United Nations Member States must actively participate in explaining the work and role of the world body to the general public, the top UN communications official told the opening of the annual session of the Committee on Information today.
Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, told the meeting that the Organization needed the cooperation of Member States to help ensure “we can make a difference for a better world.”
He urged delegations to consider ways of how their governments and civil society organizations could partner with the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) and other offices of the broader UN family to enhance the public understanding about the world body.
“Telling the United Nations story and building broad public support for the Organization and its aims cannot be achieved by DPI alone,” he said.
Mr. Akasaka said the mission of DPI was inseparable from the overall objectives and aims of the UN, especially given that the world body has to deal with more and more issues of global significance – and rising expectations that it can or should deliver solutions.
The Under-Secretary-General also detailed a wide range of information efforts undertaken by the Department over the past year, explaining that he has focused on a strategic approach, improved coordination, new and expanded partnerships, multilingualism and evaluation.
In his address, the Committee’s chairperson, Andreas Baum of Switzerland, said the body was meeting at a crucial time in the history of the UN, with the sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the midpoint of the implementation of the series of eight internationally agreed anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Increasingly, people looked to the UN to better peace and security, improve development, guarantee human rights and tackle such complex challenges as climate change and food security.
For the UN to meet those expectations, Mr. Baum said, its actions, goals and aspirations needed to be understood, voicing praise for DPI’s increased emphasis on cooperation with UN system partners and civil society organizations.