Information committee reaffirms in draft, UN must have 'clear, effective voice'

9 May 2003

The United Nations Committee on Information approved a draft resolution today which would ensure that the voice of the UN - the indispensable foundation of a peaceful and just world - is heard in a clear and effective manner on issues ranging from poverty eradication to combating terrorism and fighting HIV/AIDS.

Emphasizing the essential role of the Department of Public Information (DPI) in achieving those and other goals, the comprehensive draft, which will be forwarded to the General Assembly for action, calls on the Department to pay attention to all major issues addressed at the 2000 Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals in carrying out its activities.

Speaking at the conclusion of 2003 session of the Committee on Information - which makes recommendations to the Assembly on the policy and activities of DPI - Shashi Tharoor, the Under-Secretary-General for Communication and Public Information, said the Committee's endorsement of DPI's structural changes and its guidance at a time of renewal and transformation meant a great deal to him and his colleagues.

Under a key provision of the two-part draft, the General Assembly would welcome the steps taken towards restructuring DPI, and encourage Secretary-General Kofi Annan to continue the reorientation exercise and efforts in improving its efficiency and productivity, including through wide-ranging, and innovative proposals.

In that connection, the Assembly would welcome the progress achieved since the commencement of the reorientation exercise in enhancing DPI's performance and effectiveness. It would also welcome the decision to implement an annual programme impact review making self-evaluation a party of the daily work of all programme managers, with a view to institutionalizing performance management.

In the section of the text on new priorities for Department, the Assembly would welcome the new structure that include strategic communications services, news services, library services, and outreach services.

Regarding the UN's messages, the Assembly would request the Department to pay particular attention to such major issues as the eradication of poverty, conflict prevention, sustainable development, human rights, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, combating terrorism, and the needs of the African continent.

Also by the text, the Assembly would welcome the ongoing efforts of DPI, to enhance multilingualism and emphasize the importance of ensuring the full, equitable treatment of all the official languages in all activities of DPI.

Towards bridging the digital divide, the Assembly would welcome DPI's contribution to publicize the Secretary-General's efforts to close the digital divide as a means of spurring economic growth and as a response to the continuing gulf between developed and developing countries, and, in that context, would request it to further enhance its role in that regard.

Emphasizing that the United Nations information centres, or regional hubs, as applicable, were the "field voice" of DPI, the Assembly would welcome ongoing efforts to review the allocation of both staff and financial resources to the centres, with a view to possibly transferring resources from the centres in developed countries to those in developing countries.

Concerning traditional means of communication, the text noted with satisfaction the success of the pilot project on the development of an international radio broadcasting capacity for the United Nations and endorsed the Secretary-General's proposal that the pilot project be made an integral part of the Department's activities.


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