Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

English (pdf) ||Arabic||Chinese||Français||Русский||Español||



Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS

UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/48/407
18 October 1993

Forty-eighth session
Agenda item 88


QUESTIONS RELATING TO INFORMATION

Report of the Secretary-General


CONTENTS

Paragraphs
Page
I.INTRODUCTION
1 - 5
3
II.DISARMAMENT INFORMATION PROGRAMME
6 - 10
4
III.PEACE-KEEPING AND PEACEMAKING
11 - 18
5
IV.ACTIVITIES RELATING TO DECOLONIZATION AND THE SITUATION IN NON-SELF-GOVERNING TERRITORIES
19 - 21
6
V.ACTIVITIES IN CONNECTION WITH HUMAN RIGHTS
22 - 37
6
VI.ACTIVITIES RELATING TO WOMEN AND THEIR ROLE IN SOCIETY
38 - 42
9
VII.ACTIVITIES RELATING TO ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
43 - 53
10
VIII.ACTIVITIES PERTAINING TO ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT
54 - 58
12
IX.CAMPAIGN AGAINST DRUG ABUSE AND ILLICIT DRUG TRAFFICKING
59 - 61
13
X.ACTIVITIES IN CONNECTION WITH AFRICAN ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND DEVELOPMENT
62 - 67
13
XI.ACTIVITIES AGAINST THE POLICIES AND PRACTICES OF APARTHEID
68 - 71
14
XII.ACTIVITIES RELATING TO THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
72 - 76
15
XIII.PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES AND OUTREACH
77 - 84
16
XIV.CONTINUOUS AND MAJOR PUBLICATIONS
85 - 91
17
XV.ANNUAL TRAINING PROGRAMME FOR BROADCASTERS AND JOURNALISTS FROM DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
92 - 84
18
XVI.COOPERATION WITH THE NEWS AGENCIES OF NON-ALIGNED COUNTRIES
95
19
XVII.COOPERATION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION
96 - 99
19
XVIII.UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION CENTRES
100 - 119
19



I. INTRODUCTION


1. In its resolution 47/73 B of 14 December 1992, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report to it at its forty-eighth session and to the Committee on Information at its fifteenth session on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the resolution.

2. The following documents related to topics covered by the resolution were submitted to the Committee on Information at its fifteenth session, held from 10 to 28 May 1993:

(a) Report of the Secretary-General containing the observations and suggestions by Member States on ways and means of furthering the development of communication infrastructures and capabilities in developing countries (A/AC.198/1993/2 and A/AC.198/1993/2/Add.1);

(b) Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of a system-wide information programme for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (A/AC.198/1993/3);

(c) Report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the Publications Board in the development of criteria for United Nations publications (A/AC.198/1993/4);

(d) Report of the Secretary-General on continuous and major publications of the Department of Public Information (A/AC.198/1993/5);

(e) Report of the Secretary-General on the ways and means of redressing differences in the allocation of resources, in particular the differences of support, in relation to the financing of United Nations information centres in various countries (A/AC.198/1993/6);

(f) Report of the Secretary-General on his plan of integrating United Nations information centres with other United Nations offices, while maintaining the functional autonomy of the United Nations information centres (A/AC.198/1993/7);

(g) Report on the activities of the Joint United Nations Information Committee (A/AC.198/1993/8);

(h) Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of paragraphs 9, 10 and 11 of resolution 47/73 B of 14 December 1992 (A/AC.198/1993/9).

3. The Assistant Secretary-General for Public Information provided additional information in two statements delivered to the Committee on Information.

4. The deliberations of the Committee on Information are reflected in its report to the General Assembly. 1/ As in the past, the present report avoids, to the extent possible, repetition of the material contained in the reports submitted to the Committee on Information. It covers mainly items not considered by the Committee or updates the information contained in the reports referred to above.

5. The present report focuses essentially on the special activities and products of the Department of Public Information. It does not cover in detail the contents of regular publications and radio and television programmes, such as UN Chronicle, Notes for Speakers, DPI/NGO Briefing Summaries, "Perspective", "UN in Action" and "World Chronicle", as well as other print and audio-visual services that disseminate information on a continuing basis on the range of issues dealt with by the United Nations.

II. DISARMAMENT INFORMATION PROGRAMME

6. In paragraph 2 (a) (ii) of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B, the Secretary-General was called upon to ensure that the Department continued to disseminate information about United Nations activities pertaining to disarmament.

7. In close cooperation with the Office for Disarmament Affairs, the Department has carried out a number of activities to promote the objectives of the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme. A press kit on the Secretary-General's report on new dimensions of arms regulation and disarmament in the post-cold-war era and a 15-minute documentary, "Disarmament and peace", were produced within the context of the 1992 Disarmament Week.

8. During the reporting period, the Department continued to produce radio programmes on disarmament-related issues for world-wide dissemination. In addition to news bulletins and current affairs programmes, the Department produced several features and documentaries, including "The chemical weapons convention" and "Fostering transparency in arms transfer", which were adapted into Bangla, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Hindi, Russian, Turkish and Urdu. Others included "Disarmament after the Cold War" and "Mines: inhuman classical arms" in French and Spanish respectively. Four features entitled "The creation of nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East", "From disarmament to development", "The transfer of armaments register" and "Convention on chemical weapons - the way to the future" were produced in Arabic.

9. As for video productions, three segments of the "UN in Action"/CNN World Report, featuring "Conversion in Russia", "Moscow: from rockets to teapots" and "Chemical weapons", were disseminated in more than 140 countries. A video documentary, "Chemical weapons", was co-produced by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) and the Office for Disarmament Affairs. A United Nations version of the same documentary will be released soon. Moreover, a 30-minute video documentary on disarmament issues in the post-cold-war world, with a special focus on United Nations activities, such as a new arms trade register and verification and inspection measures, is expected to be completed by the end of 1993.

10. Preparations are under way for joint public information activities by the Department of Public Information and the Office for Disarmament Affairs for the 1993 Disarmament Week, including the production of information materials and the organization of a two-day symposium, to be held at Headquarters.

III. PEACE-KEEPING AND PEACEMAKING

11. In paragraph 2 (a) (iii) of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B, the Secretary-General was requested to ensure that the Department continued to disseminate information about United Nations activities pertaining to peace-keeping operations and peacemaking.

12. In pursuance of this resolution, the Department provided advice and technical support to the peace-keeping missions on their information activities, while also continuing to disseminate information on United Nations peace-keeping activities and on political missions. Periodic updates on all the ongoing peace-keeping operations, along with comprehensive reference papers on the situation in Somalia and in the former Yugoslavia, as well as a number of feature articles and backgrounders, were issued during the period under review.
13. For issuance in September 1993, the Department has also prepared a booklet containing an overview of the United Nations peace-keeping activities along with concise information on past and current operations. As requested by the General Assembly, an updated edition of the publication The Blue Helmets is being prepared.

14. The Department also produced a wall chart on past and present United Nations peace-keeping operations in Arabic, English, French and Spanish, incorporating a photo montage, time line and brief descriptions of all operations that were in place by September 1992. The wall chart, distributed through the United Nations information centres, other United Nations field offices and non-governmental organizations, also formed part of the special supplement on the history of United Nations peace-keeping in the Quarterly Journal of Military History. 2/

15. The Department also began broadcasting new ad hoc radio reports on Somalia and on the former Yugoslavia. These programmes are now broadcast by the Italian Radio Relay Service and by the Radio for Peace International and can be heard in Europe, North and South America and the Caribbean.

16. Moreover, the Department also prepared features on the situation in Haiti and on the activities on the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq's weapons capabilities. In addition, early in 1993, the Department lent its full support to the United Nations Observer Mission to Verify the Referendum in Eritrea by designing and producing, at the Mission's request, a variety of printed and audio-visual information materials. A video team and a radio officer were dispatched to provide on-the-spot coverage of the referendum. One video segment, "United Nations monitors Eritrean independence referendum" was produced for "UN in Action"/CNN World Report. Two radio reports from Eritrea were widely disseminated. After the announcement of the results of the referendum, an interview with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Eritrea was included in various radio programmes. He was also featured on "World Chronicle".

17. During the reporting period, segments of the "UN in Action"/CNN World Report were also produced on Angola, Cambodia, Eritrea, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia. Some of the titles were "The Cambodians vote enthusiastically in the country's first multi-party elections", "Yugoslavia situation report", "Saving Somalia", and "Fighting threatens to derail Angola's first multi-party elections". A 12-minute television news story on Cambodia was co-produced with Contact Productions Co. and broadcast widely in Europe, as well as on the BBC World Service Television. In May 1992, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Cambodia was featured on "World Chronicle". The Department also completed the production of a 30-minute documentary video on the outcome of the peace process in Central America, entitled "Hora zero - Nicaragua y El Salvador", in English and Spanish.

18. An 18-minute educational video and a teaching manual on United Nations peace-keeping and peacemaking activities in English, French and Spanish is being produced by the Department in the "Teaching about the United Nations" series. The production is the ninth in the series and will be available for distribution in November 1993.

IV. ACTIVITIES RELATING TO DECOLONIZATION AND THE
SITUATION IN NON-SELF-GOVERNING TERRITORIES

19. In paragraph 2 (a) (iv) of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B, the Department was requested to continue to disseminate information about United Nations activities pertaining to decolonization and the situation in the Non-Self-Governing Territories in light of the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.

20. In that connection, the Department, in cooperation with the Department of Political Affairs and in consultation with the Subcommittee on Small Territories, Petitions, Information and Assistance of the Special Committee on Decolonization, has continued to carry out the programme of activities to publicize the inalienable right of the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories to self-determination and independence, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the General Assembly's 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. In 1993, a report on the Department's activities in this field was submitted to the Special Committee on Decolonization by the Subcommittee on Small Territories, Petitions, Information and Assistance. 3/

21. With a view to highlighting the achievements of the United Nations in the field of decolonization, the Department published and widely disseminated in its United Nations Focus series excerpts from a statement made by the Secretary-General on 10 February 1993 at the opening of the 1993 session of the Special Committee on Decolonization.

V. ACTIVITIES IN CONNECTION WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

22. In paragraph 2 (a) (v) of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B, the Department was requested to continue to disseminate information about United Nations activities pertaining to human rights and, in that context, to the World Conference on Human Rights.

23. During the reporting period, the Department continued its multi-media approach to ensure the effective coverage of United Nations human rights activities, as well as world-wide distribution of relevant information materials, with special attention being devoted to the World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna from 14 to 25 June 1993.

24. The Department's activities undertaken under the regular budget included the commemoration of Human Rights Day; the production of print materials, such as pamphlets, backgrounders, booklets, feature articles, posters, logo sheets, and brochures; outreach and liaison with the media and NGOs to promote the work of the Organization in the area of human rights; language versions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; reprints and new language production, of various human rights instruments; publication of the biannual subscription publication entitled Objective: Justice; and the continued acquisition of documentation and development of reference services on human rights by the libraries of the United Nations information centres and services.

25. The Department's programme of public information activities and information coverage aimed specifically at promoting the World Conference comprised a wide range of activities. A pre-Conference, illustrated brochure on the aims and purposes of the Conference (DPI/1273) and a multi-coloured poster (DPI/1226) were produced in the six official languages, as well as in German. Two editions of a press information kit (DPI/1279), produced for dissemination to the United Nations information centres, and a selected list of media and non-governmental organizations world wide were distributed in time for the observance of Human Rights Day in 1992 and again just prior to the Conference, in English, French and Spanish. The kit included the following feature articles: "United Nations mechanisms to protect human rights" (DPI/1290), "Providing human rights technical assistance" (DPI/1274), "Human rights and development" (DPI/1275), "Human rights and humanitarian assistance" (DPI/1291), "Human rights and the girl child" (DPI/1284) and "Eliminating torture" (DPI/1292). Two photostats of the Conference logo design in all official languages for possible reproduction were also contained in each kit. A black-and-white print public service announcement based on the design of the Conference poster was also produced for free placement in magazines and newspapers. In addition, in cooperation with the Austrian Television and with independent producers, the Department produced television public service announcements that were distributed for broadcast in Europe and the Americas. The Department prepared a 17-minute compilation of select video footage illustrating human rights and its violations, and distributed it to television stations world wide. On the Conference site, the Department, in close cooperation with the Centre for Human Rights and with the assistance of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), also organized an exhibition on human rights issues, together with the continuous showing of United Nations video documentaries.

26. In addition, a special eight-page supplement on the issues before the Conference and pre-Conference activities was printed in the March edition of the UN Chronicle. Beginning in May 1993, a special edition on human rights of the publication Notes for Speakers was also distributed in English. An updated version, including the results of the World Conference, is being prepared for release in October in English, French and Spanish. Also, the June 1993 edition of Objective: Justice was entirely devoted to the coverage of the preparations for the World Conference.

27. A number of feature articles were issued within the United Nations Focus series (in English, French and Spanish), to cover in greater detail human rights issues and the issues before the Conference. The titles distributed included: "Ending discrimination: a fundamental right" (DPI/1008); "International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families" (DPI/1112); "The quest for women's rights" (DPI/1144); "List of States Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women" (DPI/1145.Rev.1); "Violence against women in the home, the workplace and society" (DPI/1174); "Changing the status quo, United Nations work for women" (DPI/1191); "Human rights and the family" (DPI/1203); "Apartheid: South Africa" (DPI/1281); and "Women and human rights" (DPI/1327).

28. Also, the Department produced a special documentary series of eight radio programmes on major themes and issues before the Conference. The series was produced in English and translated into 14 other official and non-official languages. It was released for distribution to approximately 7,500 radio stations and networks world wide that receive and broadcast United Nations radio programmes on a regular basis.

29. During an encounter organized by the Department in Vienna, over 300 journalists were briefed on the main issues before the Conference. With the financial assistance of the Austrian Government, the Department arranged for the attendance at the Conference of journalists from the Russian Federation, the Eastern European countries, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.

30. The Department's team assembled to cover the Conference organized the work of the spokesperson's office and provided media liaison, press accreditation, Conference press coverage, radio, television and photo coverage and information servicing of the United Nations information centres and other United Nations information outlets. During the Conference, a special radio team filed some 58 reports and round-ups in five languages (Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish) to be fed on a daily basis to an average of 30 broadcasting organizations and networks throughout the world. In addition to the regular dissemination system by radio/telephone circuits, a special electronic voice bulletin board was also set up, to store incoming feeds in all five languages that could be retrieved by telephone.

31. During the reporting period, the Department received almost 4,000 requests for information on human rights and distributed some 273,000 copies of its human rights publications in bulk, in addition to more than 500,000 copies distributed by request. Also, 83 briefings and nine special film/video screenings on human rights issues were organized at Headquarters. Further, information on United Nations work in the field of human rights was provided to approximately half a million visitors to Headquarters.

32. The International Year of the World's Indigenous People was formally launched on Human Rights Day in 1992. Hundreds of indigenous leaders and traditional elders, as well as representatives of Member States, indigenous communities, non-governmental organizations, the press and personalities of the academic and art worlds witnessed the historic occasion, which ended with a performance of a number of songs and dances of various indigenous people, organized by the Department in cooperation with a number of United Nations agencies.

33. In addition to providing full press coverage of the opening ceremonies in the General Assembly Hall, the Department responded to an enormous number of requests for information concerning the launch of the Year from media, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions and individuals. Since then, the Department has continued to make available on request copies of press releases, audio and video tapes and photographic coverage of the event.

34. A number of "UN in Action" television programmes, produced in English for the CNN World Report (and in additional languages for wider distribution) for broadcast in more than 140 countries, featured issues related to indigenous people. On 6 December 1992, CNN broadcast a special report on human rights and indigenous people, to which the Department contributed an item about the launch of the Year. In addition, two programmes in the "World Chronicle" series were devoted to the International Year.

35. A chapter of the 1993 publication Notes for Speakers on human rights issues was devoted to indigenous people. The publication will be re-issued later in 1993 in English, as well as in French and Spanish. The International Year was also featured as a cover story in the June 1993 issue of UN Chronicle.

36. In September 1993, the Department released a leaflet on the Year in English, French and Spanish, aimed at upper primary-level students. The Department is also funding the translation and printing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into a number of languages.

37. In October 1993, the Department will hold a major exhibition entitled "Common threads: indigenous people and the modern world" in the lobby of the General Assembly building at Headquarters.

VI. ACTIVITIES RELATING TO WOMEN AND THEIR ROLE IN SOCIETY

38. In paragraph 2 (a) (vii) of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B, the Department was requested to continue to disseminate information about United Nations activities pertaining to the advancement of the status of women and their role in society.

39. During the reporting period, the Department continued to develop the public information strategy for the forthcoming Fourth World Conference on Women, taking into account the recommendations made on that subject at the seventeenth Ad Hoc Inter-Agency Meeting on Women and at the thirty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Proposals for inter-agency activities on issues related to the Conference were also made to the Joint United Nations Information Committee (JUNIC). A fact sheet on the Conference has been produced and widely disseminated to the media, non-governmental organizations and the public at large. This fact sheet will be updated periodically and will be followed by press kits.

40. In observance of the International Women's Day on 4 March 1993, the Department held a panel discussion on "Violence against women" at Headquarters. In addition, in accordance with the priority themes established by the Commission on the Status of Women, the Department is also producing feature articles on women and poverty and women in public life.

41. During the reporting period, the Department continued to produce in English the weekly radio series "Women", as well as bi-monthly programmes in Arabic, French and Spanish. Topics covered during the past year included "Women's rights as human rights", "Women and AIDS", "The education of the girl child" and "Women and literacy". The Department also plans to produce programmes on the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, on the forthcoming Fourth World Conference on Women, and on women in public life.

42. Four video segments of "UN in Action" on women's issues covered violence against women, women and literacy, self-help day care centres in Argentina and women's empowerment in Namibia. Also, the Department produced a programme in the "World Chronicle" series on the rights of women in the development process.

VII. ACTIVITIES RELATING TO ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

43. In paragraph 2 (a) (ix) of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B, the Department was requested to continue to disseminate information on the issues relating to economic and social development.

44. During the reporting period, the Department organized the promotion of major United Nations publications on those issues, including the 1993 World Economic Survey and the Report on the World Social Situation 1993. It organized the press launch of the Survey, which included the production and world-wide distribution of a backgrounder and of an executive summary, as well as a press luncheon and interviews with the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis, in New York and in Geneva. As a result, the Survey was covered by some 40 news organizations world wide.

45. The Department also continued to provide coverage of the meetings of the Commission for Social Development and the Commission for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. A background press release on the Report on the World Social Situation was issued in February 1993. In addition, the leaflet "Social Agenda #7", outlining United Nations activities in the field of social development and providing a calendar of forthcoming events, was produced and distributed in English, French and Spanish.

46. To observe the end of the Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992), the General Assembly devoted four meetings to disability issues on 12 and 13 October 1992 and declared 3 December the International Day of Disabled Persons.

47. In support of these events, the Department initiated a wide range of activities and information materials, including disability-related articles, a press kit, a reprint and an abbreviated version of "The World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons", press conferences, a briefing for non-governmental organizations, an exhibit, and a demonstration of computer technology for disabled persons. A radio documentary entitled "The end of the Decade of Disabled Persons" was produced for world-wide distribution. The Department also provided liaison for a joint initiative by the Harvard University Law School and the United Nations to publish an annual review of international disability legislation.

48. In connection with the International Day for the Elderly, 1 October, and the special meetings of the General Assembly in observance of the tenth anniversary of the World Assembly on Ageing, held on 15 and 16 October 1992, the Department developed and carried out a variety of information activities, including background and feature articles, a press kit, a travelling exhibit, and the coverage of the special plenary meeting of the General Assembly on ageing.

49. In cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Division of General Assembly Affairs, the Department organized at Headquarters the observance of the World AIDS Day on 1 December 1992. The President of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General of the United Nations were among the speakers in a special meeting of the General Assembly on this issue. The Director-General of WHO, as well as prominent figures in the fight against AIDS from Canada, India, Uganda and the United States of America took part in a special briefing for delegations entitled "A community commitment". In addition, the Department released a documentary radio programme in the "Women" series entitled "Communities educating to combat AIDS: how women are involved".

50. The Department regularly provides assistance to the Geneva-based secretariat of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (1990-2000) in implementing an information programme for the Decade, which the Department helped prepare. One of the goals of that programme is to raise public awareness of how the impact of disasters can be reduced by proper planning, prevention and preparedness at the local, national, regional and international levels. This is an area in which the media play a vital role by disseminating information about impending disasters and about ongoing relief operations. Accordingly, the Department regularly enlists their support through interviews and other forms of outreach. It also helped promote the second meeting of the Special High-Level Council on Natural Disaster Reduction held in New York in January 1993 and the fourth session of the Scientific and Technical Committee, held in New Delhi in February 1993. The Department organized an observance at Headquarters of the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction (14 October 1992) and produced a feature article and a student leaflet on the topic. It assisted the Decade secretariat further in planning a public information campaign for the upcoming World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction, to be held in Yokohama, Japan in May 1994.

51. The Department of Public Information, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the International Year of the Family, prepared an information programme for the 1994 Year of the Family. An information kit in English, French and Spanish will be available in November 1993. Several radio programmes on family issues were produced in the "Perspective" series. A radio programme on "Women and the family" was also produced and disseminated in the "Women" series. In December 1993, the Department will undertake a series of activities in connection with the launch of the Year by the General Assembly. It will also cooperate with the secretariat for the Year in providing information materials for the launch of the Year by non-governmental organizations, to take place at an NGO meeting, scheduled to be held in Malta from 29 November to 3 December 1993.

52. During the reporting period, the Department has also been preparing its programme of activities for the 1995 World Summit for Social Development. In anticipation of this event, the Department organized the forty-sixth annual DPI/NGO Conference, which took place from 8 to 10 September 1993; its theme was "Social development: a new definition for security". This event was attended by over 1,000 participants. A background press release and a note concerning a briefing by the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Summit were also written in advance of the High-Level meeting of the Economic and Social Council held in Geneva in July 1993.

53. The Department also prepared a draft information programme for the 1995 Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders. It designed a special logo for the United Nations programme on crime prevention and criminal justice.

VIII. ACTIVITIES PERTAINING TO ENVIRONMENT
AND DEVELOPMENT

54. In paragraph 2 (a) (xi) of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B, the Department was requested to continue to disseminate information about United Nations activities pertaining to environment and development.

55. During the reporting period, the Department has continued to promote and provide information on the key issues and events for which the Department of Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development serves as secretariat. In this connection, on the occasion of the first session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which coincided with the first anniversary of the Earth Summit, the Department conducted a media campaign by telefax, telephone and mail that generated considerable press interest, including feature-length coverage in The New York Times, Financial Times, The Guardian, Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle, La Libération, National Public Radio and Business Week, as well as articles in many other newspapers. In addition, a Handbook on Sustainable Development, targeted to journalists and editors, is being prepared.

56. The Department has also planned an information campaign in support of the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and of the negotiations for a Convention on Desertification. Additionally, the Department provided media outreach for the Conference on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, which resulted in feature-length coverage in The New York Times, Atlanta Constitution and The Independent, among other outlets.

57. In response to the wide public interest in the 1992 Earth Summit, the Department prepared an information programme as a follow-up to the 1992 Conference. Numerous background information materials, including the press summary of Agenda 21, now in its third printing, and the texts of the other Rio de Janiero agreements were produced and distributed in English, French and Spanish. The full text of Agenda 21 was produced as a sales item in English and French and distributed free of charge to non-governmental organizations in the developing countries. Several United Nations information centres are working with government agencies, non-governmental organizations and commercial publishers to translate and produce Agenda 21 in a number of languages, including Greek, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian.

58. The Department also coordinated the presentation at Headquarters of the first annual environmental awards conferred on prominent supporters of sustainable development by Earth Day International, a Canadian non-governmental organization. The awards were presented simultaneously via satellite transmission both at Headquarters and in Los Angeles. Among the participants in this event was the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The event was extensively covered by the media. In addition, an article entitled "Protecting the Earth's last great wilderness: Antarctica" was prepared by the Department for the United Nations Focus series.

IX. CAMPAIGN AGAINST DRUG ABUSE AND ILLICIT DRUG TRAFFICKING

59. In paragraph 2 (a) (xiv) of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B, the Secretary-General was called upon to ensure that the Department continued to disseminate information about United Nations activities pertaining to the international efforts against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

60. In this connection, the Department, in cooperation with the United Nations International Drug Control Programme, produced a series of three public service announcements in support of the International Day Against Drug Abuse. The television spots, which featured Olympic Gold Medallist Carl Lewis and several of his teammates, were distributed world wide. The Executive Director of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme was also featured on "World Chronicle".

61. "Should the non-medical use of drugs be legalized?" was the title of a radio documentary produced in English. The programme was adapted into various languages versions and disseminated world wide.

X. ACTIVITIES IN CONNECTION WITH AFRICAN ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND DEVELOPMENT

62. In paragraph 2 (a) (xvi) of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B, the Department of Public Information was requested to disseminate information in support of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s and for the tremendous efforts of the African countries aimed at recovery and development, as well as the positive response by the international community to alleviate the serious economic situation prevailing in Africa.

63. In pursuance of the mandate contained in the New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s, the Department has continued its efforts to raise international awareness of the African situation and the efforts being made by African countries to initiate recovery. On the basis of information published in the quarterly publication Africa Recovery and other publications of the Department, numerous articles describing the crises faced by the continent have appeared in the international press, including that of Africa.

64. The Department also produced a brochure on the obstacle that external debt poses to African development. This led to a request for a briefing by the Department of Public Information for United States Congressional aides and Administration officials, which took place in Washington, D.C. on 15 April 1993. The Department also invited the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to take part in the briefing.

65. The Department assisted UNICEF in organizing a seminar for senior European journalists on the International Conference on Assistance to African Children, sponsored by the Organization of African Unity, held in Dakar, in November 1992. The Seminar, which took place in London on 11 November 1992, helped in generating wide media coverage for the Conference.

66. During the reporting period, the Department also produced a number of comprehensive briefing papers covering the peace-keeping and humanitarian operations in Somalia and in Mozambique, food security on the continent, and the successful prevention - by the United Nations, the international donor community and the affected southern African countries - of a widely feared large-scale famine in southern Africa in 1992.

67. In addition, the Department handled media liaison and provided technical support for "Somalia's Cry", a Life magazine exhibition of photographs sponsored by Time-Warner, Inc. in cooperation with the United Nations and shown in the General Assembly Lobby at Headquarters in November 1992.
XI. ACTIVITIES AGAINST THE POLICIES AND PRACTICES OF APARTHEID

68. In paragraph 2 (a) (xvii) of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B, the Department was requested to continue to disseminate information pertaining to international efforts towards the total eradication of apartheid and support for the establishment of a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa. Where necessary, it highlighted the role of the United Nations in this context.

69. As South Africa's communities, political parties and leaders continued their negotiations to achieve the goal of a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa, the Department directed its efforts at reporting on these developments, mainly through print material and radio programmes.

70. The Department continued to produce 164 radio programmes per year and a weekly telephone feed in English. The radio programmes, translated into Sesotho, Setswana, Xhosa and Zulu, are disseminated to radio organizations whose transmissions can be heard in South Africa and in neighbouring countries, as well as to radio stations in other parts of the world. On short-wave, the United Nations anti-apartheid programmes are now also broadcast by Radio for Peace International to Europe, Central and North America and the Caribbean. In addition, the Department continued to distribute the seven-language version of the poster "For a united, non-racial South Africa", as well as a postcard version of the poster, produced in English and French. "World Chronicle" also devoted a programme to the United Nations educational and training assistance to victims of apartheid in South Africa.

71. With the University of Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa, the Department has been looking into the possibility of organizing a round table on the United Nations image in South Africa, to take place in early 1994.

XII. ACTIVITIES RELATING TO THE SITUATION IN THE
MIDDLE EAST AND THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE

72. In paragraph 2 (a) (xviii) of resolution 47/73 B, the General Assembly called upon the Secretary-General to ensure that the Department of Public Information continued to disseminate information about United Nations activities pertaining to the situation in the Middle East and the question of Palestine in particular, also including current developments in that region and the ongoing peace process.

73. Information activities pertaining to this mandate were also carried out by the Department within the framework of its special programme on the question of Palestine requested by General Assembly resolution 47/64 C of 11 December 1992.

74. Within this context, in cooperation with the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and with the support of The Guardian, the Department sponsored an International Encounter for European Journalists on the Question of Palestine, held in London from 9 to 11 June 1993. The theme of the Encounter was "Promoting a culture for peace in the Middle East". Issues related to cultural obstacles to peace, the role of national authorities, the media and intellectuals in promoting mutual recognition and respect and confidence-building measures were explored. The Encounter was opened by the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and moderated by the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva. Prominent Palestinian and Israeli personalities, as well as experts from European and other countries served as panellists.

75. In addition, as foreseen in the programme budget for the biennium 1992-1993, section 31-13, preparations are under way for a fact-finding news mission for journalists to the Middle East and an encounter for journalists, designed to reinforce the efforts of the Secretary-General to support the momentum in the Middle East peace process.

76. During the reporting period, a radio documentary entitled "The question of international protection for the Palestinian people" was produced in English. The programme was translated and distributed to some 350 radio stations around the world. Further, two original one-hour video programmes on Palestine were produced by "Point du Jour" in cooperation with the United Nations. A 30-minute version in English is expected to be completed by the end of 1993 for distribution by the Department.

XIII. PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES AND OUTREACH

77. Paragraph 2 (c) of resolution 47/73 B called on the Secretary-General to ensure that the Department of Public Information continue its efforts to promote an informed understanding of the work and purposes of the United Nations system among the peoples of the world and to strengthen the positive image of the system as a whole.

78. The Department undertook a number of activities aimed at improving its ability to target audiences and amplify its messages. In this connection, the United Nations/International Public Relations Association Award for outstanding public relations campaigns that address priority United Nations issues was established. The 1992 award and honourable mentions were presented, respectively, for programmes aimed at raising the status of women in India, expanding community-based health care in Africa, and increasing awareness of environment/development issues in the United States of America.

79. Another exercise of this kind has been the United Nations Information Fair, held at Headquarters from 20 to 30 October 1992 and attended by more than 18,000 visitors. This inter-agency, interdepartmental event, now entering its fourth year, affords United Nations agency participants the opportunity to distribute information about their work and to meet with visitors to Headquarters, particularly students and educators.

80. In pursuing wider outreach, the Department has also extended its services to public access databases, namely Federal News in Washington, D.C. and Agora in Italy, while continuing the distribution of its daily products and of major United Nations documents to Reuters and to Global Education Motivators, a non-governmental organization that manages an information service about the United Nations.

81. As part of its outreach efforts, the Department continues to disseminate its own materials, as well as publications from substantive departments and documents covering the entire range of the Organization's activities. It also prepares information backgrounders, which are updated regularly for use by students, educators, parliamentarians and researchers.

82. Recently, the Department has prepared a question-and-answer paper on peace-keeping. It is also producing a booklet containing an overview of the United Nations for middle and high school students. Plans are under way for developing a set of basic materials to be used in the classroom, which can be easily reproduced and adapted in languages other than English.

83. In November 1992, the fortieth anniversary of the guided tours was observed with the participation of more than 200 present and former guides. More than 33 million visitors have taken the guided tour of United Nations Headquarters since its doors first opened to the public, approximately 500,000 per year at this time. In order to accommodate security concerns, the tours have recently been revised, and temporarily suspended as of 18 September 1993. It is hoped that a remodelled tour can again be made available to the public very soon.

84. During the reporting period, the Department continued its activities in support of non-governmental organizations. The Department organized a special two-day orientation course for these organizations, which consisted of briefings by senior Secretariat officials on various aspects of United Nations activities. It also undertook a review of its relations with its 1,269 NGO partners, with a view to determining the effectiveness of its dissemination efforts. A questionnaire intended to evaluate the activities of accredited non-governmental organizations was circulated. The Department also continued to issue its annual directory of associated non-governmental organizations and is currently creating two new directories that will classify these organizations by country and by their specialty and/or field of interest.

XIV. CONTINUOUS AND MAJOR PUBLICATIONS

85. In paragraph 2 (d) of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B, the Secretary-General was called upon to ensure that the Department continue its efforts to ensure timely production and dissemination of its mandated publications, in particular the UN Chronicle, The Yearbook of the United Nations, Development Forum and Africa Recovery.

86. As requested in paragraph 2 (e) of the same resolution, the Department submitted to the Committee on Information at its fifteenth session a report (A/AC.198/1993/5) on its continuous and major publications, also providing, for the first time, an estimate of their cost.

87. With a view to maximizing the productivity of the considerable resources, both human and financial resources invested in these publications, the Department is currently re-evaluating its publications policy, starting with the quarterly magazine UN Chronicle.

88. The UN Chronicle, entering its thirtieth year as the Organization's comprehensive news-oriented periodical on United Nations activities and events, continues to provide consolidated reports on the activities of the Security Council and the General Assembly, as well as those of other United Nations legislative and deliberative bodies, as well as on news from the entire United Nations system. Regular reports are also provided on all peace-keeping missions, economic and social development, disarmament, environment, decolonization and legal issues. A new, sleeker design, for the first time utilizing two colours, was introduced in the beginning of 1993. Over the last year, the UN Chronicle produced special sections on the World Conference on Human Rights, International Space Year, the work of the World Health Organization, the debate at the forty-seventh session of the General Assembly, the International Year of Indigenous People, and, most recently, on the new generation of peace-keeping activities and on the results of the elections in Cambodia. Ways to better the marketing of the magazine and to widen its audience, in line with requests by the General Assembly, are currently being discussed.

89. As a result of the efforts to restore the Yearbook to a timely publication schedule, the 1991 edition (volume 45), was published in December 1992 in the record time of nine months. At the moment, of the remaining three backlog editions of the Yearbook, the preparation of volume 42:1988 is at an advanced stage, with its publication scheduled for this fall. Meanwhile, work is under way on the 1992 edition, which is scheduled for completion and publication by December 1993. As for the remaining two backlog issues, those for the 1989 and 1990, the Department plans to produce them concurrently with the 1993 and 1994 editions scheduled for publication by December 1994 and 1995, respectively.

90. In late 1992, the financial situation of Development Forum deteriorated to the point at which it could no longer continue publishing without additional subventions from the regular budget. Since no additional funds were approved, the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions agreed with the Secretary-General's recommendation to cease publication of Development Forum by 31 December 1992. Discussions are under way in JUNIC concerning a new system-wide publication on development issues. At this time, no funds have been identified for this purpose and the Committee continues to look into different options in this regard. In this connection, a potential source of financial support has been envisaged in the profit that might possibly be derived from the merging of United Nations Development Business and the World Bank's International Business Opportunities, an option currently being considered.

91. Complying with both its overall needs for a greater efficiency and the interest expressed by the Committee on Information, the Department is currently undertaking surveys on the "World Chronicle" and Africa Recovery, as well as on the potential of non-governmental organizations as partners in the implementation of United Nations information activities, (see para. 84 above).

XV. ANNUAL TRAINING PROGRAMME FOR BROADCASTERS AND
JOURNALISTS FROM DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

92. In pursuance of paragraph 2 (f) of resolution 47/73 B, which requested the Department to continue its briefings, assistance and orientation programmes for broadcasters and journalists from developing countries focused on United Nations-related issues, the Department is preparing the 1993 training programme for broadcasters and journalists from developing countries. Broadcasters and journalists from 15 countries are scheduled to take part in the six-week programme, which took place at United Nations Headquarters from 14 September to 22 October 1993. The participants, who have been chosen in consultation with the field offices of the United Nations on a rotating basis, will come from Algeria, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Ghana, Guyana, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mali, Suriname, Uganda and Uruguay. Four journalists sponsored by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation of Germany will also take part.

93. During the programme, the participants received skills development and in-service training in the Department, undertook professional assignments and attended briefings by United Nations officials and representatives of media organizations. They also visited the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C.

94. The 1993 group brought to 224 the total number of broadcasters and journalists from more than 120 countries who have participated in the programme since it was started in 1981.

XVI. COOPERATION WITH THE NEWS AGENCIES OF NON-ALIGNED COUNTRIES

95. In paragraph 2 (g) of resolution 47/73 B, the Secretary-General was requested to ensure that the Department continued its policies of cooperation with news agencies in all developing countries, in particular the News Agencies Pool of Non-Aligned Countries. During the reporting period, the Department provided the news agency Iranian Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), which currently holds the chairmanship of the Pool, with daily news items on a variety of economic, social, environmental and other priority issues. In addition, the Department's daily news items are sent to the Indonesian news service, ANTARA, a major regional news agency in the South Pacific/Indian Ocean region and then dispatched to other members of the Organization of Asian News Agencies, which comprises some 25 national news agencies in the region.

XVII. COOPERATION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL,
SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION

96. In paragraph 2 (h) of resolution 47/73 B, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to ensure that the Department of Public Information continued its policies of cooperation with all agencies of the United Nations system, in particular with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

97. Paragraph 2 (g) of the above resolution also called on the Department to provide, on the basis of its activities, information to UNESCO about new forms of cooperation, at the regional and subregional levels, for the training of media professionals and for the improvement of the information and communication infrastructures of developing countries.

98. During the reporting period, the Department, in cooperation with UNESCO, issued in English, French and Russian the "Report of the Seminar on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Asian Media", held in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan, from 5 to 9 October 1992, and the "Declaration of Alma Ata on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Asian Media". The Department joined UNESCO in actively disseminating these two documents world wide, particularly in the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. The Department also pursued consultations with UNESCO on the implementation of the Declaration of Alma Ata.

99. The Department has joined UNESCO in organizing a seminar on promoting independent and pluralistic media in the Latin American and Caribbean region, to be held in April 1994 in Santiago, Chile. The seminar will focus on the role that independent media can play in support of developmental needs in the rural areas and in the shantytowns surrounding large cities.

XVIII. UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION CENTRES

100. In accordance with paragraph 6 of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B, the Secretary-General submitted to the Committee on Information at its fifteenth session a comprehensive report on his decision to integrate certain United Nations information centres with other United Nations field offices. The decision was prompted by the need to project a unified image of the United Nations in the field, to broaden information activities to cover more fully such vital issues as development, to facilitate inter-agency coordination and avoid duplication and to save through the sharing of common services. To date, 18 information centres have been integrated with field offices of UNDP.

101. This requires coordination not only between the respective headquarters, but also between field offices of the United Nations system. The Secretary-General intends to build on what has already been achieved through the experience of the integrated field offices presently in operation in order to further enhance the effectiveness of the Organization in all areas of its endeavour. The United Nations information centres will continue to play their own essential and mandated role as part of the coordinated and integrated effort of the Organization as a whole.

102. In accordance with paragraph 8 of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B, the Secretary-General also submitted to the Committee on Information a report on ways and means of redressing differences in the allocation of resources, in particular the differences of support, in relation to the financing of the United Nations information centres. A further report will be submitted to the Committee on Information at its sixteenth session.

103. During the reporting period, the Department has continued to enhance computer and communication capacities of the United Nations information centres. Also, a computerized mailing list programme for microcomputers developed by the Department was successfully tested in several information centres. The programme will assist all information centres in record-keeping, labelling, the standardization of their lists of local contacts and in feedback reporting.

104. In its draft recommendations adopted on 28 May 1993, the Committee on Information requested the Secretary-General to study ways and means of rationalizing and effecting equitable disbursement of resources to all United Nations information centres. In this connection and also in accordance with earlier General Assembly resolutions, the Department is consulting other relevant organizations of the United Nations system in its efforts to devise appropriate cost-apportioning methods, where applicable. The Department has also requested the relevant organizations to establish a separate allocation for public information activities in their project budgets, so that the United Nations information centres would be able to draw on additional resources as necessary. A report on this issue will be submitted to the Committee on Information at its sixteenth session.

105. In paragraph 9 of its resolution 47/73 B, the General Assembly noted the substantial contribution by the Government of Poland and requested the Secretary-General to finalize, in consultation with the Polish authorities, arrangements for a United Nations information component in Warsaw. A report on this issue, which was submitted to the Committee on Information at its fifteenth session, showed that there were practical and financial constraints yet to be resolved in order to implement this provision.

106. Paragraph 10 of General Assembly resolution 47/73 B called upon the Secretary-General to implement fully its recommendations regarding the establishment of a United Nations information centre in Sana'a, Yemen, as well as the reactivation of the United Nations information centre in Tehran and the enhancing of the information centres in Bujumbura, Dar es Salaam and Dhaka.

107. The Department has initiated action to appoint a full-time Information Officer in Sana'a to head the United Nations information centre and to operate within the UNDP field office in Yemen.

108. Similarly, action has been initiated to appoint an Information Officer to head the reactivated information centre in Tehran and to operate within the UNDP field office. In addition, an Information Assistant and a Reference Assistant have already been appointed and computer equipment has been provided. The authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran have indicated that the extent of host Government support to the information centre in Tehran would be finalized when the Information Officer assumed his/her duties.

109. The information centres in Bujumbura, Dar es Salaam and Dhaka are fully operational, with the UNDP Resident Representatives serving as full-time centre Directors under the overall direction of the Department of Public Information. Measures have been taken to enhance these information centres within the Department's existing budgetary resources, including provision of computer equipment and staff training.

110. The Department considers the appointment of locally-recruited national information specialists as a critical element in the enhancement of all information centres. Accordingly, action has been initiated by the Secretary-General for the use of the National Information Officer category at information centres in the context of his programme budget proposals for 1994-1995 and for future biennia.

Notes

1/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-seventh Session, Supplement No. 21 (A/47/21).

2/ Vol. V, No. 1 (Autumn 1992).

3/ A/AC.109/L.1797.

-----

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter