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34th Session (2012)

General Debate: United States of America

Statement by Ms. Cherith Norman, Counselor, United States Mission to the United Nations (24 April 2012)

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

It is a pleasure to see you chairing this important committee. I also congratulate the newly elected officers of the bureau and wish them every success.

On behalf of the United States, I thank Mr. Maher Nasser, acting head of the Department of Public Information (DPI), for his remarks delivered on Monday, April 23. We are also appreciative of the service of Under Secretary General Akasaka during his tenure as head of DPI. My delegation also appreciates the detailed reports of the Secretary General on the activities of the DPI.

My delegation commends the efforts made by DPI to proactively seek innovative ways to achieve results with fewer resources.  We appreciate that in the 2012-2013 biennium budget, DPI proposed to spend about $5 million dollars less than it did in its 2010-2011 budget by introducing modern information management technologies, making wider use of the Internet and social media, and deploying online reporting and management tools, while at the same time recognizing the continuing need for traditional media in order to reach all populations with information about the critical work of the United Nations.

We continue to encourage DPI, as we do other parts of the Organization, to improve efficiency and effectiveness in achieving its mandate within the resources made available. This is especially important at a time when resources continue to be scarce.

With upcoming events such as Rio +20, we strongly encourage increased collaboration and synergies of work between DPI and the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management to further enhance the services provided by both departments and to achieve greater efficiencies.

Finally Mr. Chairman, on May 3rd we will once again commemorate World Press Freedom Day. As Secretary of State Clinton said at the commemoration last year "A free press is essential to an empowered citizenry, government accountability and responsible economic development. Wherever independent media are under threat, accountable governance and human freedom are undermined."

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ affirmation is more relevant today in our global digitized age than it was six decades ago "everyone has the right to freedom of expression... this  right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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