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26th Session (2004)

General Debate: Ukraine

Statement by Mr. Yuriy Khomenko, Representative of Ukraine (27 April 2004)

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, my delegation would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor for providing an update on the activities of the Department of Public Information (DPI) at the beginning of this session and valuable interactive dialogue initiated by the Department between DPI and the members of this Committee. I would also like to express our sincere appreciation for the hard work of all DPI staff which led to achieving a considerable progress in reforming UN activities in the field of public information.

Ukrainian delegation would also like to pay tribute to Madam Therese Gastaut, the Director of DPI's Strategic Communication Division and the Secretary of this Committee and Ms. Phyllis Dickstein, the Head Librarian of the Dag Hammarskjold Library, and thank them for valuable contribution to the work at the Committee and DPI, and wish them well for their retirement.

We welcome the DPI's new mission statement, its new structure and operating model and support the Department's efforts to focus on the effectiveness of program activities and re-setting its priorities in order to meet the needs of the "clients".

In the context of the reorientation of UN activities in the field of public information and communications, the Ukrainian delegation would like to commend the Department for its continuing efforts to update the United Nations web site in line with principle of equality of all six official languages and make it more informative, functional and visually attractive. One of the successful examples in this regard is the redesigned UN News Centre, which serves as an excellent source of news on the latest developments around the United Nations system, as well as a gateway to a wide array of links to in-depth resources related to news of the day.

There are differences of opinion on the UN's website. At the same time we are pleased to see that DPI does its best within limited resources in its disposal to enhance the website in all official languages of the Organization.

The e-mail news service is also a welcome addition and is certainly a feature that can help journalists, researchers, the public at large and a variety of other audiences to get quick and easy access to the latest news from and about the United Nations. In this regard we support the Department's efforts towards the establishment of an e-mail news service in all official languages to back up the six UN news services already in operation, which could be viewed as an important step towards bridging the digital divide and helping to bring the latest news about the UN to the public in the countries where the Internet is not yet widely available.

We support efforts of the Secretary-General and the Department of Public Information to achieve a more modern, highly integrated, and efficient system of library services within the United Nations. Collaborative reference services, supported by cooperative collection development and resource sharing, will insure immediate electronic access to the wealth of global information resources to be used in the development of all knowledge-sharing initiatives of the Organization.

On the issue of the work of the UN Information centres, my delegation would like to emphasize their importance in maintaining direct contacts between the UN and local communities. We have to note that the information component of the UNDP Office in Ukraine is effective both in terms of presentation a unified image of the UN and enhancement of information activities in major areas of the Organization's work.

On the integration of the UN information centers with field offices of UNDP, particularly in countries with economies in transition, we are ready to support such integration, in order to achieve closer coordination and effectiveness in their activities, and to save funds by using shared resources.

We also support the view that the information centers should be provided with sufficient resources, especially in those countries where the local mass media are less developed.

Mr. Chairman,

Ukrainian delegation would like to underline the important role of DPI in consolidating peacekeeping and peace building efforts. In this connection Ukraine supports the Department's strategy to publicize new peacekeeping activities, particularly in Africa. We also welcome the efforts undertaken by DPI aimed at commemorating the International Day of UN Peacekeepers and updating the peacekeeping website.

We believe that DPI will continue to play a central role in drawing the attention of the international community to issues of global concern such as the problem of terrorism, conflict prevention, sustainable development, AIDS, environment, including the problem of Chornobyl.

Today we mark the 18th anniversary of the explosion of a nuclear reactor at the Chornobyl power plant, but the recovery assistance is no less needed than 18 years ago. That is why we believe that the reformed DPI should continue its activities to provide the objective information on the dimension of the Chornobyl disaster for the sake of present and future generations.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to express our special gratitude to DPI, all permanent missions to the UN for their assistance in organizing a series of events at the UN headquarters, in particular "Chornobyl bazaar", devoted to the eighteenth anniversary of the Chornobyl accident.

I would also like to announce a special screening of this year's Academy Award-winning Best Documentary Short "Chornobyl Heart", which will be held tonight 6:00 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall. We are pleased to invite all delegations to this screening organized by the United Nations, together with the governments of the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine, in association with HBO/CINEMAX Documentary Films.

In conclusion, we understand that realistically all DPI's goals of improving its activities cannot be achieved overnight, and the Department should be given sufficient time and resources to implement its plans. I would like to pledge Ukraine's support for the Department's efforts and my delegation looks forward to cooperating with all members of this Committee.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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