STATEMENT BY BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. MARARI RAJ SHARMA,
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF NEPAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS,
AT THE GENERAL DEBATE
OF THE UN COMMITEE ON INFORMATION
DURING ITS 26TH SESSION
28 APRIL 2004
I am delighted to see two very close friends and South Asians (PR of Bangladesh and USG) at the podium of this important Committee. I congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your assumption of chairmanship of the Committee for the second year and assure you of my delegation's full support in achieving the objectives of our meeting.
Let me also appreciate Mr. Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communication and Information, who provided us with comprehensive update of the activities carried out by his Department during the past year.
My delegation welcomes the 3 new members - St. Vincent and Grenadine, Surinam and Switzerland - who have joined this Committee.
My delegation associates itself with the statement made by Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and would like to speak on some issues of our particular interest.
Nepal attaches high priority to the work of the Committee on Information and supports its efforts to promote the establishment of a new, more just and more effective world information and communication order. The Committee should work, as stipulated by the General Assembly, to strengthen peace and international understanding through free circulation and wider and better-balanced dissemination of information.
This Committee has proved to be critical in helping the DPI reshape its structure and priorities, which need to constantly adapt to the changing needs for information and demands from member states. In this context, we see the imperative for continued reform and strengthening of the DPI.
Nepal believes the work of the DPI is very important for all of us and for all its other clients. In an environment where bad news often edges out the good one, it is the responsibility of the DPI to put everything the United Nations does in perspective, help build a new world information and communication order, and nurture constituencies for sustained support of the world body.
There are too many challenges before the United Nations and too little resources to meet them. The United Nations has to implement the Millennium Declaration and help resolve disputes, prevent conflicts, foster economic growth, reduce poverty, enhance social progress, safeguard human rights, provide humanitarian assistance, and build respect for the global rule of law. This is a tough call for an organization that has finite, sometimes even declining, resources at its disposal.
The United Nations has made remarkable contributions in all areas of its priority. It has been the principal vehicle to galvanize support and resources and take collective action to promote the common objectives of humanity. It deserves our appreciation for the good work that it has been doing in various areas of our common concerns. At the same time, like all human endeavors, the United Nations is not perfect and its resources are not unlimited. It has made mistakes and has failed the people of the world many times.
Often, the good work the United Nations does get very little or no media attention and goes unreported. But its failures instantly hit the headlines in the media, giving a general impression to ordinary people that the United Nations has nothing much to contribute and is a useless organization.
It is the responsibility of the DPI to project the correct image of the United Nations to the world. No doubt, the DPI has to constantly undertake reforms and improve its efficiency and productivity, including through greater system-wide coordination, institutionalization of performance management and a new-client oriented approach, to get the job done.
It is good that the DPI has identified 24 clients and prepared several strategies to reach out. We also welcome the recommendation of the Office of Internal Oversight Services that all field offices should produce their annual work plans. We believe that the efforts of the DPI for protecting the Organization's image, speaking with one voice, getting the message out, increasing utilization, of online information will contribute significantly to further improve the performance of the Department.
Nepal urges the DPI to focus on further reinforcing partnerships with governments as well as on building bridges with civil society and non-governmental organizations. The Department should give priority to building information capacity in developing countries, particularly the least developed ones.
We note that the proposed strategic framework for the period 2006-2007 covers four areas: strategic communication services, news services, library services, and outreach services. The areas generally cover the entire spectrum that it should embrace. The DPI will be well advised, in its work, to give special focus on the priority issues of the organization, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and to reach out to global audiences.
The efforts of the DPI to improve services of UN libraries and its depository libraries are appreciable. So are the training programs for the librarians of UN depository libraries to enhance their capacity for information management and development of the knowledge sharing system.
We welcome the proposal for observing the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations with the highlights of the achievements of the organization over six decades.
My delegation would like to thank the ITSD Mission Support Desk for the assistance they provide to permanent missions and request them to continue such assistance, both hardware and other services in the future as well.
Nepal generally supports the Secretary-General's proposal on the rationalization of the network of United Nations Information Centres (UNICs) with a view to further strengthening and enhancing effectiveness in providing UN information on time, easily and accurately. We emphasize that the resources released from the rationalization and regionalization of the UNICs in developed countries should be deployed for strengthening UNICs in developing countries. In view of economic vulnerability and handicap, and special circumstances, least developed countries should be accorded high priority in the allocation of resources.
We strongly hold the view that the presence of UNICs carries tremendous symbolic value and enormous practical utility at the national level. Therefore, the existing UNICs should not be closed down without proper assessment of specific needs and conditions of each center. Any change without consultation with the host countries will send a wrong signal to the people of those countries.***