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29th Session (2007)

General Debate: United States of America

Statement by Mr. by LeRoy G. Potts, Jr., Adviser, Permanent Mission of the United States of America to the United Nations (1 May 2007)

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

On behalf of the United States we would like to welcome Under-Secretary-General Akasaka to the United Nations. We congratulate him on his appointment and we look forward to working with him and his office.

The United States also congratulates the new chair of the Committee on Information, Mr. Ruedi Christen and the other members of the bureau on their election. We look forward to working with all members of this committee.

We welcome the Under-Secretary-General’s efforts to date to meet with member states to discuss the role of the Department of Public Information. We encourage the Under-Secretary-General to take a “fresh look” at Department of Public Information activities and to focus on core activities, improve coordination, efficiency, and integration throughout the entire UN system.

We have arrived at an important time for this Committee with the recent arrival of a new Secretary-General, Under-Secretary-General for DPI, and new leadership on the committee. The COI must produce a meaningful roadmap for DPI if it is to be relevant. Committee members in cooperation with the committee’s leadership and the Under-Secretary-General should take a hard look at the committee’s work product to see if it adds value to the Department of Public Information.

In addition, we hope that DPI will consult with member states when developing a strategic communication plan for the organization. Member states are stakeholders in DPI and therefore a partnership must exist if we are to further strengthen DPI activities.

The United States supports the Department of Public Information’s efforts to rationalize UN information centers and we hope that Under-Secretary-General Akasaka will link the United Nations Information Centres regionalization process with a system wide evaluation of all UN offices worldwide. We would like to see the UN continue efforts to house all UN system country offices under one roof and with one central public information unit

In closing, Mr. Chairman, we note with some irony that some countries with the most oppressive regimes complain the loudest about freedom of speech and of expression. This committee must not adopt an agenda that undermines the work of DPI or erodes the basic tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United States would again like to extend its warm wishes to Under-Secretary-General Akasaka and thank him and his staff for their hard work.

Thank you.

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