Closing Session, Information Committee Approves Draft Texts Calling for Increased Multilingualism, Communications Capabilities of Developing Countries

PI/2168
6 May 2016
Thirty-eighth Session, 5th Meeting (PM)

Closing Session, Information Committee Approves Draft Texts Calling for Increased Multilingualism, Communications Capabilities of Developing Countries

Closing its thirty-eighth session this afternoon, the Committee on Information unanimously approved a report relaying two draft resolutions to the General Assembly, with a focus as in years past on increased multilingualism and support for the communications capabilities of developing countries.

Also included in the draft resolutions, which together were entitled “Questions relating to information”, was a request for the Department of Public Information to pay particular attention to raising awareness of upcoming major United Nations summits and conferences, including the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.

In closing remarks, Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, said the Department would do its best to fulfil expectations.  With regard to multilingualism, she said it was understood that the Department was being asked to make maximum efforts within existing capacities to ensure full and equitable treatment of all of the Organization’s official languages.  She added that the Department would keep working to spread the messages of the United Nations through all the media at its disposal, and through creative and imaginative partnerships, including with Member States.

By the text of the draft resolutions, the Assembly would urge all countries, organizations of the United Nations system and all others concerned to cooperate and interact with a view to reducing existing disparities in information flows — in particular by increasing assistance for the development of communications infrastructures and capabilities in developing countries — with due regard for their needs and the priorities attached to such areas by those countries.

Expressing concern that the gap in information and communications technology between the developed and developing countries had continued to widen, the Assembly would stress the importance of the provision of clear, timely, accurate and comprehensive information by the Secretariat to Member States, upon their request, within the framework of existing mandates and procedures.

It would also stress that Member States should abstain from using information and communications technology in contravention of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations.

The Assembly would request the Department and its network of information centres to pay particular attention to the outcomes of the major United Nations summits and conferences, including the summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda and the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

With regard to multilingualism, the Assembly would reiterate its request to the Department and content-providing offices of the Secretariat to ensure that United Nations publications were produced in all six official languages, as well as in an environmentally friendly and cost-neutral manner.

Reiterating its growing concern that the issuance of daily press releases had not been expanded to all official languages, as requested in previous resolutions and in full respect of the principle of parity of all six official languages, the Assembly would request that the Department, as a matter of priority, design a strategy to deliver daily press releases in all six official languages through creative schemes, in a cost-neutral manner and in accordance with the relevant General Assembly resolutions, at the latest by the thirty-ninth session of the Committee on Information, and to report thereon to the Committee at that session.

The Assembly would further reaffirm its request that the Secretary-General ensure that the Department had the necessary capacity in all the official languages to undertake its activities, and would request that that aspect be included in future programme budget proposals for the Department, bearing in mind the principles of parity, while respecting the workload in each official language.

Also by the texts, the Assembly would address aspects of the Department’s strategic communications services, requesting that they raise broad awareness of, among other upcoming meetings, the World Humanitarian Summit, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito and the twenty-second Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakesh.

In the area of news services, it would welcome the sustained efforts of United Nations Radio, which remained among the most effective and far-reaching traditional media available to the Department, and the ongoing efforts of the Department to disseminate programmes directly to broadcasting stations all over the world in the six official languages, with the addition of Portuguese and Kiswahili, as well as other languages where possible.

Noting the uneven development of social media among the official languages of the United Nations, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report to the Committee at its thirty-ninth session on the strategy of the Department to ensure, by a more balanced use of all six official languages, that social media contributed to raising awareness of and support for the Organization’s activities.

The draft resolutions would also have the Assembly address other areas of the Department’s work, including library and outreach services.  With regard to the latter, the Assembly would note with concern that many outreach and knowledge services were not yet available in all official languages, and in that regard it would urge the Department, as a matter of priority, to mainstream multilingualism into all such services.

Alexey A. Zaytsev (Russian Federation) noted his delegation’s regret that some proposals had not been presented or taken into consideration due to the desire for the Committee to reach consensus on the items before it.

Committee Rapporteur Hossein Maleki (Iran) introduced Chapter III of the draft report, which summarized the general debate of the thirty-eighth session.

For information media. Not an official record.