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34th Session (2012)

General Debate: Brazil

Statement by H. E. Ambassador Regina Maria Cordeiro Dunlop, Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations (24 April 2012)

Mr. Chairman,

The Delegation of Brazil would like to congratulate you, Ambassador Eduardo Ulibarri, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica, as well as all the members of the Bureau for their dedicated work before the Committee on Information. I would also like to congratulate the new members of the Bureau on their election and wish you all successful results during this ongoing session.

We thank the Secretary-General for his reports to the Committee. We particularly thank former Under-Secretary-General Akasaka for his tireless and committed work at the head of the Department of Public Information.

Brazil fully associates itself with the statements made by Algeria on behalf of the G-77 and China as well as by Chile on behalf of the Community of Latin-American and Caribbean States, and wishes to add the following comments in its national capacity.

Mr. Chairman,

Twenty years ago, when world leaders, representatives of civil society and many other public figures gathered in Rio to discuss future directions for achieving sustainable development on a global scale, the world was much less connected than it is now. Today, with the advance of traditional and modern means of communication, and taking into account the outstanding support of the DPI, we are confident that the international community will be able to further learn about the importance of the upcoming Rio+20 Conference for the well-being of present and future generations. In this respect, we welcome DPI’s initiative to convene a global meeting of its information centre directors in Rio de Janeiro last november aiming at engaging all UNICs in the communication efforts for Rio+20.

We all know that it is essential to have the UN message spread out in as many languages as possible. Therefore, the activities of DPI and the United Nations as a whole must take into account the linguistic diversity of peoples everywhere. In doing so, the DPI will also be contributing to improve the accountability of the UN programs and activities. Despite the limited human and financial resources available, Brazil would like to commend once more the efforts undertaken in this regard by the Portuguese Unit of UN Radio. Let me stress that this unit of UN Radio reaches as many listeners than most of the the other units that broadcast in the Organization’s official languages.

Mr. Chairman,

My Delegation supports the use of modern technology as a way to spread information. In this regard, Brazil believes in the need to reduce the digital divide between developed and developing countries. We remain strongly convinced of the importance of promoting synergies between traditional and new media. In many countries, modern technology is still scarce and traditional means of communication remain as the most effective tool to spread the message of the UN.

The role of traditional and new media was highlighted during the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and of the earthquake and the tsunamis that hit Japan in 2011. The use of traditional and new media has also been decisive to put into practice the strategies of the global campaign on information and publicity of the Rio +20 Conference.   This mutually reinforcing combination of media should also be used to address pressing issues of our day, such as the promotion of sustainable development, poverty eradication, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, loss of biodiversity, the impacts of desertification and climate change.

Mr. Chairman,

Brazil attaches great importance to the United Nations Information Centers all over the world. United Nations Information Centers were the first ever field presence of the United Nations in member States and remain an essential element of the public information activities of the Organization, especially in developing countries. In that regard, we call on the DPI and Member States to continue to work together in exploring new ways to ensure the necessary support and further strengthening of the network of information centers, services and components of the UN.

I would like to express Brazil’s continued support to the work of the United Nations Information Center in Rio de Janeiro, which has tirelessly served as the voice of the United Nations in Brazil for almost seven decades. In collaboration with universities and government bodies, NGOs and the media, UNIC Rio has been helping to educate and increase the awareness of the Brazilian public about the fundamental role of the United Nations in promoting multilateral solutions to the challenges faced by the international community. We welcome, in particular, several events and initiatives promoted by UNIC Rio recently, such as the Seminar on Disarmament, Arms Control and Prevention of Violence, on the theme "Gender, Race / Ethnicity and Armed Violence" held in December 2011.

Brazil welcomes once again the decision to establish an Information Center in Luanda, thus enabling the UN to reinforce its presence in Portuguese-speaking countries and work closer with them in addressing their specific needs and challenges. We thank the Secretary General for his progress report in this regard and hope that construction can be completed and that the Center can be fully operational before the end of the year.

Mr. Chairman,

We note that several countries offer to host UNICs in rent-free and maintenance-free premises. We are glad to report that these are the cases of both Angola and Brazil. Once more, we encourage all States that host UNICs, and are in a position to do so, to consider offering rent-free and maintenance-free premises for their operations. Without prejudice to the need for enhanced budgetary support to the activities of DPI, this initiative on the part of Member States would enable the Department to concentrate its limited funds on outreach and public information activities, as well as on strengthening the UNICs network, where necessary, notably in Portuguese speaking Africa.

Mr. Chairman,

Brazil reiterates its support to the work undertaken by DPI under the Special Information Programme on the question of Palestine. We are of the view that promoting awareness in public opinion as well as  fostering dialogue among journalists, civil society, academic community and policymakers may play an important role in fostering innovative and grassroots initiatives for peace in the Middle East.

Finally, I wish to address the important role of DPI in preserving the historical memory of the United Nations. We commend the efforts of the Department, inter alia, to increase online access to information, as well as the progress in the retrospective digitization of UN documents. The digitization efforts need to be combined with continued measures to ensure the durable preservation and appropriate access to documents, photographs and audio-visual records of historical significance for the Organization, particularly due to the work carried out under the Capital Master Plan. We need to ensure the availability of financial support, both budgetary and extrabudgetary for such digitization and preservation activities.

Also, utmost care will have to be taken in the relocation process of the UN legacy during the renovation of the UN building, in order to ensure the preservation and accessibility of the archives.

The preservation of our institutional memory and the lessons derived from it are essential for us to pursue and uphold in our future work the principles and goals of the United Nations.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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