United Nations

A/51/314


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

29 August 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/314
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Item 98 of the provisional agenda*

*    A/51/150.


        SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC COOPERATION

     Communication for development programmes in the United Nations system

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   The present report is submitted to the General Assembly in
response to resolution 50/130 of 20 December 1995, adopted on the
basis of the report of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) entitled
"Communication for development programmes in the United Nations
system" (A/50/126-E/1995/20, annex) and the comments of the
Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) on that report
(A/50/126/Add.1-E/1995/20/Add.1, annex).

2.   The General Assembly, having considered the recommendations
contained in the JIU report and the ACC comments thereon, by its
resolution 50/130, inter alia, recognized the important role of
communication for development programmes in the United Nations system
in enhancing the transparency of system-wide coordination, in
particular for the development of developing countries; encouraged the
relevant organizations, agencies, funds and programmes of the United
Nations system to use informal mechanisms such as round-table
conferences, to improve communication for development programmes in
the system; emphasized the need for the relevant organizations,
agencies, funds and programmes to develop a systematic approach to
capacity-building in the development of communication capacities,
especially in the developing countries; invited the relevant
organizations and agencies of the United Nations system, as well as
Governments and the regional commissions, to consider identifying
focal points for the purpose of facilitating dialogue in the exchange
of information on communication on issues related to development so as to
strengthen coordination and international cooperation in this area; recognized
the role of effective communication in disseminating the outcome and
follow-up of major United Nations conferences and in ensuring the flow
of such information to non-governmental organizations; and invited the
Committee on Information, in accordance with its mandate, to consider
this question at its forthcoming session.  The General Assembly
requested the Secretary-General, in consultation with the
Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in accordance with that agency's
mandate in the field of communication, to report to the Assembly at
its fifty-first session on the implementation of resolution 50/130.

3.   The present report has been prepared on the basis of information
and contributions provided by concerned organizations, agencies,
funds, programmes and regional commissions on their past, current and
planned activities in the area of communication for development
programmes, as well as on arrangements for cooperation and
coordination of these activities with other organizations of the
system.


II.  OVERVIEW OF THE COORDINATION ARRANGEMENTS AND ACTIVITIES
     OF ORGANIZATIONS AND AGENCIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS     
     SYSTEM IN THE FIELD OF COMMUNICATION FOR DEVELOPMENT    
     PROGRAMMES                                              


4.   The organizations and agencies of the United Nations system
welcomed General Assembly resolution 50/130 as a positive step towards
a greater recognition within the United Nations family of the
importance of communication for development.  They have indicated
that, in general, their activities and coordination arrangements in
the area of communication for development are very much in line with
the thrust of the resolution, as well as the recommendations contained
in the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on the subject.


A.  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
    Organization                                       

5.   The consideration of the JIU report and the ACC comments thereon
by the General Assembly at its fiftieth session has served to further
clarify the concept of communication as a management function for
development policies in general, humanitarian assistance and
peace-building programmes, as well as for all major activities of the
United Nations system.  The activities of UNESCO in particular, as the
agency with principal responsibility for the communication area within
the United Nations system, concentrate on the consideration of
communication as a conceptual notion per se and require therefore an
autonomous approach.  The specificity and the potential of
communication as a dynamic two-way process involving active popular
participation make it an indispensable element for all development
programmes, where dispensers and beneficiaries of technical assistance
become main actors working towards the success of development projects
and activities. 

6.   During its one hundred forty-sixth session, the Executive Board of
UNESCO expressed its support of the conclusions and recommendations
contained in the JIU report, particularly those related to public
information and communication functions, coordination between
communication operations at Headquarters and in the field, the
participation of the beneficiaries of development and two-way
communication strategies.

7.   The activities of UNESCO in the area under consideration are, to a
great extent, defined by the functioning within the agency of the
International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC),
established in 1980, and are guided by its Intergovernmental Council. 
The mandate of the Council includes, inter alia, planning and
implementing the International Programme; reviewing and assessing
achievements and defining the basic areas requiring increased
international cooperation; reviewing ways and means for more effective
participation of member States in IPDC; and managing the issues of
financing the implementation of the Programme. 

8.   The main objectives of IPDC, as laid down by the UNESCO General
Conference at its twenty-first session, in 1980, are:

     (a) To assist the developing countries, at their request, in the
elaboration and implementation of their information and communication
development plans, as well as in the identification of needs and
priority areas;

     (b) To promote in developing countries the creation or extension
of infrastructures for the different communication sectors in order to
increase their production of endogenous programmes and to promote
improved international exchange of information;

     (c) To carry out an analysis of technical and financial needs and
resources in the fields of information and communication at the
national and international levels;

     (d) To provide consultative and advisory services to developing
countries in the field of communication development;

     (e) To ensure better coordination among the countries interested
in the development of communication;

     (f) To promote viable regional institutional arrangements for
assistance to the Programme in pursuing its objectives;

     (g) To obtain public and private funds to support communication
development projects;

     (h) To support, particularly among developing countries, the
conclusion of arrangements on the exchange of information, and on
cooperation and co-production between media organizations and
journalists' associations;

     (i) To take measures to promote the awareness of all parties
concerned (be they developing countries, non-governmental
organizations or other public or private bodies active in this field),
of the important role that communication plays in the development
process, thus contributing to mobilizing the technical and financial
resources needed for pursuing the goals and objectives of the
Programme.

9.   Since its establishment in 1980, the Intergovernmental Council of
IPDC has approved 569 projects funded with almost $30 million from the
special account.  During its sixteenth session, in January 1996, the
Council decided to give priority, in its future activities, to
regional and subregional projects, and reaffirmed its support of
projects aiming, in particular at improving the quality of
communication for development; promoting freedom of the press,
pluralism and independence of the media; promoting democracy and human
rights; supporting activities for broader participation of women in
the media; and developing community media etc.  The Council decided to
dedicate the next thematic debate, at its seventeenth session, in
1997, to the questions of the role, crisis and problems of the media
in societies in transition and the role of freedom of the press and
independence of the media in democracy.

10.  At its 1996 session, the Council approved the amount of
$2.3 million from the special account for the financing of 47
interregional, regional and national projects.  The funds of the
special account consist of voluntary contributions of member States.

11.  One of the major activities of UNESCO for the near future that
falls within the context of the recommendations contained in the JIU
report, as well as of the provisions of General Assembly resolution
50/130, will be the sixth Inter-Agency Round Table on Communication
for Development, to be held at Harare, from 2 to 5 September 1996.  It
will focus on a specific country's development requirements,
priorities, modalities, experiences and perspectives and seek to apply
to the country situation and needs the combined experience of several
agencies in the field of communication for development.  The Round
Table is expected to examine and discuss communication development
projects that are managed at the national level by both public and
private sectors, as well as by any of the specialized agencies of the
United Nations system.  The projects should include those that aim to
catalyse development in any sector or combination thereof
(agricultural development and food production, health, environment,
education, population issues, children etc.) that use print, radio,
television or traditional media, and that seek to catalyse changes at
the grass-roots level, among people themselves, so that development
takes root at the very heart of society.  UNESCO is of the view that
the benefits accruing from such a round table, as well as patterns of
other cooperative experiences, will point the way to further
inter-agency cooperation and open up possibilities for a broader
pooling of agency resources, including financial support from the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and donor agencies and
countries.  The lessons learned and the methodology used in carrying
out this Round Table could be applied region-wide to countries of
similar socio-economic and cultural background, and eventually to
other regions of the world.  The results of the Harare Round Table
will be brought to the attention of the General Assembly by UNESCO at
the time of the consideration of the present report.


                        B.  United Nations Secretariat

12.  The activities of the Department of Public Information of the
United Nations Secretariat, as the focal point for the public
information tasks of the United Nations, are guided by the Committee
on Information, in accordance with its General Assembly mandate. 
Among the core issues before the Committee on Information, since its
inception in 1979, have been the strengthening of the communication
capabilities of developing countries and the improvement of their
communication technology and information infrastructure, particularly
through training and information dissemination programmes.  These
issues, as highlighted also by General Assembly resolution 50/130,
were specifically addressed in the two resolutions on questions
relating to information, entitled "Information in the service of
humanity" and "United Nations public information policies and
activities", adopted by the Committee during its eighteenth session,
in May 1996.

13.  Also at its May 1996 session, the Committee on Information renewed
its support for the continuation of the Department of Public
Information/UNESCO-sponsored regional seminars on promoting
pluralistic and independent media.  Since 1991, four such seminars
have been organized, namely, for the African media (Windhoek, 1991);
for the Asian media (Alma-Ata, 1992); for the Latin American and
Caribbean media (Santiago, Chile, 1994); and for the Arab media
(Sana'a, 1996).  The seminars were organized with the financial
support of UNDP and involved other organizations and agencies of the
United Nations system, as well as Governments, intergovernmental and
non-governmental organizations, and national development agencies. 
The next regional seminar for the European media will be organized by
the Department, in close cooperation with UNESCO, in 1997.

14.  Another area of the Department's activities of continuing
importance is its training programme for broadcasters and journalists
from developing countries, established by the General Assembly in
1980, to supplement national, regional and international training
possibilities.  The programme has since provided young journalists
from developing countries with an opportunity to gain professional
experience in covering the work of the General Assembly.  During a
period of six weeks, participants receive in-service training in
public information activities, undertake professional work
assignments, visit major media organizations and serve as United
Nations correspondents covering meetings and events on behalf of their
home media organizations.  The Department's modest ability to increase
the annual number of participants from all developing countries has
been met, on many occasions, with the financial support of
non-governmental organizations.

15.  The Department of Public Information has played a pivotal role in
the promotion of the recent cycle of major United Nations conferences
on development issues and their follow-up.  For these purposes, the
Department has developed communication strategies and multimedia
information programmes.  Promotion materials on the outcome of each
conference have been produced and distributed worldwide, primarily to
media and non-governmental organizations.  The issues related to the
conferences and their follow-up continue to be included in the
Department's ongoing information products, such as radio and
television programmes and print products, and are being promoted by
the United Nations information centres functioning in 68 countries
throughout the world.  In order to develop and coordinate joint
information activities for promoting follow-up to the conferences,
special inter-agency task forces have been created by the Department. 
During 1996, these task forces met to coordinate joint information
activities on poverty, women and human settlements as a follow-up to
the World Summit for Social Development, the Fourth World Conference
on Women and the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements
(Habitat II).  It is also planned that, in 1997, a task force will
meet on information activities relating to the five-year review of
progress made since the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development.  In its capacity as the secretariat of the Joint United
Nations Information Committee (JUNIC), the Department ensures that the
information activities in follow-up to the conferences are reported to
and discussed by JUNIC at its annual meetings.

16.  The activities of the Department for Policy Coordination and
Sustainable Development in the area of communication for development
have the objectives of strengthening the role of the United Nations as
a forum for debate and consensus building in the economic and social
areas and increasing awareness of the work of the Organization.  They
are mostly in the area of support to intergovernmental processes.  The
main constituencies targeted are the representatives of Member States
at Headquarters and in the capitals, as well as non-governmental
organizations as representatives of civil society.  The Department is
selecting and combining communication channels so as to maximize its
reach to those audiences.  Thus, its main products include a
comprehensive on-line public-access site on the Internet, paper-based
newsletters and publications, lectures, presentations and
demonstrations.

17.  The Department's Web site is designed to meet the information
needs of delegations and participants:  it is providing advanced
information and texts of the parliamentary documentation of the
economic and social bodies, and numerous links to other national and
international sources of information.  To reach those with no
high-level Internet services like the Web, the Department maintains a
gopher site with a comprehensive record of the proceedings of major
conferences and other forums, and is in the process of developing an
electronic document delivery service that will allow subscribers to
receive automatically through e-mail electronic copies of documents as
they are released.  Furthermore, the information is systematically
redisseminated through the networks of the members of the Association
for Progressive Communication, which permits reaching the areas of
Africa and Latin America where Internet is not yet widespread.  There
are currently half a million requests a year for the information
posted by the Department.

18.  The Department publishes eight newsletters on its main programme
areas, such as sustainable development, women and social development,
with a combined target readership of 30,000, primarily government
officials and non-governmental organizations.  Other activities
include servicing the intergovernmental bodies to improve access to
United Nations information; participating in the formulation of
secretariat policies and strategies for electronic dissemination of
information on the promotion of and follow-up to major international
conferences and events, and on publications; and organizing numerous
outreach events in conjunction with the main intergovernmental
meetings it services.  The Department is closely collaborating with
the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other partners in
the development of common or compatible electronic stores of
information to track the progress in sustainable development.

19.  Among other activities of the United Nations in the area of
communication for development is the global dissemination by the
Department for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis of
a wide range of development data and information in a variety of
formats from print to CD-ROMs.  The most notable area of activity is
the Population Information Network (POPIN).  During the past two
years, the Coordinating Unit of POPIN located in the Population
Division of the Department, has used the Internet to vastly expand the
potential audience for population information and to rapidly,
effectively and inexpensively disseminate information worldwide. 
Building on this success, POPIN is continuing to promote and
facilitate the use of new information technologies to provide greater
international access to regional and national population information. 
A major emphasis is put on capacity-building to enable the collection,
analysis and dissemination of information by all countries and
regions.  POPIN thus serves as a communication structure for improving
the interaction among the various actors in the population dimension
of development.


                    C.  United Nations funds and programmes

20.  The United Nations Development Programme took the initiative in
forging a new approach to communication for development when it
adopted the New Corporate Communication and Advocacy Strategy in July
1995.  This Strategy provides, inter alia, for UNDP to work closely
with the Joint United Nations Information Committee at Headquarters
and for the resident representatives/resident coordinators to play an
enhanced role in communication at the country level.  Through the role
of the resident representative as the resident coordinator, UNDP, with
the support of United Nations information centres where they are
present, leads the system-wide effort at the country level to promote
developmental and humanitarian programmes.

21.  In spite of financial constraints, UNDP has placed additional
emphasis on and allocated resources to communication, advocacy and
information that address and interface with audiences in programme
countries.  Each of the 135 country offices is in the process of
appointing an officer to be responsible for public affairs.  The job
description in each case emphasizes communication with benefiting
communities, grass-roots organizations and local non-governmental
organizations, as well as with national and foreign media and other
partners.  To give substance to the focus of the Advocacy Strategy at
the country level, a series of training seminars is taking place in
each region, attended by resident representatives, their deputies,
national public affairs officers, and representatives of United
Nations Information Centres, non-governmental organizations, the media
and other development allies as participants or as resource persons.

22.  At UNDP Headquarters, the Division of Public Affairs has been
restructured in line with the New Corporate Communication and Advocacy
Strategy, which resulted in gearing staff responsibilities more
closely to supporting country offices in serving local audiences and
constituencies.

23.  In addition to traditional publishing, information and media
relations, the weekly "Flash!" is produced as a medium to link UNDP
internally throughout the world, as well as for the purpose of
communicating with other agencies, non-governmental organizations,
Governments and partners.  Web home pages, databases, e-mail and other
technological innovations are constantly being developed to multiply
communication opportunities.

24.  In December 1995, an initiative was jointly sponsored by the
leaders of UNDP and the Department of Public Information aimed at
strengthening  collaboration between the Programme and the Department
and overcoming common public information challenges.  As a follow-up
activity to this initiative, a new UNDP/Department of Public
Information working group on United Nations Information Centres and
public information matters has been established, which meets once a
month.  The working group was found to be a practical mechanism for
reviewing common challenges that confront the integrated United
Nations Information Centre offices, as well as specific country or
regional situations that require special attention.

25.  Within the secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Trade
and Development (UNCTAD), the Policy Coordination and External
Relations Service is the focal point for communication with regard to
the organization's development activities.  It ensures a wide
dissemination of information on activities at the intergovernmental
level, as well as on activities carried out by the secretariat in
conjunction with technical cooperation for development.  The Service
publishes a quarterly, entitled UNCTAD Bulletin, which includes the
above information, as well as information leaflets and handbooks on
the work of the organization.  UNCTAD also produces a guide on
technical cooperation programmes entitled "Meeting the developing
challenge".

26.  Information on the activities of UNCTAD in the area of assistance
to developing countries is made available to the media, as well as to
the public at large, through its press releases and notes to
correspondents.  A number of specific technical cooperation projects,
such as TRAINNAR, Trade Efficiency, TRAINFORTRADE, Ports Development,
Insurance, Debt Monitoring and others, have their own information
bulletins and leaflets containing updated reports on the type of
activities undertaken.  In addition, the UNCTAD Web site contains
information on specific projects and recent developments at both the
secretariat and intergovernmental levels.

27.  The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has consistently given
prominence to the role of communication and social mobilization in its
development programmes.  The Fund was a founding member of the
Inter-Agency Round Table on Communication for Development and
continues to actively participate in its deliberations.  It has also
developed several capacity-building projects in the area of
communication for the benefit of developing countries, often with
special donor funding.  In order to improve and facilitate
inter-agency cooperation in this field within the United Nations
system, UNICEF has proposed to JUNIC the establishment of a
subcommittee on communication for development, which, in its view,
could become an appropriate forum for detailed follow-up to General
Assembly resolution 50/130.

28.  The United Nations Environment Programme has initiated and
maintained a number of activities to facilitate environmental data and
information exchange for decision makers throughout the world.  The
main mechanisms for carrying out these activities are, in particular,
INFOTERRA, Environment and Natural Resources Information Networking
(ENRIN), the Global Resource Information Database (GRID) and UNEPNet.

29.  INFOTERRA, the Global Environmental Information Exchange Network,
is operating through 171 government-designated national focal points;
a network of 8,000 sources of information, including national and
international institutions, non-governmental organizations, industrial
and commercial enterprises, academic institutions and experts; 34
special sectoral sources, and 10 regional service centres.  INFOTERRA
processes more than 50,000 queries per year.

30.  The Environment and Natural Resources Information Networking is a
programme instituted to promote the development of national and
subregional capacities in data and database management to support
environmental assessments and reporting in institutions of developing
countries and countries with economies in transition.  The programme
is operational in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Eastern Europe and
Latin America and the Caribbean.

31.  The Global Resource Information Database, a decentralized network
of centres, is providing and analysing geographic data sets, focusing
on environmental and natural resources issues.  Currently, there are
11 GRID centres worldwide, which have the ability, expertise,
technology and mandate to prepare, analyse and present data and
information about the Earth's resources as the basis for reliable
environmental assessments.

32.  UNEPNet is an integrated and open information system linking all
UNEP information resources (INFOTERRA, GRID, International Register of
Potentially Toxic Chemicals, United Nations Information Centres,
Library etc. and UNEP national focal points).  The system includes
connection to the world at large through operational Internet, as well
as World Wide Web connections through the MERCURE satellite system.

33.  UNEP has no field representation and therefore has no informal
communication mechanisms at the country level.  Nevertheless, through
its system of regional offices for Europe, Africa, Asia and the
Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and West Asia,
it provides a continuous base for informal consultations and
cooperation with other organizations and agencies of the United
Nations system in the respective regions.  UNEP has assigned the
Assistant Executive Director for Environmental Information and
Assessment to serve as the focal point for facilitating dialogue in
the exchange of information on communication issues related to
development.

34.  In April 1995, UNEP and UNDP signed an agreement regarding
environmental information dissemination.  The memorandum of
understanding between the two organizations was designed to link, at
the national level, the UNEP INFOTERRA network and the UNDP
Sustainable Development Network Programme, enabling both networks to
better deliver and exchange environmental information.  The agreement
will help to ensure cost-effective and efficient use of the limited
United Nations funds and will enhance coordination.  It will also
enable UNEP and UNDP to collaborate and share information systems and
data, as well as to launch joint information projects in several
countries (Cameroon, Nicaragua, Pakistan and Tunisia).


                           D.  Regional commissions

35.  Recognizing the importance of communication for the coordination
of United Nations activities at the regional level, the regional
commissions have developed a number of activities aimed at fostering
better communication with their member States, international
organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic and business
communities, as well as the media.

36.  The Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) has established close
cooperation in the area of communication for development with such
intergovernmental organizations of the region as the European Union,
the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Organisation
for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Council of Europe, as
well as with subregional economic groupings.  The ECE work on trade
facilitation enables great savings on paperless trade for the wide
range of its actual and potential users within and outside the ECE
region.  To develop appropriate software, the Commission participates
in the work of the European Board for Electronic Data Interchange
(EDI) standardization.  The training of experts in the implementation
of Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and
Transport (EDIFACT) standards has also been pursued.  A generic
software tool for implementation of EDIFACT has been developed to
cover the transition period until commercial software is available.

37.  Electronic information exchange is used for the exchange,
collection, dissemination and monitoring of statistical data and
assistance to national statistical offices.  The ECE has developed the
generic statistical message (GESMES), allowing the exchanging parties
to minimize the size of files transmitted through communication
networks.  At present, the Commission is developing tools and
applications enabling the use of GESMES by international and national
statistical offices.  Some of the results of the ECE work, in
particular the Economic Survey for Europe, is available on the
Internet, and is open for access by the local missions of member
Governments.

38.  To cover a wide range of public information activities, the
Commission is applying a multifold approach through regular briefings
to its constituencies, some of which are available on the ECE home
page on the Internet; press releases, which are sent to the Department
of Public Information Bulletin Board and distributed also through the
Internet; electronic data exchange etc.  A list of Internet addresses
of major media contacts is currently being established.  Round table
discussions are being organized on a regular basis in conjunction with
the work of ECE intergovernmental meetings.  Thus, for instance, the
Round Table on Sustainable Industrial Development, held during the
fifty-first session of the Commission in April 1996, gathered the
chief executive officers of major international companies and has
resulted in proposals concerning further strengthening of interaction
with the business community.

39.  ECE is continually updating the study on the telecommunication
industry, entitled Growth and Structural Change, which was initially
published in 1987.  The Commission has been cooperating closely with
the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Europe Telecom 92
(Budapest), Asia Telecom 93 (Singapore), Africa Telecom 94 (Cairo) and
Telecom 95 (Geneva).

40.  The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
(ECLAC) has elaborated a work plan in the area, which foresees the
inclusion of information and communication technologies in the
activities of the Commission as an important means to make known
within the ECLAC region its diverse programmes and activities.  To
bring the product elaborated within this plan to users, the home page
of ECLAC has been created.  Progress in the accomplishment of the work
plan will lead to concentrating on the coordination of the management
of information resources of the Committee on Management of
Information, the chairman of which will serve as the focal point of
ECLAC in the area of communication for development.


          E.  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

41.  The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO),
being a pioneer in the field of communication for development, whose
experience in rural communication has been recognized system-wide, has
over the years applied a series of innovative methodologies for the
information, motivation and training of rural populations.  They
include, inter alia, participatory rural radio, video for farmer
training, and the use of traditional media for changing attitudes and
behaviour.  At present, it is addressing the appropriate use of new
information technologies to support research, extension, communication
and training activities to promote sustainable development. 
Recognizing that communication is an essential ingredient for
sustainable development, related activities are now being implemented
in the Research, Extension and Training Division of the Sustainable
Development Department, while previously they were carried out by the
Information Division.  This confirms the substantive, technical nature
of communication for development, which has as its objectives
increasing people's participation and sharing of knowledge and skills,
separate and distinct from public information activities.  Within this
new institutional framework, the unit responsible for communication
for development activities provides communication support to all the
substantive programmes of FAO.  It emphases building up national
capacity in communication for development and provides policy advice,
technical assistance and training to member countries through field
programmes.  It also covers contacts at the inter-agency level.

42.  The need for coordination of policies and exchange of experiences
has been met by FAO through an informal network consisting of
development communication specialists from United Nations agencies,
non-governmental organizations, universities and the private sector,
who meet at the round-table conferences sponsored on a rotating basis
by the participating institutions.  The previous round table was
organized by the Worldview International Foundation in Thailand in
January 1995.  The next one will be convened by UNESCO in September
1996.  FAO fully supports the recommendation contained in the JIU
report that funding agencies such as the World Bank and UNDP should
participate in the round-table conferences on a more regular basis.    
  

            F.  United Nations Industrial Development Organization

43.  To provide wider access to information on its programmes and
activities, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization
(UNIDO) has set up a home page on the Internet, which has resulted in
more efficient and effective dissemination of substantive information
to Member States and other interested parties.  UNIDO has also
developed a systematic approach to providing training to end-users,
such as the Industrial and Technological Information Bank, national
focal points and the investment business community, information
specialists, research and development staff and others, on the use of
the Internet as a source of industry-related and business information
at the regional level.

44.  The training programmes are designed with capacity-building and
the multiplier effect in mind and are implemented in close cooperation
with UNESCO.  So far, training programmes have been held in Moscow
(May 1995) - for the Commonwealth of Independent States; Prague
(September 1995) - for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe;
Santa Fe de Bogota (September 1995) - for Latin American countries;
and Pretoria (February 1996) - for some African countries.  This
approach will be extended to other regions in cooperation with the
relevant regional commissions.  To facilitate dialogue in the exchange
of information on communication regarding issues related to
development, UNIDO has supported the initiative of ITU in launching an
inter-agency project on universal access to basic communication and
information services.


                     III.  CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

45.  The foregoing review of system-wide activities and coordination
arrangements in the area of communication for development clearly
indicates that the programmes and funds of the United Nations system
have paid considerable attention to this key dimension of success in
development programmes.  A variety of pragmatic and working
arrangements has been devised for cooperation and coordination among
various parts of the system in this field.  The most notable among
these is the mechanism of inter-agency round tables, such as the one
being organized by UNESCO in Zimbabwe.  In addition, there are
bilateral arrangements such as those between UNEP and UNDP to
establish linkages between their information networks on environment
and sustainable development.  System-wide inter-agency mechanisms are
also in place to promote coordination, including, most notably, the
Joint United Nations Information Committee.

46.  At the country level, the resident coordinator system as well as
JUNIC field arrangements provide readily available mechanisms for
promoting the integration of communication in development programmes
and projects.  However, as the JIU report on the subject (A/50/126)
and the ACC comments on it (A/50/126/Add.1) suggest, a number of
lacunae and gaps still remain.  Some of the steps that could be taken
to address them are outlined below: 

     Recommendation 1.  The system needs to develop a common working
definition and understanding of communication for development at the
country level.  This could be facilitated by the resident coordinator
system in close collaboration with JUNIC arrangements in the field and
should take fully into account the results of the round tables on
communication and development.  Such a common working definition
should provide a basis for defining more clearly the goals, processes
and technologies that need to be pursued and shared among the
concerned United Nations agencies and other development partners, with
a view to maximizing the impact of development programmes at all
levels.

     Recommendation 2.  The mechanism of informal round tables on
communication for development should be used more systematically with
the full participation of the international financial institutions at
the country level.  The experience gained on both substantive and
methodological aspects should be disseminated more widely within and
among regions, with a view to enhancing the application of
communications as an essential tool for development.

     Recommendation 3.  Organizations of the United Nations system
should assist Governments in carrying out careful analysis and
assessment of the impact of new and appropriate technologies on and
innovative methods for communication for development, with a view to
developing sound application of such technologies and methods. 
Coordinated support and assistance for such analysis and assessment
should be provided under the auspices of ACC through appropriate
inter-agency mechanisms such as the ad hoc task forces for the
follow-up to major United Nations conferences.  The results achieved
and experience gained should be brought to the attention of ACC and,
through it to relevant intergovernmental bodies, as appropriate.

     Recommendation 4.  Resource mobilization remains an important
objective for capacity-building in the area of communication for
development programmes.  This should be pursued as an integral
component of the mobilization of resources for development programmes
in general, as well as for humanitarian activities.

     Recommendation 5.  With respect to coordination at the
Headquarters level, inter-agency mechanisms established for the
coordination of programmes and operational activities, as well as for
the follow-up to United Nations  conferences, should incorporate the
communication dimension in their efforts to coordinate the work of the
United Nations system.  This would involve the Consultative Committee
on Programme and Operational Questions, the Inter-Agency Committee on
Sustainable Development, the Inter-Agency Meeting on Women, their
subsidiary bodies, JUNIC, the Information Systems Coordination
Committee, as well as the inter-agency task forces established for the
coordinated follow-up to major United Nations conferences.


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Date last posted: 28 December 1999 17:35:10
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