STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. DIEGO LIMERES, MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY AND DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF ARGENTINA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 55, "QUESTIONS RELATING TO INFORMATION", AT THE SPECIAL POLITICAL DECOLONIZATION COMMITTEE (FOURTH COMMITTEE) OF THE 66TH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
1. I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item entitled "Questions Relating to Information". Allow me at the outset to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your election as Chair of the Special Political Decolonization Committee in the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly. We are confident that under your able stewardship you will guide our deliberations to a successful conclusion. We also extend our congratulations through you to the members of the Bureau upon their election.
2. The Group of 77 and China expresses its appreciation to Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, for his comprehensive and informative presentation on the activities and strategies of the Department of Public Information (DPI). The Group further expresses its appreciation to all officers and staff of the DPI for their work and dedication.
3. The close cooperation and partnership between the Department and the Committee on Information has always been the cornerstone of DPI's policies on Public Information. That is why it is of great importance to the Group to continue strengthening this partnership. We are confident that the DPI will continue to play a vital role as a public voice to promote the purposes and image of the United Nations.
4. The Group of 77 and China has taken note of the report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the Department of Public Information (DPI) contained in document A/66/261.
5. It goes without saying that the United Nations is the universal forum where many issues and concerns faced by the international community are debated. However, many countries in the developing world still lack the resources and technical means to access information regarding the United Nations activities and achievements. Therefore, the DPI has before it a very challenging task of reaching out, in various local languages, to the widest possible audiences to promote these important accomplishments in order to promote greater understanding and goodwill.
6. The DPI, through its continued campaigns on issues of importance to the international community, is indeed advancing the work of the UN. The G77 and China, therefore, appreciates and fully support the work of the Department in this regard and looks forward to its continuation. These issues are, among others, decolonization, peacekeeping, disarmament, human rights, sustainable development, poverty eradication, climate change, the Millennium Development Goals, Dialogue among Civilizations, and the follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society as well as the New Partnership for Africa's Development. This year our recognition also for the extensive outreach activities on the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries held in Istanbul in May 2011 as well as the High Level Meetings on HIV and AIDS, and Prevention and Control of Non-communicable diseases held at the Headquarters last September.
7. The Group emphasizes the importance of the DPI's Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine which raises awareness of the Question of Palestine and supports the efforts for achieving a just lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, in accordance with international law and United Nations relevant resolutions.
8. In this respect, the Group of 77 and China commends the DPI for its implementation of this important programme and underscores many of its necessary and useful elements. An example of which is the annual training for Palestinian media professionals from the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Group reiterates the need for these and other activities undertaken by the DPI and calls for their further enhancement and reinforcement.
9. The role and work of the Network of United Nations Information Centres (UNICs) is of vital importance to the Group. We, therefore, once again urge that all possible measures be taken to strengthen the UNICs and pledge our full support to their work. These Centres are an important source for the flow of information as they help to bridge the gap between the developed and developing countries in terms of access to information and communication technologies.
10. The Internet in recent years has become a very important source of information. It is for that reason that the Group of 77 of China stresses the need for the United Nations websites to be available in all official languages. The Group is of the view that more resources and efforts should be allocated to achieve full parity of languages in the UN websites in order to fully take advantage of this very important resource.
11. The Group appreciates the information submitted by the Secretariat during the last COI meeting regarding use of official languages in website contents and efforts made to that end. However, the Group considers that a strategy should be designed and implemented so that further steps are taken aimed at making full parity among six official languages a reality regarding website contents, including the delivery of daily press releases in the six official languages.
12. The Group emphasizes, at the same time, the importance of continuing the use of traditional media, including both radio and prints, in disseminating information about the United Nations. Traditional media has been and still is the primary means of communication in many developing countries.
13. Allow me, in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, to assure you of our full and continued support and active engagement during this session.
I thank you.