34th Session (2012)
General Debate: Russian Federation
Statement by Mr. Igor D. Evdokimov, Representative of the Russian Federation (25 April 2012)
Dear Mr. President,
On behalf of the Russian delegation I would like to welcome you and the members of the Bureau and to thank you for the effective organization of the Committee's work. We are grateful to the recently retired Under-Secretary-General for Information and Communications Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka for his successful and effective management of the Department for the past five years. Much has been done: the consolidation of information resources has been secured, a policy has been developed to ensure proper coverage of the United Nations activities in all areas. We hope that the new Under-Secretary-General of the Organization will ensure due continuity of such work.
Last year, during the 33rd session of our Committee, we welcomed the new directors in the Department. We are pleased that the recommendations, which we made to them then, were heard and are already being implemented in practice.
The excellent visual presentation of the DPI's work and the informative exchange of views that took place in the course of the interactive dialogue between the Department and the national delegations deserve special words of thanks.
The year of 2011 was an important period to stipulate the results attained in the course of the recent reform of the entire information system of the United Nations. The Department of Public Information correctly identifies its communication priorities, develops realistic annual plans within the existing resources. The current financial situation induces certain capacity constraints. In such circumstances, the maximum use should be made of the available resources — a better coordination between all agencies of the UN system should be ensured, so that they speak in one voice, and their media campaigns do not overlap but rather complement each other. Another task of the Department of Public Information is to make the language spoken by the Organization not only unified, but also understandable and clear to all audiences.
Reliable agents of the United Nations on the ground are the Information Centers. It is they who adapt the UN communication signals to regional and country realities. We call for strengthening the coordinating role of the centers and are pleased to note the high level of professional work in the post-Soviet area of the UNIC in Moscow that is actively involved in promoting the recent practice of horizontal communication between the regional Information Centers.
The operational practice of DPI traditionally includes the coverage of those issues that are common for the whole humanity and are high on the UN agenda. Among those are the problems of xenophobia, racial and religious intolerance. We welcome the ongoing information work of the DPI in this regard. As an active participant and co-organizer of many events held by the Department on World War II and the Holocaust, we believe that work should be aimed not only at preserving the historical memory of those tragic events, but also on the propaganda of unacceptability of the modern forms of Nazism, the manifestations of which in some countries only not repressed, but rather encouraged at the state level. This cannot be tolerated!
Meetings of the Committee on Information are traditionally held on the eve of one of the most important dates in modern history — the Day of Victory over fascism — the victory that allowed the creation of our Organization. Crimes of the Nazis and their accomplices have no time of limitations, thus we believe that the DPI should pay more attention to this subject in its outreach activity. For us, it is important that the educational work of the Department of Public Information, which actively involves various groups of civil society, do not dilute the results of World War II, and the memory not only of the victims of Nazism, but also of the glorious soldiers-liberators is duly maintained.
The specialized outreach programs of the Department aimed at highlighting important world events are commendable. This year, due attention is paid to the coverage of the upcoming "Rio +20" summit — the world's largest forum on climate change.
DPI's efforts to promote UN activities among young people should be noted. The Model United Nations, whose implementation in our country began in 2000 with the participation of the United Nations Association of Russia, won wide support. Russian students are traditionally proactive participants in the Global Model UN. The quality of their participation in the Model is proven for example by the fact that a student from Russia was elected Secretary-General of the Global Model United Nations in 2011. The regular National Model United Nations was held this year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) from 9 to 13 April. UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon sent his greetings to participants in the Russian Model UN. A large number of students from Russian universities each year come to New York to learn about the work of the global organization. We are grateful to the DPI for the assistance in arranging meetings of students with the UN Secretariat, and the traditionally warm welcome that our students receive here.
The Academic Impact global initiative launched less than two years ago has already gained universal recognition. It brings together numerous universities around the globe in search of answers to many pressing questions of our time. The initiative has become a reliable mechanism for bilateral mutually beneficial relationship between the world organization and the academic community, consisting of highly experienced scientists, teachers and young researchers and students.
I would like to particularly mention the scientific and practical seminar organized by the Academic Impact on 12 April — the International Day of Human Space Flight. This forum gathered at the UN headquarters the leadership of the Russian and U.S. space agencies, cosmonauts, scientists, researchers, writers, and most importantly — high-school and university students to discuss the opportunities offered by space exploration to the people of the Earth. It is noteworthy that the use of modern technology (live webcast was provided), students from around the world were able to participate in the event. For example, in Moscow, two-way online broadcast was organized at the Press Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. That enabled students of Moscow universities not only to follow the debate, but to participating in it, too. We believe that such good practice could be used in conducting similar DPI activities. Even more so that it fits into DPI's strategy to expand the use of new media tools.
In general we welcome the use of modern means of information distribution, based on the world-wide-web platform: YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. There is a clear tendency to attract continuously growing, mostly young, audience. This ensures a good link between generations. The statistical information contained in the DPI reports indicates that.
As before, we believe that effective dissemination of information about the UN requires a balanced approach to the use of both new and traditional media. We welcome the work of the DPI aimed at the development of the TV and radio broadcast. We take note of the Department's steps to further modernize the United Nations radio and television.
Worth mentioning is the productive and high-quality work conducted by the Russian Language Unit of the UN Radio, which broadcasts in Russian to Moscow, the Moscow Region and Saint Petersburg through the "World Radio Network." We welcome its continued constructive engagement with Russia's largest radio station "Voice of Russia" and other partners.
The News Center is an important source of official information in Russian about the activities of the UN. It is encouraging that the frequency of quotation of the Centre in mass media is constantly growing. Thanks to the masterful work of the GA Fifth Committee during its autumn session, a fixed P-3 post has been provided to the News Center in the Russian language for its uninterrupted work. We believe that this is an important step towards strong language parity in the information activity of the United Nations.
We note with satisfaction the significant progress in the implementation of multilingualism of the United Nations website, which at the same time has gained in terms of informative content and attractiveness of its design. Much is being done in this direction with regard to Internet portals of other organizations within the UN structure.
We welcome the increased efforts of the Department to take stock of and to digitize the unique photo and video archives of the Organization.
We believe that the initiative to hold Days of the UN official languages is worth further development. Such events attract attention of many. Last November, marking the Russian Language Day, we celebrated the 300th anniversary of Mikhail Lomonosov, a great Russian scientist and scholar, by organizing a presentation and an exhibition of his works. We hope that the work of DPI in this direction will be maintained and supplied by necessary resources.
We commend the efforts of the DPI to develop partnerships with non-governmental/non-profit organizations. Regular briefings held in the UN Headquarters are informative, and the annual DPI/NGO Conference is a valuable opportunity for associated non-governmental organizations to broaden their contacts and raise awareness about the work of both the UN and partner organizations in other parts of the world.
As before, I would like to assure you that our delegation is ready for constructive cooperation with you, members of the Bureau, the Member States of the Committee and the entire staff of the DPI in the interests of improving the informational activity of the United Nations.