Permanent Representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan
To the United Nations
24th Session of the Committee on Information
New York, 24 April 2002
At the outset, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to you and other members of the Bureau on your election. I am certain that under your skillful guidance our discussions will lead to the successful outcome. May I assure you and the entire Bureau of my delegation's full cooperation.
Taking up this opportunity I would like also to thank Mr. Shashi Tharoor, the Interim Head of the Department of Public Information for his comprehensive and policy-oriented presentation on versatile activities undertaken by the DPI.
I wish also to express our deep appreciation to the Secretary-General for his reports to this session of the Committee, namely A/AC/198/2002/ 7. Apparently, these useful documents and especially, the report on Reorientation of UN activities in the field of public information and communication A/AC/198/2002/2 is a good basis for the Committee's analyses and deliberations on public information and communication policy of the United Nations.
Azerbaijan welcomes the initiative taken by Mr. Tharoor to review the DPI's activities. We believe that the proposed mission statement for the Department merits our deep and careful consideration. We also wish to commend the “broad direction of the DPI's reorientation” the Department has started. We commend, for example, the concept of customer needs and performance management.
We believe that through its reorientation, as one of its primary tasks, the DPI should maintain and improve its activities in the areas of special concern to developing countries and countries in transition, and such activities should contribute to overcome the gap between the developing and the developed countries in the field of public information and communications.
We support all endeavors aimed at enhancing the reorientation of the DPI activities in the field of public information and communications and developing a culture of communications within the framework of the Organization. In this regard, enhanced communications are to be a touchstone element in the reform and revitalization of the United Nations in a new information age.
The United Nations Information Centers, as mandated, should keep up its role in disseminating information materials as the focal point through which these materials reach target audiences. In this regard, language is an important factor is ensuring that public information activities have a strong impact on the targeted population. As information presented in the local language is most effective, the DPI should continue its efforts to distribute resources effectively among activities in various languages. Information Centers also should continue to provide assistance to the public in conducting traditional research and navigating the United Nations home page on the Internet.
We support the increasing use of the advanced technology by the UN. We would in particular to commend the DPI for developing and maintaining the very useful website of the United Nations, which is a major communications tool for providing information to millions throughout the world. At the same time, performing this noble task, DPI should use reliable sources of information and even has to double-check it before publicizing any information item. In this regard I regret to inform this Committee of the fact that sub-titles of the photos, posted at the official web site of the United Nations (www.un.org), referred to the Nagorny Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as part of the Republic of Armenia (e.g., UN/DPI photo # 187639). We appreciate that this particular page has been removed from the web site as a result of our direct urgent contacts the United Nations Secretariat.
We deem it necessary to remind the fact that the Nagorny-Karabakh region is an inalienable part of the Republic of Azerbaijan - a fact reconfirmed by the Security Council resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884, and the relevant General Assembly resolutions and reports of the Secretary-General.
We are certain that DPI personnel should be careful in choosing information sources while constructing and updating the UN web-site in order to avoid such incidents.
This incident demands a serious and thorough analysis of the UN information policy and activity with a view of preventing the use of unreliable sources of information and dissemination of insinuations through the UN system, which infringe on sovereignty and territorial integrity of the UN Member state.
We highly assess the efforts taken by the DPI with the assistance of UNDP in continuing to devise suitable measures with the aim of improving access to information about the work of the United Nations in all regions of the world.
We agree with the notion that activities taken by the DPI should be guided by the priorities laid down by the General Assembly and those which the Secretary-General set at the beginning of his second term office. Therefore, DPI should increase its attention to the major issues such as poverty, conflict prevention, sustainable development, human rights, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the fight against international terrorism.
In conclusion, I would like to reaffirm my delegation s willingness to actively contribute to the session of the Committee.