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        General Assembly
12 February 2010

Original: English

Committee on Information
Thirty-second session
26 April-7 May 2010

Activities of the Department of Public Information: strategic communications services

Report of the Secretary-General

The Strategic Communications Division, which is responsible for implementing the subprogramme relating to strategic communications services, formulates communications strategies on priority issues and carries out communications campaigns to support the substantive goals of the Organization. The Division also manages the network of 63 United Nations information centres and offices around the world.

The present report, prepared in response to General Assembly resolution 64/96 B, summarizes the key advances made by the Department from July 2009 to February 2010 in promoting the work of the United Nations to the global audience through its strategic communications services.


In its resolution 64/96 B, the General Assembly took note of the reports of the Secretary-General on the activities of the Department of Public Information submitted for consideration by the Committee on Information at its thirty-first session and requested the Secretary-General to continue reporting to the Committee on the activities of the Department.

In the same resolution, the General Assembly called on the Department to provide specific information on a number of its activities for the consideration of the Committee on Information at its thirty-second session. The bureau of the Committee on Information, which met on 1 December 2009, advised the Department to present the requested information in three parts, in accordance with the three subprogrammes of the Department: strategic communications services, news services and outreach services.

The present report,1 submitted for the consideration of the Committee at its thirty-second session, is divided into two parts. Part One addresses thematic communications campaigns in such areas as peacekeeping, disarmament, the question of Palestine, human rights, climate change, the Millennium Development Goals and the World Summit on the Information Society and Africa, with a focus on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Part Two examines the role and activities of the network of United Nations information centres.



II. Thematic campaigns


B. The question of Palestine

11. The Department carried out a number of activities in connection with its special information programme on the question of Palestine. It organized the 2009 annual training programme for nine young Palestinian journalists (three men and six women) from 9 November to 11 December at United Nations Headquarters. Participants attended workshops and briefings in New York, Geneva and Washington, D.C. A total of 141 Palestinian journalists have been trained since the programme began in 1995.

12. The 2009 programme aimed at strengthening the skills of the participants as broadcast media professionals. A survey conducted at the end of the programme, as demonstrated in figure IV, found that a majority of the participants in the programme found it useful.

Figure IV
How satisfied are you with the programme overall?

Very satisfied not satisfied
How do you evaluate the television production workshop?

Very useful not useful

Other activities related to the question of Palestine included the following:

(a) The seventeenth International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, in cooperation with the Ministry of External Relations of Brazil, was held in Rio de Janeiro on 27 and 28 July 2009. Four panel discussions took place during the event, which was attended by approximately 200 people. The seminar was extensively covered by major Brazilian media outlets, including Agencia Brasil, O Globo, Folha de São Paulo, O Estado de São Paulo, O Dia and Jornal do Brasil, as well as by media in other parts of the world;

(b) The Department updated and displayed the English version of the permanent exhibit on the question of Palestine at Headquarters in New York, and the French version at the United Nations Office at Geneva. An electronic version of the updated exhibit was also made available online;

(c) As part of the commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which took place at United Nations Headquarters on 24 September, the Department of Public Information translated the UNRWA press kit into French and printed the kits in Arabic, English and French. The Department also conducted media outreach concerning the event, facilitating interviews for the Commissioner-General of UNRWA with various media outlets, including Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.

13. United Nations information centres played an important role in highlighting the sixtieth anniversary of UNRWA, including through the following activities:



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