,  "our intention  is to  take responsibility for  the collective
future  of international society and  to pledge ourselves  anew to the ideal
of global solidarity".   Furthermore, as he stated  at the Freedom  Forum at
Columbia University,  "Events dominate our lives,  trends of  thought may be
far more  significant in shaping  the future".   Never has information  been
more crucial to an effective United Nations than it is  today; never has our
ability to disseminate information  on the work and  the achievements of the
Organization been more important; never has  the need to generate favourable
public opinion for  the United Nations been greater  than it is today.   The
message of the United  Nations must be  brought home to every corner  of the
world.   This is a very daunting task that  can only be accomplished through
a joint effort by  all of us.   Modern communications technologies  offer us
unprecedented  opportunities.   At the  same  time, they  pose for  us major
challenges.  How  can we best employ our  limited resources to master  these
new technologies and communicate our message to vast new audiences?

  It  bears repetition  here to  say  that  international affairs  have been
transformed  by  the  developments of  recent  years.    The  Organization's
response was most succinctly conveyed to  the international community by the
SecretaryGeneral  in "An Agenda  for Peace"  and its  Supplement and  in "An
Agenda  for  Development".    Our  information  efforts  are  guided  by the
priorities underscored in them,  or, to use  the Secretary-General's  words,
they  are "contributions to  the contest  of ideas  about peace, development
and democracy". 

  The Department of Public  Information, over the last year and a half,  has
undertaken new  initiatives and explored  new approaches.   In all of  them,
costeffectiveness  was  the  key.    There   is  a  mutual  commitment   and
responsibility on the part of the Department and you, the Member States,  in
particular the members of the  Committee on Information.  And I am happy  to
state  that they  are  bearing  fruit.   We  continue our  efforts in  close
cooperation with you.   This is how we can  really succeed.  In this regard,
the regular  dialogue  between the  management  of  the Department  and  the
Bureau of your  Committee, together with the  representatives of each of the
regional  groups,  the  Group  of 77  and  China,  as  well  as  many  other
delegations over the year, has been essential to our endeavours.

  The  concept of partnership  is also  fundamental to  the Department's new
approach   within   the  Secretariat,   which   entails   the   sharing   of

responsibility,  the  strengthening   of  coordination  in  planning  public
information policies  and programmes with  substantive departments,  offices
and  agencies,   the  pooling  of   resources  for   the  implementation  of
information tasks  and the recognition of  public information  as a decisive
factor in United Nations initiatives both at Headquarters and in the field.

  With  a  view  to  reaching  the   objective,  often  reiterated  by   the
SecretaryGeneral, for the United Nations system  to "speak with one  voice",
the Department of Public Information has through the machinery  of the Joint
United Nations Information  Committee (JUNIC) continued to promote  stronger
inter-agency  cooperation   and  coordination   in  the   field  of   public
information.  In addition  to its regular annual  session, during 1994 JUNIC
held two ad  hoc sessions to  develop and  coordinate the implementation  of
joint  information activities  in connection  with the  major  international
conferences scheduled for  1994 and 1995, and  in particular with the  World
Summit for Social Development  and the Fourth World Conference on Women.  As
a result  of these efforts, members  of JUNIC made  contributions to a  wide
range of  joint activities designed  to promote a  variety of  issues in the
information buildup for these conferences.

  It  is in  pursuit  of this  approach,  that we  have  successfully  built
stronger  partnerships  with  media worldwide.    We  have  concentrated our
information efforts  on major issues before  the international community  in
order to attract a  wider range of  key audiences.  We have  streamlined the
management  of our  operating machinery,  both  at  Headquarters and  in the
field, and most importantly, we have been able to motivate and mobilize  the
Department's main resource, its staff.  I would  add here my personal  pride
at the  professional commitment  displayed by  the staff  of the  Department
during the year.   Perhaps because of my long association with them over the
years,  I  have always  considered  the  staff  of  the information  centres
working  overseas as our  family.   Most of them  I know personally.   I was
especially  distressed, therefore,  by the  assassination  in March  of  our
Information Assistant  in Algiers,  Mr. Ouassini Lahrache.   He consistently
displayed all  the qualities  of  a dedicated  international civil  servant,
working  almost  single-handedly at  the  information  centre  in  difficult
circumstances,  while always retaining a pride in his  country, Algeria.  He
is deeply  missed.  In  every  service and  at  every  level, staff  of  the
Department  of Public  Information  have joined  hands, working  closely and
tirelessly with me  to meet the  challenge.  The Department  has endeavoured
to  ensure  a balanced  geographical  representation  of  its  staff at  all
levels.   Although the principle of  an equitable geographical  distribution
of posts should be seen in a Secretariat-wide  context, it is of  particular
importance  in the field of  public information.   I am  committed to do the
utmost in securing a representation of  competent and devoted staff  members
from all the regional groups of Member States in the Department.

  In preparing  for  major  conferences, the  Department has  implemented  a
focal point approach.  Highly  qualified information professionals have been
assigned,  at the  initial planning stage  of a conference,  to implement in
close   cooperation    with   the   substantive   departments,    conference
secretariats, and  other agencies and  organizations a coherent  information
strategy presenting the image of a unified  Organization.  The World  Summit
for  Social Development held at  Copenhagen two months ago,  was the largest
gathering of  world leaders ever  held. Staff members  of the Department  of
Public  Information provided  extensive coverage and services  to the media.
About 70  countries  received  daily television  coverage, and  daily  radio
reports  in  English,  French  and  Spanish  were  sent  to  49 broadcasting
organizations  in all regions.  The team produced  press releases in English
and French  of all  meetings, and 91  press conferences  and briefings  were
held, including a daily briefing by  the Spokesperson.  Media accreditation,
ongoing  media  liaison,  photo  and  document  distribution  including   an
electronic form were also among  the activities.  Three  press kits, special
broadcast  and  video  programmes  for  the  Summit  and  24  "issue papers"
highlighting substantive topics also contributed to the world-wide  outreach
during this important event.

  In  preparation of the  Fourth World  Conference on  Women, the Department
has  produced  a  series  of  fact  sheets, brochures,  booklets,  leaflets,
pamphlets and  feature articles, a conference  poster and  special radio and
television programmes to promote the priority issues of the Conference.   We
have  organized  a  number  of  media  encounters  in  connection  with  the
Conference  and have  distributed  information packages  to  United  Nations
field offices and media  world wide.  In addition, the Department is working
in close  cooperation with United Nations  agencies and  with publishers and
broadcasters  for  radio  and  television  programmes,  print  publications,
seminars and  other events  highlighting critical  areas of  concern of  the
Conference Platform  for Action.   Special press kits were  prepared for the
thirty-ninth session  of the  Commission  on the  Status of  Women in  April
1995.     These  kits   were  widely   appreciated  for   both  content  and
presentation.

  Another  essential development is  the work  of a revitalized Publications
Board.   They provide  guidance for  publication activities  on issues  most
relevant to the United Nations  by ensuring better utilization of the wealth
of   information  uniquely   available  to   the  Organization.      Another
responsibility  the  Board  is  entrusted  with   is  to  establish  a  more
manageable   publications   programme   by   eliminating   duplication   and
overlapping  of print titles.   Our  declared goal  is cost-effectiveness of
work and increase of sales of United Nations publications.

  In this  context, and  in addition  to the  information  contained in  the
report by the Secretary-General on the  Department's publications, I  should
like   to  take  the  opportunity   to  elaborate  further  on  one  of  the
Department's major undertakings,  that is the Blue  Book series, which is an
initiative to  capitalize on  the United  Nations newly  gained position  at
centre stage.  Each volume of the series  documents the central role and the
vital  legacy of  the United  Nations  in  a major  international endeavour,
emphasizing its achievements and successes, utilizing the treasure trove  of
unique  information  available to  the  Secretariat.  Most  importantly  for
policy makers,  academicians, researchers  and of  course journalists,  each
edition includes  in one volume all  the principal  documentation:  relevant
actions by the Security Council and  the General Assembly, related  historic
documents  and a detailed  chronology.   Each edition  features an extensive
introduction  by the  Secretary-General.  The  Blue Book series  is aimed at
documenting  the  most  current  issues   of  the  United   Nations  agenda,
highlighting their importance and  relevance for future  involvement of  the
Organization.  In the short time they have been available, these books  have
begun  to  generate  a growing  interest among  important  target audiences.
This series  on United Nations  success stories currently  tops the list  of
the Department's  sales  items and  is the  subject of  numerous reviews  by
specialized  magazines in  many parts  of the  world.   And it  has begun to
generate income.

  Keeping  pace  with  the  rapidly  evolving  technology  in  the  field of
telecommunications  - which is essential in the  extremely competitive field
of  information -  continues to  be a  priority for the  Department, despite
budgetary  constraints and increasing  demands on  its resources.   From the
day  I  took  over as  head  of  the  Department, a  priority  has  been  to
strengthen  United Nations information  programmes, to  polish the  tools of
programme  delivery, and  to that  end  find  innovative ways  to assimilate
technological advances in  order to establish a far-reaching  communications
network for the  United Nations.  For a  long time, the  Department was held
back by limited technological means and  equipment at its disposal.   Today,
however,  we  are moving  with  an  accelerated  speed  on the  "information
superhighway" using  electronic networks  such as  Gemnet, APC,  Togethernet
and the Internet.  The database of the  Department of Public Information  on
the Internet is  presently the largest within  the United Nations family and
is user-friendly and  economically sound.   United Nations  publications and
important  documents,  including  reports  of  the  Secretary-General,   are
reaching their audiences in  electronic form at  an enormous speed.  Out  of
the total of 14,000 daily accesses, many emanate from permanent missions  to
the United Nations and United Nations offices world wide.

  In a new move  forward, the Department  is now prepared to strengthen  its
existing presence in  cyberspace by means of the  World Wide Web, a  service
which integrates  text, graphics and  audio in  multi-media presentations to
Internet users.  Going  a step beyond highly successful gopher system of the
United  Nations  Development Programme  (UNDP),  the  Department  of  Public
Information is  now working  with the  Electronic Services  Division of  the
United  Nations to  build on the  Web a  United Nations  "home page",  to be
launched as  a pilot project on  26 June, in  conjunction with the  fiftieth
anniversary observances of the signing of the Charter of  the United Nations
at  San Francisco.    Moreover, through  the  Web "home  page",  the  United
Nations will  be able  to provide  to Internet  users graphically  appealing
elements  and linked  files  on  United  Nations activities  in  multi-media
format.

  Through  this service,  the Department  will not  only be  able to  convey
United  Nations news  and  documents  electronically, but  also deliver  the
Department's   collection  of   historical   images   recorded  during   the
Organization's first 50 years and,  in addition, present an  on-line tour of
Headquarters.   Most  recently, the  World  Wide  Web  was used  with  great
success  to transmit  photographs electronically  from the  World Summit for
Social Development  in Copenhagen to media  and to  Headquarters.  Regarding
text  transmissions during the Social Summit, the  Department has registered
the retrieval  of 8,585  information materials  through the  Web server,  in
addition to the more than 11,000 retrievals through  the Gopher server.   It
should be  stressed  that  this  increased dissemination  has  no  financial
implications for the Department.

  In  yet  another  move  to  keep   pace  with  the  latest   technological
developments,  the  Department  will  make  the  time-consuming  process  of
audio/visual editing as simple as word processing  and will develop a future
tapeless  archival system  that is  fully  networked  and capable  of almost
instantaneous delivery of the Department's products world wide.

  In  December, for the  first time,  a video programme of  the Department -
the  much in  demand "Year  in Review"  - was  transmitted via  three  major
satellites reaching broadcasters around the world with a potential  audience
of over 360 million  television households.  This transmission proved to  be
successful  not only in reaching  large numbers of viewers in a high-quality
and  cost-effective manner,  but also  in  ensuring timeliness  of delivery.
This pilot undertaking will be the  subject of a presentation to  you by the
Media Division at the briefing session of the Committee.

  The Dag Hammarskjold Library is operating  a series of on-line  databases,
known  as the United  Nations Bibliographic  Information System  (UNBIS) and
consisting of bibliographic,  factual, authority and textual data which  are
made  available  to Member  States by  direct on-line  access, bibliographic
utility, the  Optical Disc System, and  of course via  the Internet.   Since
April 1995,  UNBIS  Plus on  CD-ROM  has  been available,  providing  direct
access  through information  centres,  depository libraries  and  commercial
users to all library files.

  At  this juncture, I  should like  to stress the importance  of the United
Nations depository  library network  totalling today  343  libraries in  138
countries  and  territories around  the  world.   The  efforts  of  our  Dag
Hammarskjold Library  in its help to these libraries are aimed at increasing
their  potential  and  role  as effective  disseminators  of  United Nations
documents  and publications.   In  the  fiftieth  year of  the Organization,
depository libraries play an  essential role in  promoting public  awareness
of the  goals and  activities of  the United  Nations.   Major efforts  were
undertaken in 1994 to enhance this  network of disseminators of  information
by  making greater  use of  the Internet  and optical disc  technologies for
bringing  the wealth of  United Nations  information to  these libraries, by
designating  additional   depository  libraries  to   the  network  and   by
increasing  visits and training  opportunities to enhance the performance of
these  libraries and  make it  commensurate  with  an increased  interest of
their audiences.

  In its  quest to forge strong  partnerships with  broadcasting media world
wide,  the Department has  proved its  capability to  deliver swiftly audio-
visual information products of the  highest broadcast quality  in accordance
with standard  technology.  The  Department has been  able to reinforce  its
highly  successful  working relationships  with  international  broadcasting
organizations which  receive daily feeds  of United Nations television video
packages  highlights  for  redissemination  around  the  world.    With  the
assistance  of   international  syndicators,  United  Nations   audio-visual
productions are on a regular basis reaching broadcasting organizations  also
in the southern hemisphere.  Beginning with the World Conference on  Natural
Disaster  Reduction,  held   at  Yokohama  in  1994,  the  Department  began
transmitting audio recordings  of major  news value  through the  Integrated
System  of Digital  Network (ISDN)  to the  International  Broadcast Centre.
ISDN  transmissions guarantee  full broadcast  quality of  the audio  feeds.
Important addresses  by the  Secretary-General away  from Headquarters -  at
locations where ISDN capabilities exist -  have also been delivered  through
the  system to New York  and to broadcasters  world wide.   In observance of
the  Organization's fiftieth  anniversary,  the Department  has  produced  a
series  of video compilations  focusing on historic  moments in  the life of
the Organization  and  on key  thematic  areas  such as  peace-keeping,  the
plight  of  refugees,   the  environment,  women's  issues  and   noteworthy
international law topics.

  At its  session  in 1994,  the  Committee  on Information  encouraged  the
Secretary-General "to  explore  ways and  means  to  improve the  access  of
United Nations radio to  airwaves world wide, bearing in mind that radio  is
one  of the  most cost-effective  and  far-reaching  media available  to the
Department  of Public Information".   Currently,  29 radio  programmes in 15
languages are sent to broadcasters in  over 180 countries; the  Department's
programmes in Portuguese  and in Hindi  are broadcast  by 168  stations.   I
want  to share this  detail with  you, because programmes in  other than the
official languages,  in  many cases,  provide  for  the widest  outreach  to
audiences.  The Department is presently  engaged in consultations with major
European  shortwave broadcasters  to explore  the possibility  of  acquiring
regular airtime  for  a multilingual  daily  broadcast  schedule for  United
Nations radio.   In this  regard, I would  like to call  upon Member  States
having  powerful  broadcasting   facilities  operating  on  their   national
territories  to  assist  the  Department in  maintaining  a  radio broadcast
schedule on the air for the United Nations.

  The  importance   of  broadcast  radio   communication  for  peace-keeping
information programmes  has been underlined  by the Secretary-General in his
Supplement  to "An  Agenda  for  Peace".   He stressed  the need  for peace-
keeping operations  to develop "an effective  capacity ... to enable them to
explain their mandate to  the population", and  he concluded that "Radio  is
the most effective medium for this purpose".

  In  my  statement  to  the   General  Assembly's  Special   Political  and
Decolonization Committee in October 1994, I  urged a partnership between the
Department and other  Secretariat departments concerned  with peace-keeping,
political  and  humanitarian  affairs  to  consolidate  public   information
activities in peace-keeping and  humanitarian emergency situations.   We are
now   exploring  the  development   of  an  inter-departmental  consultative
mechanism for the  coordination of information strategies  in the field.   I
welcome   the  support  informally  expressed  by  several  members  of  the
Committee to this  collaborative approach to public information  strategies,
including an effort for the development  of a central broadcasting  facility
for  the purposes  of  dissemination of  information  for  peace-keeping and
humanitarian emergency  situations.  The Department  over the  last year has
strengthened considerably  its input  in the planning of  public information
components  for peace-keeping  missions  right  from the  initial stages  of
mission  planning  through   mission  execution.     In  addition   to  such
information support, the Department, in consultation with the Department  of
Peace-keeping  Operations  and  other  substantive  offices,  issues  on   a
continuous  basis  a  series  of information  materials  relative  to peace-
keeping and peacemaking.  This will continue.   Our joint agreement is  that

more has to be done.

  I  cannot address this  Committee without  bringing to  your attention the
increasing importance of the United Nations  information centres as a  vital
link of  the Department, and the  United Nations as a  whole, to the  world.
The  network of  68 information  centres and  services play, more  than ever
before, a  front-line role in bringing  United Nations  information to local
audiences.    To that  end,  in  1994,  United  Nations information  centres
organized an  extensive schedule of special  events with  the cooperation of
host    country    officials,    media,    universities,    non-governmental
organizations,    foundations,    associations,   political    and    social
institutions,   business   communities,   academicians,    parliamentarians,
libraries and municipalities, as well as  in partnership with United Nations
agencies.

  Their  varied  activities ranged  from  translation  of  the  Department's
information kits to keeping local audiences  informed about the preparations
for the World Summit for  Social Development and the Fourth World Conference
on Women, and about the Secretary-General's  "Agenda for Peace" and  "Agenda
for  Development".  In  many countries,  radio and  television programmes on
issues  of concern  to the  United  Nations  were co-produced  with national
broadcasting  organizations.   United Nations  information centres organized
seminars   and  meetings,   round  tables   and  lectures   to  help   bring
intergovernmental debates closer to the general public.

  The Department  is  pursuing  its  efforts  to  ensure  close  cooperation
between United Nations information centres and other United Nations  offices
in the field in  order to present a  unified image of  the Organization,  to
enhance information activities on issues  of regional concern, and - most of
all  - to  ensure that  information centres  form  an  integral part  of the
Department's  information  strategy.   We  succeeded  in  effecting  savings
through relocation  of  some centres  in  high-cost  countries, as  well  as
through  the  integration  of some  centres  with UNDP  offices.   The  main
objective  in  this  regard  is  to  ensure  the most  effective  means  for
increased outreach in the  field.  The guidance of this Committee was  taken
fully into account, that is, a  case-by-case approach in close  consultation
with the host  countries has been adopted.  We  seek at all times to  ensure
that  the information  functions of  the United  Nations information centres
are enhanced continuously.

  Taking  into account the  guidance by delegations  at the  1994 session of
this Committee,  and  following the  decision  of  the General  Assembly  in
resolution  48/258 of  23 June  1994,  some  funds and  resources previously
allocated   to   the  anti-apartheid   information   programme   have   been
surrendered.  In full compliance with  the principles of cost-efficiency,  I
have proposed  redeployment of  some of  these resources  to enhance  public
information   activities  relevant   to  southern   Africa,   including  the
establishment  of  an information  office,  headed  by a  Professional staff
member  of the Department, within the United Nations Office in South Africa.
As  recommended  by  this  Committee,  we  also  intend  to  strengthen  the
production and delivery capacity of the African radio unit.

  In  its efforts  to  reach a  wider global  audience,  the  Department has
increased  its  partnerships  with  educational  institutions  both  through
Headquarters and its offices  in the field.  Consultations as well as survey
results on  teaching about the United  Nations have  confirmed my conviction
that we  need to establish guidelines  for education  about the Organization
and its goals and activities.   Currently, we are in the process of defining
a  strategy that  will allow us  to work  in the  closest possible  way with
educators  from all  regions and will  have an impact  on school curriculae.
The  fiftieth  anniversary  and  the  wide   range  of  activities  in   the
educational  community in this  regard provide  an excellent  opportunity to
strengthen the Department's cooperation with educational institutions.

  I wanted to share with you this morning some strategies and activities  of
the Department  of Public Information fundamental  to its new direction.  In

the  interest of  time,  I  have focused  on matters  of  public information
policies  and their  implementation as  directed by  the  Secretary-General.
Part II of  my statement gives a detailed  account of how the Department has
fulfilled specific  mandates  of the  General  Assembly  called for  at  its
forty-ninth session, and as recommended by this Committee.

  Permit me, Mr. Chairman,  to state that the Department now has the ability
to  reach  its various  audiences  more  quickly  and more  comprehensively.
Moreover, having  regained its professional  credibility, the Department  is
now more  able to  communicate together  with its  partners in a  more cost-
effective manner the universal message of the United Nations.

  In the discharge of its mandate,  this Committee, with the  experience and
expertise represented in  all of you,  is in  a unique position to  play its
role in guiding the Department of Public Information  in the conduct of  its
work.   Our success  is your  success, and our achievements  begin with you.
For  they  will  have  their  foundation   in  your  guidance,  support  and
cooperation  and will be built  through the creative  efforts of a dedicated
staff  of  the Department  throughout the  world.  "The  acts of  the United
Nations", as the Secretary-General has underscored  in his annual report  on
the work of the  Organization, "must carry the  authority of the  peoples of
the  world,   acting  in   concert  through   the  Member   States  of   the
Organization".    Public  information  has  an  essential  role  to  play in
contributing to this goal.  To this we are all deeply committed.

II

  In paragraph 24  of its resolution 49/38 B, the General Assembly requested
the Secretary-General  "to report  to the  Committee on  Information at  its
seventeenth session  ...  on the  activities  of  the Department  of  Public
Information and on the  implementation of the  recommendations contained  in
the present resolution".

  The  Department of Public  Information, as  the communications  arm of the
United Nations,  has continued  to establish  the  strongest possible  links
with   diverse   media,   educational   institutions  and   non-governmental
organizations.   In its  endeavour to  promote an  informed understanding of
the  work and  purposes of  the United Nations,  the Department  makes every
effort to work side-by-side with  other departments, programmes and agencies
of the United Nations system, first  to formulate the information priorities
of  the Organization  and  then to  project a  unified  message.   With  the
increased role of the Organization in the management  of a diverse array  of
global problems, the Department's  materials and activities  are designed to
forge a  clear image  for the  United Nations in  all its  dimensions.   Its
information  programmes carefully  blend the  use of  television, radio  and
print products to maximize access to the intended target audiences.

  For journalists covering the United Nations,  the Office of the  Spokesman
for the Secretary-General is a principal  point of contact for authoritative
information  on the  work  of the  Organization and  especially that  of the
Secretary-General.    The   Spokesman  receives  daily  guidance  from   the
Secretary-General and his  senior staff.   Each  day at  noon the  Spokesman
briefs accredited  correspondents  and  then  gives  a  briefing  for  press
officers  of the  missions.   These briefings  focus on  the statements  and
activities  of the Secretary-General, but they also inform correspondents on
the work of  the Security Council, as well  as on other  developments in the
United Nations system.  He is assisted  in these  briefings by an  Associate
Spokesman who covers specific matters relating to peace-keeping  operations.
The scope  of  the noon  briefings,  which  are frequently  supplemented  by
additional  briefings  for correspondents,  reflects clearly  the increasing
responsibilities of the Organization.

    The  Office is  also responsible  for planning  the  Secretary-General's
media-related  activities, setting  up his  press conferences  and  handling
requests from journalists for interviews with  him and senior officials,  as
well as  planning  media aspects  of official  travel to  Member States  and

international  conferences.     The   Spokesman's  staff   assists  in   the
preparation of background information on issues  raised at the noon briefing
and  responds  to  follow-up  inquiries  from  correspondents.    Also,  the
Department keeps  the Secretary-General  and senior  officials promptly  and
fully  apprised of coverage  in the  international print  media and provides
press analysis about the United Nations and its  organs, as well as relevant
issues before the Organization.

  Radio  professionals  in  the  Department  coordinated  with  Headquarters
offices,   United   Nations   field   offices   and   national  broadcasting
organizations  to ensure that  news reports  covering the  activities of the
Secretary-General during his travels  to over 30 countries  in the past year
were fed electronically to Headquarters for world-wide  dissemination.  Such
coverage, with sound actuality  from the field, has become a staple item  in
radio  programming.    In  addition,  the  Secretary-General's  1994  United
Nations  Day message was packaged and transmitted on line in three languages
to over 80 radio stations and networks world wide prior to the occasion.

  A very useful  tool in  disseminating information  about the  work of  the
United  Nations  in  a  cost-effective  manner  is the  Department's  United
Nations  News   Electronic  Bulletin  Board,   which  has   moved  from  its
experimental  phase  into   a  fully  operational,   24-hour-a-day  service,
providing consolidated  and updated news about  the United  Nations in three
languages by  means of  a simple  telephone call.   At any given  time, some
three  hours  of audio  information  material  for  use  by broadcasters  is
available on approximately 30 different items.

  To  capitalize on  the  wide public  interest in  the Organization  in its
fiftieth year,  the Department  is producing  a series  of 60-second  public
service television announcements about the  history and achievements  of the
United  Nations,  entitled  "UN Minutes".    These  informational  spots use
historical  and current  footage from  the Department's  extensive film  and
video library.   They are being aired  by Cable News  Network (CNN)  on both
its  international and  domestic channels  and  have  been sent  to selected
information centres.  Language versions are  being planned and  broadcasters
from various regions have expressed interest. 

  Similarly,  the Department has  begun production  of an  ongoing series of
30-second questions  and answers  about the  United Nations.   Entitled  "UN
Facts", these public service announcements are intended  for distribution to
cable television  broadcasters.  Language versions  are also being  planned.
In addition, a  20-minute video about  the United Nations  was produced  for
schoolchildren to explain the purposes and work of the Organization.

  Three  special  radio   documentaries  are  being  produced  in  1995   in
connection  with the fiftieth  anniversary, which deal respectively with the
history of United Nations peace-keeping, the  concerns and priorities of the
world's youth at  the threshold of the  twenty-first century and key  events
in United Nations history.

  The Department produced a supporting exhibit  to accompany the display  of
the Charter  of the  United Nations  in the  Public Lobby  in January  1995,
highlighting  the signing  of the  Charter in  1945, the  signatures  of the
founding fathers and the current membership of 185 States.

   The Department has given  priority to preparations for the cycle of major
United Nations  conferences  in 1994  and  1995  dedicated to  economic  and
social  issues.  During the World Summit for  Social Development, the United
Nations  News Electronic Bulletin  Board carried  over three  hours of audio
materials sent directly from Copenhagen, including the spokesperson's  daily
briefing at the  Conference site,  and news reports  in French, English  and
Spanish.   Some 4,700  copies of the  Department's press kit  on the  Summit
were  distributed  in  English,  French  and   Spanish  to  media  and  non-
governmental  organizations,  as well  as to  delegations at  the Conference
site.   Over 20,000 copies of  the Department's poster  for the Summit  were
disseminated  in  all  official  languages.    The  Department  has  already

distributed  an  advance  copy  of  the  final  Copenhagen  Declaration  and
Programme of  Action  to all  United  Nations  information centres  and,  on
request, to the  media.  The  final text will be reproduced  in booklet form
for widespread distribution, in all official languages. 

  Recent radio  documentaries produced  on economic and social  issues were:
"Water, Our  Precious Resource",  an eight-part  series commissioned  by the
JUNIC for  the observance of  the World Day for Water  to focus attention on
issues related  to the use  and abuse  of water  resources; "Population  and
Development", a six-part series on key  issues relevant to the International
Conference  on   Population  and  Development;   "Family:    Resources   and
Responsibilities",  a  series   of  four   programmes  on   the  roles   and
responsibilities  of  families  in  a  world  in   transition;  and  "Social
Development",   a   five-part  series   on   issues   of   poverty,   social
disintegration, unemployment  and vulnerable  social groups,  produced as  a
curtain-raiser  for the 1995  World Summit for Social  Development.  Also, a
five-part  series on desertification  is being  produced, as  is a four-part
special documentary  on the Law of  the Sea.  The  Department is at  present
collecting materials for the November release of  a four-part series on  the
world's indigenous peoples.

  As a  result of  advance arrangements,  multilingual coverage  of all  the
major  international  conferences,  as well  as  news  coverage  reports  in
Arabic,  English, French  and Spanish,  was  provided  on a  daily basis  to
regional radio broadcasting  organizations, which retransmitted it in  their
regions.   For the World Summit  for Social Development,  a number of  video
productions were prepared  by the Department, including a documentary  video
covering the core  issues of the World  Summit for Social Development, which
was distributed to United Nations information  centres in four languages  in
advance  of the  Summit, four  "UN in  Action"/"CNN  World Report"  items on
Summit issues, anda public serviceannouncement in thesix officiallanguages.

  An agreement with the United Nations  Population Fund (UNFPA) has recently
been concluded, under which  the Department will  produce a radio series  in
English, French and Spanish over a period  of 18 months, which will focus on
population  and development  issues  as  a follow-up  to  the  International
Conference on Population and Development.

  In  its  efforts  to  promote  greater   awareness  of  the  Fourth  World
Conference  on Women,  to be  held at  Beijing, the  Department has targeted
communities and  non-governmental  organizations at  the grass-roots  level,
educational   and    cultural   institutions   and   intergovernmental   and
parliamentary bodies.  It  has developed a specialized mailing list of  well
over  1,200  media  organizations  and  non-governmental  organizations  for
periodic mailing of  information materials and conference documents.   These
include a series of fact sheets,  brochures, booklets, leaflets and  feature
articles, and  a  conference poster  in the  six  official  languages.   The
Department has  also strengthened  its ties with  the host  country for  the
Conference through  the placement in Beijing  of a  departmental focal point
for the Conference  and through meetings at Headquarters and in Beijing with
government  authorities responsible  for the  Conference.   In  negotiations
with Chinese technical and media teams,  which visited Headquarters in April
1995,  broad agreements  have been  reached  on  media arrangements  for the
Conference.   In  executing its  information  programme, the  Department  is
working  in  close  association  with the  Conference  secretariat  and  the
specialized agencies and programmes of the United Nations system. 

  The Department has launched  a multi-media information  programme for  the
Second United  Nations Conference on Human  Settlements (Habitat  II), to be
held at  Istanbul  in  June  1996.    Production  has  begun  on  the  print
materials, such  as the brochure and an  information kit, as  well as on the
planning  of radio  and television  programming.    Staff of  the Department
participated in the first planing mission to Istanbul  in April, as well  as
the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the  Conference, held at
Nairobi.

  In support of the  International Conference on Families, which was held in
October  1994 during  the forty-ninth  session  of  the General  Assembly to
discuss  issues raised  during the  International  Year  of the  Family, the
Department organized a press conference with  the Coordinator for the  Year,
provided press  release coverage of the  special conference and  distributed
public   information   materials   to   the   press,   to   non-governmental
organizations  and  delegates.  Previously,  in  July,  the  Department  had
organized an exhibit  on families in the  General Assembly Public  Lobby and
produced a  television public service announcement  for the  Year, which was
aired on many networks, including CNN.

  To assist in launching the International  Decade of the World's Indigenous
People  in  December  1994,  the  Department  produced   and  distributed  a
backgrounder on  the decade in  English, French and  Spanish.   A newsletter
was also prepared  and distributed in these  languages prior to the  launch,
and  work continues  on  a  variety of  projects to  raise awareness  of the
Decade and its objectives.

  The  Department's multi-media information campaign in support of the Ninth
United Nations  Congress on the  Prevention of  Crime and  the Treatment  of
Offenders,  being held  at  Cairo from  29  April  to  8 May,  has  included
backgrounders  and an  information  kit, "UN  in  Action"  television items,
local language  materials prepared by information  centres and services,  an
extensive   presentation   to   over   100   non-governmental   organization
representatives,  and press,  television and  photographic coverage  of  the
Congress itself.

  Media and public  interest has continued to focus unabated on the priority
areas of United  Nations peace-keeping  and peacemaking.  Accordingly,  over
the  past year, the  Department has  strengthened its  activities to promote
knowledge and  understanding of the  Organization's role  and objectives  in
these important areas of  activity.  In consultation with the Department  of
Peace-keeping Operations and  other substantive offices of the  Secretariat,
the Department of Public  Information issues on a  continuous basis a series
of information materials related to peace-keeping and peacemaking.

  The  in-depth  publication, United  Nations  Peace-keeping:    Information
Notes,  providing an  update of  comprehensive information  relevant to each
mission,  including background,  Security Council mandates,  composition and
financing,  continues to  appear twice  yearly.   In  response to  the great
demand  for language versions,  the publication  will be  released in French
and  Spanish.   The Department  has also  continued to  issue  its quarterly
background note on peace-keeping operations, with  the July 1994 edition  in
the six official languages.  
    The  Department  issued  during  the  past  year  updated  editions   of
reference papers on the role of  the Organization in Somalia, Angola, Rwanda
and  the  former  Yugoslavia.    A  poster pictorially  illustrating  United
Nations peace-keeping  was released in  February 1995.   As mandated by  the
General Assembly, work is in progress for issuance later in the year of  the
third edition of the comprehensive publication Blue Helmets.

  In  the field  of disarmament,  the  Department,  in cooperation  with the
Centre for Disarmament Affairs, has produced and distributed a  press kit on
the 1995 Review and  Extension Conference of Parties  to the Treaty  on Non-
Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which began  in April at Headquarters,  as
well  as  a fold-over  pamphlet  on  the  United  Nations Standing  Advisory
Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa.

  Many video items  produced in the "UN  in Action" series and  subsequently
aired  on "CNN  World Report"  have  been  devoted to  current peace-keeping
operations, as  well as  election  and humanitarian  assistance relating  to
Mozambique,  Rwanda,   Somalia,  Liberia,  Guatemala,  Bosnia,  Georgia  and
Chechnya. A special line of radio  programme production on peace-keeping has
been  introduced  by   the  Department,  which  includes  interviews,   news
segments,  updates  and  special  subjects.    This production  activity  is
feeding  material   into  the   Bulletin  Board   and  regional   magazines.

Consideration  is being  given to  instituting a regular  programme segment,
independently or as  part of existing  magazines, on  the priority theme  of
peace-keeping.

  The Department's cartographers  have prepared new or updated revisions  of
maps for 12  missions, including for  new deployments of the  United Nations
Angola Verification  Mission III  (UNAVEM III),  the United  Nations Mission
for  the Referendum  in Western  Sahara (MINURSO)  and  the Mission  for the
Verification of  Human Rights and of Compliance with the  Commitments of the
Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights in  Guatemala (MINUGUA).  These maps
were included  in the reports of the Secretary-General, as well in documents
such as financial reports of the  Department of Peace-keeping Operations and
reference papers of the Department of  Public Information.  Copies were also
provided to the news media upon  request.  A number of  these maps were also
prepared  for use in  the Blue Book  series.  A  number of  new profile maps
have been  prepared for  countries  around the  world, including  Guatemala,
Honduras,  Haiti and  El Salvador  in Central  America; Ecuador and  Peru in
South America;  Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Yemen,  Iraq, the  Islamic Republic of
Iran  and Israel  in  the  Middle East;  and  Liberia, Rwanda  and Zaire  in
Africa.  These maps  are also used widely within the United Nations  system,
for example as  sources for many publications  issued by the United  Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF), UNDP  and UNFPA.  They  are also made available to
outside  publishers with the  approval of  the Publications Board.   In mid-
1994,  the  Department  acquired a  large-format  colour  plotter which  now
allows for  the preparation  of large  coloured maps  of  the various  field
operations, which are used for briefing purposes for the Situation Room,  as
well  as by other offices  of the Department of Peace-keeping Operations and
by the Spokesman's Office.

  It should be noted that the Department, for  the first time, has issued an
annual  roundup of  Security Council  resolutions and  Council  presidential
statements in  English  and French,  which  is  complementary to  its  long-
established and  widely  used roundup  of General  Assembly resolutions  and
decisions.

  The Department  continues to provide information  support for  the work of
the United Nations in the area of sustainable development.  A  comprehensive
press  kit was  produced for  the session of  the Commission  on Sustainable
Development held in April  1995.  To meet  the steady demand,  an additional
10,000 copies of the book version  of Agenda 21 were reprinted,  as were the
texts  of the legal  agreements signed at  the United  Nations Conference on
Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.

  As  part  of  its  special  information   programme  on  the  question  of
Palestine, the  Department organized at  Madrid from 29  to 31  March 1995 a
meeting  on assistance  to the  Palestinian  people  in the  field of  media
development.   The seminar,  which was  hosted by  the Government  of Spain,
brought  together Palestinian  media professionals  and policy  makers  with
media  experts, foundations and donor agencies, principally  from Europe and
the  United States  of  America.   It examined  ways  and means  to  promote
Palestinian media  and  provided an  opportunity  to  discuss the  needs  of
Palestinian media  professionals in such areas  as media  and the democratic
process,  legal aspects  of  communication, media  ownership  and  editorial
freedom,  financing  and  management,  application   of  new  communications
technologies and training of  media professionals.  As a result, a series of
recommendations  and  projects  in  these  areas  have  been  proposed.   In
addition to that provided by the  Government of Spain and  UNESCO, financial
assistance  for the organization  of the  seminar was  also provided  by the
Government of the Netherlands and by UNDP. 

  Within the framework  of the same programme, the Department has also begun
preparation of  the  1995 International  Encounter  for  Journalists on  the
Question of Palestine, which will be  held at Prague from 13  to 15 June and
will be co-sponsored by the Government of the Czech Republic. 

  In  a  continuing  effort  to  strengthen  its  production  and  programme

delivery  targeted to  the African  region, especially southern  Africa, the
African radio  unit has  recently been  reinforced  with the  addition of  a
number of experienced staff from the former anti-apartheid unit.

  The  Department  of  Public  Information,  through  its  Dag  Hammarskjold
Library, continues to  expand its outreach by  making available to the world
community the  enormous  information  potential  of the  Organization.    It
produces  a series of  on-line databases,  collectively known  as the United
Nations Bibliographic  Information System  (UNBIS), consisting  of 10  files
containing bibliographic,  factual, authority  and textual  data related  to
United  Nations  documents  and/or  activities.   This  information  is made
available by the following  means: (a) direct on-line access through the New
York Computing Service to  permanent missions and  government agencies;  (b)
access via a bibliographic utility to  major universities and other research
institutions in many countries  throughout the world; (c) UNBIS Plus on  CD-
ROM, developed  in collaboration  with a  commercial vendor,  which provides
access to  all  UNBIS files,  making  extensive  use of  hypertext  linkages
between files, and is presented  with a user-friendly interface, and will be
marketed  in developing  countries at concessional prices  and provided free
of charge  to United  Nations information  centres for  consultation by  the
general public;  (d) access  through the  Optical Disc  System for  indexing
data with respect  to parliamentary documents and administrative  issuances;
(e) access via the Internet; (f) access on diskette; and (g) printproducts.

  The  publications of the  Department have  been extensively  detailed in a
report by the Secretary-General currently before the Committee.  It must  be
reiterated,  however,   that  given  the  wide   and  long-term  impact   of
publications on public perception of the  United Nations, the Department  is
taking steps  to ensure that its  printed products  are original, worthwhile
and of the highest quality.  It is the aim of these publications to  reflect
the  important role the  Organization is  currently playing  in the critical
international  endeavours  of our  time.    As a  test  of  their  increased
relevance, more of the Department's publications  are now being offered  for
sale.  The External  Publications Office of the Department continues to seek
the  widest   possible  dissemination   and  exposure   of  United   Nations
publications through negotiations  with commercial publishers  interested in
obtaining publishing and reprinting rights in many languages.

  The  drive  further  to  enhance   publications  is  facilitated   by  the
deployment  of  new  technologies  which  make  possible   the  creation  of
attractive designs in a speedy and  cost-effective manner and the  effective
pooling of editorial resources.  The  Department's Design Section, which has
been  converted to a  full-service desk-top  publishing office, is providing
design,  typography and technical  print production  services for  the print
materials of the Department,  as well as for  many other offices  within the
United Nations system.

  In another move to keep pace  with the latest technological  developments,
the storage, retrieval,  reproduction and dissemination of the  Department's
photographs will  be significantly  simplified through  the introduction  of
the Eastman  Kodak Professional CD system.   This  will operate concurrently
with  the existing chemical  photo processing  system, which will ultimately
be phased out.

  Among  their  many  and  varied  activities,  United  Nations  information
centres  continued to play  a pivotal  role in  promoting the Organization's
major conferences on development questions during  1994 by raising the level
of local interest in  the issues and keeping  the media and public informed.
The centres organized  briefings, seminars, round tables and television  and
radio discussion  programmes featuring  United Nations  experts.  They  also
translated,  adapted  and  repackaged  documents,  backgrounders  and  other
information materials into 37 local languages.  At La Paz and Windhoek,  the
centres   created  issue-specific   journalists'  networks   on  women   and
population questions in order to generate  an increase in in-depth coverage.

  The efforts  of United Nations  information centres facilitated  immediate
access to regional responses to United  Nations activities, in particular to
two  recent United Nations conferences.  During the  World Summit for Social
Development,  information centres  faxed more  than 2,000  daily  clippings,
press  reports, media  analyses and  translations of  major editorials  from
print, radio  and television  to the  Department's team  at the  conference.
Immediate  feedback was  also  provided  by information  centres during  and
after   the  International   Conference   on  Population   and  Development.
Approximately 7,500  articles from  432 newspapers  provided by  information
centres  indicated  the most  extensive  media  coverage ever  achieved  for
United Nations  conferences.  At the  same time  information centres relayed
press  releases and  other  materials  by e-mail  and fax  and  responded to
thousands of queries from the media, non-governmental  organizations and the
public.   A special role was  played by information  centres located in  the
conference host countries, which not only  facilitated access to local media
for  Conference   officials,  but  also   often  provided  translation   and
interpretation  liaison  services  as  well.    A  number  of  centres  have
undertaken, and  continue to undertake, follow-up  briefings on the  outcome
of the  World Summit for Social  Development for  media and non-governmental
organizations  and   intend  to   conduct  briefings   in  connection   with
preparations for the Beijing women's conference and for Habitat II in 1996.

  United Nations information centres were instrumental in establishing  over
70  Fiftieth   Anniversary  National  Committees.     In  keeping  with  the
objectives of  the fiftieth anniversary of  the United  Nations, the centres
devoted  themselves to promoting  the observance,  especially by  the young,
through teachers  and specialists in curriculum  development.  To  publicize
the overall work of  the United Nations information centres such as those at
Bucharest, New Delhi, Rome and Tehran  created special partnerships for  the
publication of United Nations information  materials.  The Bucharest centre,
in  cooperation with the  Romanian League  on Human  Rights, published 5,000
local  language  copies  of  the  ABC-Teaching  Human  Rights:     Practical
Activities for  Primary and Secondary Schools,  as well as excerpts from the
Convention on the Elimination  of All Forms of  Racial Discrimination.  By a
special  arrangement  with the  centre  in  Rome,  the  Italian news  agency
Agenzia Nationale  Stampa Associata  (ANSA) published papers  on the  Fourth
World  Conference  on  Women,  the  Ninth  United  Nations  Congress  on the
Prevention  of  Crime  and  the  Treatment  of  Offenders  and  the fiftieth
anniversary and  distributed  them  to its  subscriber base  as  well as  to
parliamentarians,  academics  and editors  of  specialized  journals.    The
centre at New Delhi established close  relations with leading academics  and
private sector organizations to facilitate the publishing and  dissemination
of  United  Nations  documents  and  information  materials  in   vernacular
languages, and the centre at Tehran  translated "An Agenda for  Development"
into Farsi and published the report in seven  parts in cooperation with  the
Persian morning daily, Abrar.

   Statements by the  Secretary-General, as  well as  booklets, fact  sheets
and  backgrounders related to the Conference on  Population and Development,
the World Summit  for Social Development and  the Fourth World Conference on
Women  have  been  produced in  Bahasa Indonesian,  Danish,  Dutch, Finnish,
German, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic,  Italian, Kiswahili, Nepali, Norwegian,
Portuguese, Romanian, Shona, Swedish and Thai.   Major publications such  as
the annual report of the Secretary-General on the work of the  Organization,
the Charter  of the  United Nations and  the Universal Declaration  on Human
Rights have been made available by  information centres with the  assistance
of  national partners,  in additional  languages, including  Czech,  German,
Greek, Japanese and Portuguese.  In  this connection, currently a Portuguese
version of  the second  edition of  the Secretary-General's  "An Agenda  for
Peace",  with the new  supplement and  related United  Nations documents, as
well as  his "Agenda for Development",  are being  produced for distribution
in the Portuguese-speaking countries.

  Non-governmental  organizations  have  been  key  players  in  the  United
Nations community from the beginning, when 42 of them served as  consultants
during the  United Nations Conference  on International Organization,  which

produced the Charter.   The past few  years have witnessed an  unprecedented
growth in the number of non-governmental  organizations involved in the work
of the United Nations, and they have had  a tremendous influence in  helping
to  bring a number  of important  United Nations issues to  the forefront of
the international agenda.

  In  its  original  mandate  of  January  1946,  the  Department  was urged
actively to assist and encourage non-governmental  organizations, and it has
continued  to reach  out to  this community.    In  1968, at  United Nations
Headquarters, 204  organizations were  listed with  the NGO  Section of  the
Office of  Public Information.   Between 1990  and 1994, 244  new associates
were added, bringing the total of non-governmental organizations  accredited
to the Department of Public Information to 1,327.

  It  should  also be  pointed  out  that with  each  major  United  Nations
conference which has mobilized public interest  in issues of global concern,
a   growing   number   of   national   and   international  non-governmental
organizations have joined in the discussion  and promotion of these  issues.
For example,  1,420 non-governmental organizations  were registered for  the
United Nations Conference on Environment and  Development at Rio de  Janeiro
in 1992, and for the World Summit for  Social Development at Copenhagen over
2,400 non-governmental organizations were accredited.

  To help  promote  cooperation between  the  United  Nations and  the  non-
governmental organization  community, the  Department published  in 1994  an
expanded  annual  directory  of  the  1,327  non-governmental  organizations
associated  with   it,  which  includes   two  annexes  categorizing   these
organizations by country and  field of activity.   The 1995 version will  be
available in  May.  In addition,  in order to  facilitate its dialogue  with
its  wide non-governmental  organization  constituency, the  Department  has
recently  initiated a  weekly bulletin,  DPI/NGO Link.   An  average  of 120
representatives of  non-governmental organizations  attend weekly  briefings
on a  wide range of current  United Nations activities and issues, featuring
speakers from offices throughout the United Nations system and delegations.

  The  guided tours  operation at  Headquarters faced  serious  difficulties
throughout  1994 as  a  result of  a  variety of  restrictions  imposed  for
security reasons.   With a curtailed tour route,  which did not include  the
Security  Council Chamber, the  number of  people taking  the tour declined.
However,  at the  end  of  the year,  an agreement  was reached  between the
Department of  Public Information and the  Office of  Conference and Support
Services to  regain access to  the Security Council  Chamber as  well as the
disarmament exhibit.   Visitors  have responded  positively and  the results
have been clearly tangible, since  as of 15 March 1995 the number of  people
taking the guided tour was up by 27 per cent compared with 1994 figures. 

  However, the problem remains that visitors  are disappointed by not  being
granted  access to  the Security  Council  Chamber when  the Council  is  in
session, and this is a matter which the Department continues to pursue.   In
addition, the tour operation is restricted by a designated group size of  15
people per tour guide, which limits the efficient  use of guiding staff  and
will contribute  to a  projected deficit  of well  over $l  million for  the
current biennium.

  Staff members  with  a talent  for public  speaking were  utilized by  the
Department for group programmes, and 410  briefings on United Nations topics
were arranged for groups at Headquarters from May 1994 to March 1995 for  an
audience  of  38,000  people.    Also  there  were  37  speaking engagements
arranged away from Headquarters  to a total audience of 10,650 people.   The
subjects most frequently requested by groups  dealt with peace and  security
and  United Nations  peace-keeping, but  there  was  an increased  number of
briefings  which dealt  with social  development, particularly  with  women.
Intense public interest in the Organization has also  resulted in a total of
42,000  inquiries being processed  on the  whole spectrum  of United Nations
activities,   especially   on   peace-keeping,   peacemaking   and    social
development.  Interest in the fiftieth anniversary has also been high.

  In general, staff of  the Department of Public Information have found that
the nature of the public's questions  have become more complex, with answers
requiring considerable  research and  liaison with  substantive departments.
The  Department  has  planned  a  special  publication,  a   poster/pamphlet
entitled  "The  Charter at  Your  Fingertips", a  guide  to the  Charter  in
question-and-answer  format,  for  release  in  1995.   Also,  Model  United
Nations participants  are approaching the  Department in increasing  numbers
for information kits.

  The  Department  has continued  to co-sponsor  with United  Nations agency
partners  a  series  of  events  related  to  special  observances,  such as
International Literacy Day, Human Rights  Day and International Women's Day.
The Department is currently organizing a  special event in cooperation  with
the  United  Nations  Environment Programme  (UNEP)  and  others  for  World
Environment Day on  5 June, which will have as its special  focus "women and
the environment".

  The Department produced an exhibit, "A  New Agenda for Human Development",
in collaboration with  a number  of agencies  and programmes  in the  United
Nations  system in  1994,  which  won  an  award  for  excellence  from  the
Industrial Designers' Association in March 1995.   The exhibit was  designed
to highlight the interwoven issues before  the United Nations conferences on
population and development, social development and  women.  The structure of
the exhibit  is a double helix,  invoking the  structure of deoxyribonucleic
acid (DNA) and acting  as a metaphor for the  yet to be  discovered economic
and social  solutions that will  make possible the  implementation of a  new
agenda for human development.   The exhibit will  travel to Beijing  for the
Fourth World Conference on Women in September.

  JUNIC  held its  twentieth session  at Montreal  in  July 1994,  under the
chairmanship of  the  Director of  Information  of  UNICEF.   The  Assistant
Secretary-General for  Public Information and  the information directors  of
27 United  Nations organizations  attended the session.   The report  of the
session  was presented to  the Administrative  Committee on Coordination and
approved.

  JUNIC  members held extensive  discussions on a system-wide publication on
development  issues  that could  replace  Development  Forum,  which  ceased
publication  at the end  of 1992 owing to a  lack of sufficient funding both
from the  regular budget and from  extrabudgetary sources.   Several members
of the  Committee  supported a  proposal  to  contract a  London-based  news
service to research  and write, for  a yearly fee, at least  one article per
week  on issues flagged by the members of JUNIC.   It was suggested that the
quarterly output of articles could be  consolidated in a single  publication
for wider dissemination.
  In the  view of the Department  of Public Information,  this proposal does
not  provide a viable alternative to a system-wide  publication, nor does it
meet the  requirements of  the mandate entrusted  to the  Department by  the
General  Assembly  through  the  Committee  on  Information.    Rather,  the
Department  suggested looking  into the  possibility  of expanding  its  bi-
monthly   publication,   Development  Update,   into   a   new   system-wide
publication.  JUNIC encouraged the Department  to develop this proposal  for
a  new  publication on  development  issues in  1996,  but  also  decided to
negotiate a one-year contract with the  news service, enabling those members
of the Committee who wished to do so to participate in the cost-sharing.

  Consultations were  also held  both  at the  regular  and  at two  ad  hoc
sessions of JUNIC in  February and November 1994, on the implementation of a
system-wide  information   programme  for  the   World  Summit  for   Social
Development.    The   development  and  implementation  of  an   information
programme  for  the upcoming  Fourth  World  Conference  on  Women was  also
discussed at the regular  session and at the two ad hoc sessions,  resulting
in agreement on a  wide range of joint activities.  JUNIC also approved, and
ACC later endorsed, an addendum to the 1992 guidelines  for participation of
the United Nations  system in  international exhibits, which provide,  among
other things, guidance on practical matters  relevant to these exhibitions. 

  

  JUNIC explored ways and means of working more  effectively with the medium
of  television, exchanged  views on  the  use  of commercial  advertising in
publications issued  by United Nations  agencies and related  organizations,
considered  alternative  sources of  financing  for  JUNIC  activities,  and
discussed  holding  an  inter-agency  colloquium  on  strategies  for   more
effectively communicating global development issues.   The members of  JUNIC
discussed  several  issues   pertaining  to  the  Non-Governmental   Liaison
Service, which  is important  to the  United Nation  system at  a time  when
efforts  are  increasing   to  develop  outreach  to  the   non-governmental
organization  community.  JUNIC  held its  annual workshop  for directors of
information  of  bilateral  development agencies  and  members  of  JUNIC at
Copenhagen  in November  1994.   The  workshop  was  organized  by UNDP  and
UNICEF, in cooperation with the Danish International Development Agency.

  The  twenty-first session  of JUNIC  was scheduled  to take place  in July
1995  at UNESCO  headquarters in  Paris.   The agenda  included, among other
items,  discussion on  system-wide  information programmes  for  the  Fourth
World Conference on Women and Habitat II, a review of the JUNIC  Information
Exchange Network and follow-up activities to the World Social Summit.

  The Department has continued  to provide its  full support for UNESCO  and
its  International  Programme  for the  Development  of  Communication.   In
cooperation with  UNESCO, the  Department  of Public  Information has  begun
preparations for a seminar on independent  and pluralistic Arab media, which
will be held  in Sana'a, at  the invitation  of the Government of  Yemen, in
December  1995 or January  1996. As  in the case of  the successful regional
seminars  held previously at Windhoek  in 1991, Almaty  in 1992 and Santiago
in 1994, this seminar will provide an opportunity  to evaluate the needs and
concerns  of media practitioners  of the  region and to propose  a series of
recommendations and concrete projects.

  A draft  backgrounder on the International  Year for  Tolerance (1995) has
been prepared by the Department and  distributed to information centres  and
field  offices.    The  Department  has  responded  to  numerous   inquiries
regarding  the Year and  publicized the  joint launching of the  Year by the
Secretary-General and UNESCO's Director-General.


ANNEX III

Paper on media strategies for peace-keeping
and other field operations


  A  widespread   perception  has  developed   in  United  Nations   circles
concurrently  with the dramatic  growth in  the number  of peace-keeping and
other  field  operations in  recent years:   that  the Department  of Public
Information is responsible  for the formation and day-to-day functioning  of
the  information components of such  missions.  This  perception is far from
reality.

  While   the   Department   disseminates   information   on   peace-keeping
operations,  in all  other respects the professional  expertise and existing
infrastructure  that  already   exist  in  the  Department  remain   largely
untapped,  and the  Department's  involvement in  conceptualizing, planning,
implementing   and  coordinating   the  information   programmes  of   field
operations has  so far been  minimal.  Nor  have the Department's  expertise
and experience been used in all cases to  identify staff, both internal  and
external,  for  rapid  deployment  to  field   missions.    If  they   were,
accountability could be  ensured, thereby eliminating waste associated  with
the recruitment of transient officers.  Thus,  the Department's role as  the
focal  point and coordinating mechanism for public information activities in
the Secretariat  -long recognized  by the General  Assembly -  has not  been
activated with  regard to  peace-keeping.   In the last  year, however,  the

heads of  the Department of Peace-keeping  Operations and  the Department of
Public Information have developed closer links  in the approach to questions
relating  to public  information  activities  associated with  peace-keeping
missions.

  The growing  expectation that  the United  Nations information  activities
should help  foster better  understanding of  the purposes  of peace-keeping
and peacemaking,  correct  misperceptions,  counter hostile  propaganda  and
create  a favourable environment for  the smooth operation of  a mission has
created new  challenges in  the area  of public  information.   It has  also
given public information  programmes an essential role and responsibility in
ensuring the  success of peace-keeping and  other field  missions; hence the
need for  a coordinated  and unified  public information  strategy aimed  at
increasing public understanding and support for  the peacemaking role of the
United Nations.  In his supplement to "An  Agenda for Peace", the Secretary-
General  underlined  the  vital  role  played  by  an effective  information
capacity and the  importance of  establishing such a  capacity at the  early
planning stages of each and every field mission.

  The Department  of Public Information  disseminates information on  peace-
keeping  through the  network  of  United  Nations information  centres  and
services located  in 68 countries.   Currently, a wide  range of information
material is  prepared and produced at  Headquarters for  dissemination.  The
Department's audio-visual  services also  regularly produce  and disseminate
information   on  peace-keeping   via  its  broadcast   transcriptions,  the
Electronic Bulletin Board, and videos and films. 

  The following measures are suggested:

  (a)     It   is  necessary   that  interdepartmental   consultations   and
coordination between  the Department of  Public Information,  which acts  as
focal point  for public information activities  within the Secretariat,  and
the substantive  departments - the  Department of Peace-keeping  Operations,
the  Department of  Humanitarian  Affairs  and the  Department of  Political
Affairs -  are undertaken at the  very earliest stages  of planning for  any
field mission.  This would enable the Secretariat  to coordinate its efforts
in  the field  of information.    It would  bring together  the  substantive
input,  i.e., the message, which is the responsibility of the Departments of
Peace-keeping  Operations, Political Affairs  and Humanitarian Affairs, with
the means for dissemination, i.e., the  medium, which is the  responsibility
of the Department of Public Information;

  (b)   Early  involvement of  the  Department  of Public  Information would
ensure cost-efficiency and  avoid fragmentation of resources and  activities
in the  field of  public  information, as  well as  duplication of  efforts.
Moreover,  the implementation of the observation by the Secretary-General in
his  report on  effective planning,  budgeting and  administration of peace-
keeping operations (A/48/945)  that "when public information activities  are
specific  to a  particular operation  ... [the costs  involved] will  ... be
covered  from the  individual  peace-keeping budget  account"  requires  the
participation of the Department;

  (c)   As  soon  as signals  are  received  indicating  that  an  emergency
situation  requiring United  Nations intervention  may  arise, consultations
should  begin  on  the  expected public  information  requirements  and  the
development  of an  information  strategy.   Such consultations  should take
place  within a  standing inter-departmental  working group  on  information
strategies,  comprising  representatives  from  the  Departments  of  Peace-
keeping  Operations, Political  Affairs  and Humanitarian  Affairs  and  the
Department of Public Information, which would meet as required;  

  (d)    Coordination   between  the  departments   would  also   allow  the
preparation by the Department of Public  Information of rosters of personnel
required  to carry  out the  various  functions  associated with  the public
information activities  of a  peace-keeping or  other field  mission.   This
would save  time and  allow for  the rapid establishment  of an  information

component  at the very  start of  a mission.   These rosters  should draw on
personnel from the Secretariat, the media  and delegations of Member  States
that possess  the  relevant media  and  political  experience.   This  would
enable mission recruitment  to take place in  an organized manner and  would
ensure greater accountability and responsibility of such personnel;

  (e)  In order  to facilitate the Organization's response to the demand for
mission-related information, a  set of draft  standards should  be developed
by  the Department  of Public  Information.    These draft  standards should
serve  as a  tool for  the planning  of mission  information strategies  and
related Headquarters  activities.   Emphasis should  be placed  on the  most
cost-effective minimum  information  requirements,  in  recognition  of  the
budgetary  constraints common  to  all peace-keeping  missions.    The draft
standards  should  identify  a  basic  information  programme,  as  well  as
additional supplementary  activities that could  be carried out according to
the  mission's mandates and  requirements.  A fragmentary,  ad hoc and late-
hour conception and implementation  of peace-keeping information  programmes
has led to diminished impact, an  incoherent message and costly  information
activities purporting to serve peace-keeping operations;

  (f)  The goal of an integrated information  programme should be to enhance
the  effectiveness of  the  mission,  both in  the area  of the  mission and
internationally, by fostering  a better understanding of the United  Nations
mandate.    It  should,  therefore,  consist  of  two  parts:   an  internal
programme within the area  of the mission, and an external programme for the
international community at large, particularly  troop-contributing and donor
countries.  95-22092 (E)    280895--*9522092*Parameters for each part should
be  detailed in the programme design, programme outputs, expected functions,
personnel requirements and equipment and supplies.

  An  integrated  information  strategy  would  target  public  opinion   in
countries providing  support to  peace-keeping operations as  well as  those
hosting peace-keeping  missions.  Such an  approach would help build a solid
consensus in support of peace-keeping missions among contributing  countries
and establish a positive environment for  those missions in the countries of
deployment.  Moreover,  this  approach  would  help  avoid  duplication  and
fragmentation  of public  information programmes,  disseminate a  consistent
message on peace-keeping and achieve cost-effectiveness.


 

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Date last posted: 18 December 1999 16:30:10
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