BENEFITS OF CONTINUING REORIENTATION OF UN INFORMATION DEPARTMENT FOCUS, AS COMMITTEE ON INFORMATION MEETS AT HEADQUARTERS, 26 APRIL – 7 MAY

22 April 2004
PI/1572

BENEFITS OF CONTINUING REORIENTATION OF UN INFORMATION DEPARTMENT FOCUS, AS COMMITTEE ON INFORMATION MEETS AT HEADQUARTERS, 26 APRIL – 7 MAY

22/04/2004
Press ReleasePI/1572

Background Release                                         

BENEFITS OF CONTINUING REORIENTATION OF UN INFORMATION DEPARTMENT FOCUS,

AS COMMITTEE ON INFORMATION MEETS AT HEADQUARTERS, 26 APRIL – 7 MAY

The twenty-sixth session of the Committee on Information, the intergovernmental body tasked with reviewing progress in the field of United Nations public information, will open its annual session on Monday, 26 April, with consideration of a Report of the Secretary-General highlighting the tangible benefits of the continuing reorientation of the Department of Public Information (DPI).

Following the implementation of the Secretary-General’s 2002 reform proposals, a broad-based restructuring of the Department has now been implemented, the Secretary-General states in his annual report on United Nations public information and communications activities.  “Bringing the United Nations closer to the people” has been the driving force behind the Department’s efforts to revitalize public confidence in the Organization.

In a year fraught with new communications challenges, the DPI, working strategically, and not just tactically, has been able to communicate not only the Organization’s immediate, but also its long-term, goals, the Secretary-General notes.  A new client-oriented focus, greater system-wide coordination and a culture of evaluation are at the heart of the Department’s new strategic direction. 

Established by the General Assembly in 1978, the Committee, which makes recommendations on the Department’s policies and activities, will also be focusing on progress achieved as a result of DPI’s continuing reorientation.  An important element of the reorientation is the development of an annual impact review process, which has allowed programme managers to identify performance indicators and collect baseline data on the effectiveness of the Department’s products and activities. By the end of 2003, the Department had formulated some 170 performance indicators to comprehensively assess all its activities over the next two years.  Over 30 performance indicators are designed to help link DPI’s products and activities more precisely to the needs of target audiences through user feedback.

Among the other issues to be discussed during the session is the rationalization of United Nations information centres around regional hubs.  By closing the nine information centres in Western Europe at the end of 2003 and simultaneously establishing a new Regional United Nations Information Centre (or RUNIC) in Brussels on 1 January 2004, the Department has implemented the first step of the Secretary-General’s proposal.  Given the current budgetary climate, and if the Department’s field presence is to be effective, there is no option but to rationalize the network of information centres around regional hubs, the Secretary-General notes in his report on the matter.  The Committee will be considering the regionalization process as it moves forward in the developing world.

When the Committee begins its annual two-week session, it will have before it several reports of the Secretary-General, including reports on the rationalization of the network of United Nations information centres, the modernization and integrated management of United Nations libraries and an in-depth review of library activities, the activities of the United Nations Communications Group, and a report on better publicizing the work and decisions of the General Assembly.  The Secretary-General’s report on the continuing reorientation of DPI will serve as the basis for the Committee’s deliberations.

Also this year, the Committee will be considering the Department’s proposed strategic framework for the period 2006-2007.  This biennial programme plan for public information replaces the four-year medium-term plan in keeping with efforts to ensure a fully results-oriented Organization.  Through the strategic framework, which outlines the objectives of each of the Department’s four subprogrammes, as well as the expected accomplishments, indicators of achievement and strategies to execute the objectives, the Department seeks to promote global awareness and enhanced understanding of the Organization’s diverse functions.

This year’s observance of World Press Freedom Day, which will be a highlight of the session, will be held on Monday morning, 3 May.  The commemoration will feature an address by Secretary-General Kofi Annan and will include a panel discussion on the topic, “Reporting and Under-reporting:  Who Decides?”.

Report Summaries

The report on the reorientation of United Nations activities in the field of public information and communications (document A/AC.198/2004/2) details steps taken between March 2003 and February 2004 in the continuing reorientation to enhance public information and bring the United Nations “closer to the people”.  The Department has a new mission statement, organizational structure and operating model.  At the heart of the Department’s new strategic approach lie three points of reference, namely, a new client-oriented focus, greater system-wide coordination, and embedding a culture of evaluation into the Department’s work.

A new element in the Department’s operating model, the report notes, is the introduction of the concept of Secretariat departments as “clients”, which identify their own priorities, and the Department as “service provider”, working along clear guidelines provided by the departments.  The newly created Strategic Communications Division leads the client consultation process.  Great strides have been made in bringing the client planning process from concept to reality.  Since the introduction of the “client-oriented” focus in November 2002, the Department has established formal working arrangements with some 24 clients.

The Department has also strengthened its efforts to bring the members of the United Nations system within a common communications framework, the report says.  The United Nations Communications Group, created by DPI in 2002 and also chaired by the Department, has emerged as a strong communications platform by providing, among other things, general policy advice on public information matters of public interest.  System-wide coordination extends well beyond United Nations Headquarters.  The heads of United Nations information centres have become full-fledged members of the United Nations country team in developing countries and in countries with economies in transition.

An important element in the Department’s continuing reorientation is the rationalization of the network of United Nations information centres around regional hubs, starting with the creation of a Western European hub, the report states.  Following consultations with Member States that are members of the European Union, the Department has implemented the first step of the Secretary-General’s proposal by closing the nine United Nations information centres in Western Europe on 31 December 2003 and simultaneously establishing a new Regional United Nations Information Centre in Brussels, which began operating on 1 January 2004.

The Department has also developed an annual programme impact review to systematically evaluate its products and activities, the report states.  The continuing promotion and refinement of a culture of evaluation and performance management is now an integral part of the Department’s reorientation.  To institutionalize that culture, DPI has successfully provided staff training to ensure the necessary analytical expertise for reliable data collection on programmed activities.

As an initial step in the three-year project between the Department and the Office of Internal Oversight Services, the first annual programme impact review was successfully completed in January 2004, the report continues.  The impact review employs a results-based framework, incorporating self-evaluation in the daily work of programme managers.  The initial steps of the review have consisted of establishing baseline data to track future performance.  In the first implementation phase, from February to July 2003, programme managers identified departmental and divisional goals based on the Department’s mission statement.  In the second phase, from September to November 2003, workshops were held with staff to draft performance indicators for the review.  By the end of the January session of the annual programme impact review, programme managers had collected baseline data on two thirds of the indicators.

Regarding new communications challenges, the report notes that, over the past year, the war in Iraq and the subsequent developments, including the attack against the United Nations office in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, posed twin challenges for DPI.  While, on the one hand, it had to explain the United Nations role in post-war Iraq and its future direction, on the other, it had to convince the world at large that there were other critical areas that needed equal, if not more, attention.

Concerning the crisis in Iraq, virtually all parts of the Department were involved in ensuring full and timely coverage of the many Iraq-related issues and activities with which the Organization was concerned, the report says.  The issue had a deep impact, much of it adverse, on the Organization’s image around the world.  The primary thrust of the Department’s efforts focused on the development and dissemination of a coherent, coordinated and timely United Nations system response to the issue as it evolved.  An Inter-Agency Task Force on Iraq, convened and chaired by the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, met regularly throughout the first part of 2003 to forge a common public information strategy on Iraq.  An essential element in the coordinated communications strategy on Iraq was the development of regular guidance for senior officials.

The Department, in cooperation with partners and client departments, continues to help shape the public debate on the goals and priorities of the Organization through targeted outreach to media and other key actors, the report states.  With the Strategic Communications Division in the lead, the Department has carried out issue-specific communications campaigns and promoted international conferences at which the issues are considered.  The Department continues to address the needs of the African continent as a priority issue, and it has also made concerted efforts to reach out to the public and to the media in the Arab world.  An important innovation has been the designation of a focal point for Arab media.

The Department’s support for peacekeeping has focused on helping to lay the ground for effective deployment of public information components in new missions, including the development of their communications strategies and alignment of their work with strategic goals.  The Department has fielded staff for three integrated assessment missions to help to formulate recommendations for new or expanding peacekeeping operations, and supported a fourth.  Most recently, the Department has turned attention to building a strategy to publicize new peacekeeping activities, particularly in Africa.

The online United Nations News Centre, which has been available in all the official languages since September 2003, has continued to reach a wider global audience, the report states.  Visits to the United Nations News Centre English web site rose from some 705,945 in December 2002 to over 4.4 million in December 2003, well exceeding the target of 1.4 million visits by the end of the 2002-2003 biennium.

The growth of United Nations radio and television services has been equally successful, the report states.  Nearly 140 radio stations in 75 countries, with an estimated audience of over 130 million, broadcast United Nations Radio programmes in six official languages and Portuguese on a daily or weekly basis.  As for television services, some 90 television stations in 40 countries, with an estimated audience reach of 1 billion, are now taking United Nations programming.

The Department’s efforts to provide better and faster media services have been widely recognized, the report says.  In a survey on the usefulness of press releases, 11 delegations -– chosen for their demographic diversity -– expressed satisfaction with the service, including its timeliness.  Between 70 and 78 per cent of releases are issued within two hours of the end of the meeting covered, which exceeds the target of 65 per cent.

Regarding the United Nations web site, the report continues, the increasing use of the Department’s online information products, especially the United Nations News Centre, mirrors a significant overall growth in visits to the site.  Hits have grown from some 1.6 billion in 2002 to over 2.1 billion in 2003, exceeding the target by over 100 million.  In 2003, substantial increases in visits to the language sites have been recorded, including some 126 per cent for Arabic, 792 per cent for Chinese, and 173 per cent for Russian.  The implementation of the new search engine in all languages is making it easier to locate materials.  Special measures are being implemented for users with disabilities.

The reorientation and restructuring of the Department has helped the Organization to move closer to achieving a key goal of the Secretary-General’s reform proposals, namely, enhancing public information, the report concludes.  A clearer conception of the Department’s role and a more coherent elaboration of its functions have been established.  Working strategically, and not just tactically, the Department has been able to emphasize not only the immediate, but also the Organization’s long-term goals.  With its activities aligned with its overall priorities, a more effective client consultation mechanism in place, and a system-wide coordination that involves people and organizations at all levels, the Department is now equipped to achieve its mandate.

The Secretary-General’s report on the rationalization of the network of United Nations information centres (document A/AC.198/2004/3) provides details on the progress made regarding implementation of the regionalization initiative in Western Europe and in other high-cost developed countries, and sets out the proposed strategy and modalities for implementing the initiative in other regions.  Regionalization will enable the Department to strengthen the flow and exchange of information on the United Nations in developing countries, within the resources allocated by the Assembly.  A flexible regionalization process is proposed, and the Committee’s views will be taken into account in the continuing process, in meeting the Secretary-General’s time frame over a three-year period that began in 2003.

Even though the information centres account for a large proportion of the overall budget of the Department, many are thinly staffed and poorly resourced.  With successive zero-growth budgets and targeted cuts occurring at the same time as a significant expansion in the activities of the Organization, some centres are struggling to make a significant contribution.  If the Department’s field presence is to be effective in the current budgetary climate, there is no option but to rationalize the network of information centres around regional hubs.

The Department closed the nine information centres in Western Europe on 31 December 2003 and, on 1 January 2004, established a regional United Nations information centre in Brussels.  The United Nations information services in Geneva and Vienna, which support the United Nations Offices in those cities, were not affected.  Under the terms of the agreement concluded between the United Nations and Belgium, the Government provides rent-free premises to the Centre and an annual cash contribution of $50,000 for the next four years for the translation of information materials into local languages.

Regarding other developed countries, the Department has successfully negotiated an agreement with Australia to relocate the information centre in Sydney to rent-free premises in Canberra, which would release funds for programme activities in the Pacific region, which includes seven developing countries.  In view of Japan’s role in international affairs, including as a major donor, and the support it gives to the information centre in Tokyo, in the amount of an annual contribution of $200,000 for outreach activities, the Department sees no advantage in changing the current arrangements there.

The information centre in Washington, D.C. serves a broad constituency in the United States, including the Congress, the media, non-governmental organizations and the general public, and the Secretariat considers the liaison work it undertakes in the host country of United Nations Headquarters to be vital. Therefore, the Secretary-General intends to pursue economies in other ways, notably through a reduction in rented office space.

The Department maintains information centres in the capitals of four countries with economies in transition -- Bucharest, Moscow, Prague and Warsaw.  The information centre in Moscow is well established and is a natural candidate to become a regional centre.  After consultations with the Governments concerned, the Department expects to make proposals regarding the future of the other three sites, as well as the information centre in Ankara.  Any decision on the future of those centres will take into account their host countries’ progress towards the process of accession to the European Union, as well as the status of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) offices in each country.

The digital divide, especially the lack of connectivity, makes it all the more difficult to overcome the transportation and communications barriers that exist in much of the developing world.  Therefore, the Secretary-General proposes in developing countries, wherever possible, to maintain a physical presence in each country to supplement the outreach capacity of any regional hub that may be established.

The Department will use the three posts at the D-1 level released as a result of the establishment of the regional hub in Brussels, to strengthen the capacity of the information centres in three cities that are regional media hubs  -- one each in Africa, the Middle East and Arab region, and Latin America and the Caribbean -- where there are currently no D-1 posts.  This will contribute to a more balanced global distribution of the Department’s senior posts.  The Department recognizes that there are significant differences among regions and that, as a result, no single model can be successfully applied to all regions of the world.  It intends to tailor the regionalization concept to the diverse geographic and cultural characteristics of each region.  The report offers preliminary proposals for the possible locations of regional centres. 

Annex I of the report provides information on United Nations information centres and United Nations houses; annex II sets out the guidelines and criteria for regionalization of United Nations information centres; and annex III contains details on fulfilling the information mandate in developing countries.

The report of the Secretary-General on modernization and integrated management of United Nations libraries and in-depth review of library activities (document A/AC.198/2004/4) states that, with the opportunities arising from the information revolution, as well as the new perspectives stemming from the incorporation of the Headquarters library, now called the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, into DPI in 1993, the Library’s external outreach has taken on increased importance.  Today, the Library is moving in the direction of a virtual library, while not neglecting the printed materials required by its users.  It serves a primary clientele consisting of missions and Secretariat staff, but is reaching out increasingly to civil society, particularly through its web sites and its services to depository libraries.  It is also striving to become more multilingual in its outputs, within the limits of its resources.

The Library’s new mission statement is:  to create and/or provide timely and up-to-date information products and services, to meet the needs of delegates, Secretariat staff and researchers; to facilitate access to United Nations information for depository libraries and the general public worldwide; to contribute to “bridging the digital divide”; to mobilize the international library community, in particular depository libraries, as conduits of outreach to civil society; and to oversee and coordinate the activities of United Nations libraries.  Other United Nations libraries, including those of the regional commissions and the United Nations Office at Geveva Library, have also been moving in the direction of increased electronic access, as well as public outreach, within their capacity.

To make United Nations documents and publications available throughout the world, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library oversees a worldwide network of depository libraries, some 408 in 144 countries, as at 30 June 2002.  The libraries are expected to maintain the material in good order and to make it accessible to the public, free of charge, at reasonable hours.  While the traditional role of the Dag Hammarskjöld Library in relation to those libraries was mainly administrative, in recent years, the Library has also come to see depository libraries as an important link to civil society, providing the opportunity for outreach to ordinary people in Member States, as well as a vehicle for bridging the digital divide.

The reference services at United Nations information centres provide direct information support to information centre staff, as well as access to United Nations documentation and information products for the public at their respective locations.  A three-way relationship exists between the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, the United Nations information centres and depository libraries.  The Library offers technical backstopping to information centres through its small and field libraries programme.  The information centres, for their part, have traditionally been the strongest partners of the Library in assisting and monitoring the depository libraries in their areas.  Depository libraries with extensive retrospective collections have served as back-up facilities for clientele of the information centres with limited collections.

The activities of the three should be continued and strengthened, states the report.  While a number of information centres have active ongoing relationships with depository libraries in their home cities, the practice needs to be institutionalized worldwide.  The joint organization of exhibits and symposiums, for example, would enlarge the target audiences for such events.  Mutual training opportunities could also be exploited, as information centre reference assistants have more day-to-day practical knowledge of United Nations documentation and campaigns, while depository library staff are more likely to be trained librarians with extensive professional knowledge.  Mutual access to online databases must be encouraged.

Within the framework of closer cooperation between the information centres and depository libraries, the feasibility of transferring large United Nations collections from information centre libraries to nearby depository libraries will be examined and pursued.  In other cases, information centres located at United Nations houses and other common premises will seek to establish a unified United Nations reference service for their area.  In the context of the regionalization of the network of information centres in Western Europe, the collections of the nine information centres that were closed on 31 December 2003 have been transferred to other United Nations and non-United Nations entities.

As part of the further regionalization of the network of United Nations information centres in developing countries, the Department will explore ways to strengthen the library and resource centres in the proposed regional information centres, while retaining those resources at the offices of the resident coordinators in the other capitals.  To this end, the Department will explore with the United Nations Development Group the possibility of a cost-sharing mechanism that would enable it to maintain its reference services in developing countries, where vast segments of the population are not benefiting from the present information and technological revolution.

Despite the achievements of individual libraries, it was found that the United Nations libraries have been operating independently, with limited coordination or common direction.  Costly modernization efforts have been undertaken by each library acting alone.  Given the advantages that the Internet and other communication technologies provide, opportunities now exist to create greater synergy and greater integration among United Nations libraries to render more effective service to their diverse clients.  Closer coordination is required among the libraries so they might share knowledge more effectively among themselves, promote knowledge-sharing within the Secretariat at large, provide better library services to delegates and staff, enhance multilingualism, achieve greater outreach to the general public, and contribute to bridging the digital divide in Member States.

The report states that cooperation between Headquarters and the field, as well as among the libraries at the various duty stations, could be improved.  Areas of further collaboration could include the participation of regional commission libraries that are capable of doing so in indexing and digitization activities, and the collaborative development of multilingual web sites.  To achieve greater collaboration among the Organization’s libraries, facilitate their continuing modernization and implement new and more efficient ways of providing library services, the relationships among the libraries needed to be more clearly defined and a structural mechanism put in place.

A Steering Committee on the Modernization and Integrated Management of United Nations Libraries was formed in January 2003 and is chaired by the Director, Outreach Division, DPI.  The Committee, which includes representatives of libraries from all major duty stations, has held four meetings and has embarked on an ambitious work programme.  It will continue to meet quarterly during 2004, mainly by videoconference, while the subcommittees will continue to communicate through e-mail and documentation posted on a common Intranet site.  During 2004, it is expected that, among other things, the United Nations libraries’ web sites will be fully operational and gaps in documents on the Official Document System (ODS) from 1993 to the present will be filled.

To serve library users more effectively, however, the member libraries and the Steering Committee itself need to make certain efforts for which current funding is insufficient.  These include a modest increase in print acquisitions; a substantial increase in access to commercial online services; the acquisition of software to permit the generation of automatic electronic alerts from a variety of databases; and holding regional training courses for depository librarians, videoconferences and annual meetings of the Steering Committee.  The objective is to move further in the direction of a virtual library network, with resources that can be shared across duty stations, while not neglecting the print resources required by local users.

Another Secretary-General’s report (document A/AC.198/2004/5) covers the activities of the United Nations Communications Group from March 2003 to February 2004.  Formed in January 2002 at the initiative of DPI, the Group has emerged as a strong unifying platform for dealing with common communications challenges facing the United Nations.  Its activities in 2003 included an annual meeting in New York, regular meetings at United Nations Headquarters, implementation of communications strategies for the World Summit on the Information Society and the International Year of Freshwater 2003, and several ongoing programmes.

By bringing together United Nations communicators for regular brainstorming and strategic planning, the Group has helped to build sustained cooperation among communications offices within the United Nations system, resulting in communications efforts which are more focused, better harmonized and with more clearly defined target audiences.  More importantly, it has given the United Nations a tool with which to speak in a common voice on issues of common concern.

The Group held its second annual session at Headquarters on 23 and 24 June 2003 under the chairmanship of the Director of Communications, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  The session provided a forum for a broad and all-encompassing discussion on information strategies to be adopted and tools to be used for their implementation in the evolving political and media environment.  With the crisis in Iraq as a backdrop, the Group discussed the role and effectiveness of the United Nations and considered options for meaningful and effective public information campaigns at a time of declining credibility for the Organization and growing uncertainty about its future role in the embattled region.

The Group identified several elements that it considered vital in formulating any future public information campaigns and noted, among other things, that while, outwardly, the Iraq crisis might have dealt the United Nations a blow, the process is not over yet and the United Nations remains the principal multilateral voice.  Also, United Nations communicators should remind the world of the role that Member States play within the framework of the multilateral Organization and the responsibility they bear for actions they take or do not take.  While United Nations communicators cannot replace the Governments making decisions, they can influence the climate in which the decisions are made. 

In addition, at a time of declining support for the Organization, United Nations communicators must speak in a common language and tell the United Nations story in the most effective manner, by working through strategic partnerships and information-sharing.  The United Nations Communications Group is a key platform through which that common voice should be developed.

In discussing lessons learned from recent public information campaigns, the Group agreed that active use of United Nations field experts, including local and national staff members, should be encouraged.  Local staff should be trained and prepared for media outreach.  The launch of major United Nations reports should be considered as opportunities for engaging with the media on the issues involved.  Statistical information, such as that offered by periodic reports on the Millennium Development Goals, should be used to tell the United Nations story.  The Group also agreed that every effort must be made to maximize the use of the Internet as a tool for communications within the system and for channelling information to the outside world.

The Group also addressed the Millennium Development Goals, making better use of United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors, and global surveys as tools for communications.  It was decided that the Group’s next annual session would be held in Nairobi, on 24-25 June 2004, under the joint auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and chaired by the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.

The Secretary-General’s report on better publicizing the work and decisions of the General Assembly (document A/AC.198/2004/6) describes the Department’s current activities in that regard and presents recommendations for developing a communications strategy to publicize them further.  At present, the Department undertakes both coverage of the daily news generated by Assembly meetings and activities that promote the major issues on the United Nations agenda.  Many of the promotional activities relate directly to the Assembly’s agenda, for example, financing for development, HIV/AIDS, and small islands, issues for which special promotional and media outreach campaigns are undertaken. 

The Department’s activities augment the work of the Spokesperson for the President of the Assembly, who is the first point of contact between the media and the Assembly, the report says.  The Spokesperson, who has traditionally been a staff member of the Department, is responsible for giving the Assembly President communications advice and implementing a media strategy. 

The Department’s many news services provide constant coverage in print, radio, television, photo and on the web site of the Assembly throughout its session, says the report.  The Meetings Coverage Section provides written summary-style coverage of the Assembly and its subsidiary organs.  Press releases on all open meetings are issued in English and French, in print and on the Internet.  Press releases also include background information issued in advance of meetings and highlights at the conclusion of the various sessions.  To broaden their reach and audience, press releases are posted on the Internet and are also sent by e-mail to 83 United Nations field offices.  During the past year, 1,222 Assembly documents and 413 Assembly press releases were disseminated to those outlets.

The report notes that should a formal communications strategy be developed to better publicize the Assembly’s work and decisions, the questions of staffing, web site and relations with the media would have to be addressed.

Listing recommendations under the issue of staffing, the report notes that it would be beneficial if the decision on a Spokesperson could be made by the new President soon after his/her election, some three months before the opening of the Assembly, allowing the new Spokesperson at the beginning of August to observe the current Spokesperson.  A partial solution to the problem of the Spokesperson having to “reinvent the wheel” each year would be to have an assistant allocated to that office on a permanent basis.  To ensure continuity of the President’s web site, day-to-day updating of the site should be carried out by core staff of the President’s office, in close cooperation with the Website Section.  Recommendations for the President’s relations with the media include placing op-ed articles in global media and holding regular press conferences with the United Nations press corps.

The Department, the report concludes, is already taking a great number of activities to promote and publicize the Assembly’s work.  A closer working relationship between the Office of the Assembly President and the Department, as well as between the Spokesperson for the President and the Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, could help position those activities more strategically.

A note by the Secretary-General setting out the proposed strategic framework for period 2006-2007 for DPI (document A/AC.198/2994/7) provides an overall orientation and covers the four subprogrammes, namely, strategic communication services, news services, library services and outreach services.  Through its strategic framework, the Department seeks to promote global awareness and enhanced understanding of the Organization’s diverse functions.  Using the Millennium Declaration as its guide, the Department will focus on the Organization’s priority issues, including the eradication of poverty, conflict prevention, sustainable development, human rights, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, combating terrorism , and the needs of Africa.  A major challenge for the Department in implementing the programme is to effectively build bridges to make the relevance of the United Nations work resonate in the lives and daily concerns of people everywhere.

The proposed strategic framework contains the objectives, expected accomplishments, indicators of achievement and strategies for each of the four subprogrammes.  The objective of strategic communication services, for example, is to broaden the understanding of and support for the United Nations work on priority thematic issues.  Expected accomplishments include increased media coverage of thematic priority issues and enhanced quality of outreach efforts in the field.  Indicators of achievement include increase in the number of stories picked up by targeted media and increase in the percentage of clients expressing satisfaction with media coverage. 

The objective will be accomplished by giving a more strategic focus to the Department’s activities and the information centres.  Priority issues and activities of substantive departments will be identified through a new client planning process and will form the basis of communication plans.  These plans will identify key messages tailored to specific target audiences, which will be reached using the most appropriate tools.

Committee Officers

Chairman:  Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury (Bangladesh);·Vice-Chairpersons:  Larbi Djacta (Algeria), Sebastião Filipe Coelho Ferreira (Portugal), and Marius Ioan Dragolea (Romania).  Rapporteur:  Janice Miller (Jamaica).

Committee Membership

The Committee on Information consists of 102 member States:  Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, and Kazakhstan.

Also, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Switzerland, Syria, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

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For information media. Not an official record.