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        General Assembly
6 August 2004

Original: English

Fifty-ninth session
Item 79 of the provisional agenda*
Questions relating to information

Questions relating to information

Report of the Secretary-General

The present report, prepared in response to General Assembly resolution 58/101 B of 9 December 2003, reflects the activities of the Department of Public Information carried out from July 2003 to June 2004, and provides information on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the resolution.

As a result of the implementation of the Secretary-General’s 2002 reform proposals, the Department carried out its work during the above-mentioned period guided by a new mission statement and with a new operating model and organizational structure. The activities of the Department are now organized within its four subprogrammes: strategic communications services; news services; library services; and outreach services. The report highlights the main activities undertaken by each of the subprogrammes and includes an overview of the continuing efforts of the Department to promote and refine a culture of evaluation and performance management.

The report concludes that, after a period of transition, the reformed and restructured Department now understands what is expected of it, is mastering the means to deliver on those expectations and has gained practical experience in their execution. It is ready to apply the lessons learned, as well as its new-found confidence, to further improve the products and services it offers. By reaffirming their support for the new direction the Department has taken, Member States can play a key role in bringing their United Nations closer to people around the world.

* A/59/150.


I. Introduction

1. In its resolution 58/101 B of 9 December 2003, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report to the Committee on Information at its twenty-sixth session, and to the General Assembly at its fifty-ninth session, on the activities of the Department of Public Information, and on the implementation of the recommendations contained in that resolution. Accordingly, the Department of Public Information introduced five reports and a note by the Secretary-General for consideration by the Committee on Information at its twenty-sixth session, held from 26 April to 7 May 2004 (A/AC.198/2004/2-7). The deliberations of the Committee on these reports are reflected in its report to the General Assembly. 1

2. The present report, which covers the period from July 2003 to June 2004, is prepared in response to the above-mentioned resolution and updates the information already provided.


III. Strategic communications services

A. Thematic communications campaigns


Question of Palestine

14. The question of Palestine continued to remain a focus for the Department. The twelfth International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East was held in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, in Beijing, on 16 and 17 June 2004. It highlighted the role of civil society in promoting peace and justice in the Middle East, facilitated the dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians and provided nearly 100 journalists, diplomats and academics with an opportunity to broaden their views and perspectives on the issue. The annual training programme for Palestinian media practitioners, an initiative of the Department, now in its ninth year, continues to be a useful tool to improve the capacity of promising young Palestinian media professionals. Five Palestinian journalists participated in the 2003 training programme and 10 are due to participate in the 2004 programme, which will be held at United Nations Headquarters from 25 October to 12 December 2004.



1 Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-ninth Session, Supplement No. 21 (A/59/21).

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