STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY THE DELEGATION OF EGYPT AT THE FOURTH COMMITTEE OF THE 73RD SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON AGENDA ITEM 58 ON "QUESTIONS RELATING TO INFORMATION" (New York, 18 October 2018)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, we would like to express our appreciation to Ms. Alison Smale, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, for her the support of the Group in her endeavors. We would also like to thank her for the comprehensive presentation, which she has just delivered about the activities of the Department of Public Information (DPI). We also commend the Department of Public Information for its continued efforts in raising awareness of the works and activities of the United Nations.
3. We would like to congratulate Ambassador Jan Kickert of Austria, for his able Chairmanship of the 40th session of the Committee on Information, which led to its successful conclusion. We recognize and fully support the work of the Committee in providing guidance and direction to the Department of Public Information.
4. The previous session specifically has witnessed several important milestones for the international community. These milestones were related to sustainable development, the environment and climate change, peacekeeping and many other vital issues in which the UN and its member states play a pivotal role in addressing. In this regard, the Group once again expresses its appreciation to the DPI for its outreach efforts and communication campaigns, and we especially take note of the DPI's new communications campaigns, including the revitalized umbrella campaign entitled "Sustainable Development Goals: 17 Goals to transform our world", a campaign to promote the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Climate Action campaign in the lead-up to the Secretary-General's 2019 climate summit, the Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls, a campaign to draw attention to the service and sacrifice of peacekeeping troops and a campaign to support the negotiations on global compacts on migration and refugees.
5. We strongly encourage the DPI to continue to promote, through its important endeavors, the relevant milestone conferences, decisions, resolutions, and agreements that have been reached and that hopefully will be reached in the coming months. In that regard, we place special emphasis on developments related to, inter alia, sustainable development, climate change, migration and refugees, counterterrorism, peacekeeping and sustaining peace, the question of Palestine and other pressing global issues.
6. We would also like to reiterate the Group's expectation that the Department of Public Information will cover on an equal basis all Summits, International Conferences and High Level Meetings mandated by the General Assembly.
7. The Group of 77 and China reaffirm the importance of Multilingualism, as it is universally considered as one of the main promoters of unity and international understanding. Multilingualism has been addressed by successive General Assembly resolutions, including resolution 71/328 which recognized that multilingualism, as a core value of the Organization, contributes to the achievement of the goals of the United Nations, as set out in Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations and also recognized that the United Nations pursues multilingualism as a means of promoting, protecting and preserving diversity of languages and cultures globally, as well as of improving the efficiency, performance and transparency of the Organization.
8. Multilingualism also helps connect the United Nations with people. We, therefore, support the work carried out by the United Nations Information Centers in disseminating information about the work and activities of the United Nations as well as raising awareness of challenges the world community is facing now in the local languages. We reiterate the call for the DPI to continue supporting the United Nations Information Centers and strengthening them, both in terms of staffing and equipment.
9. The Group, while recognizing some progress on the issue, remains concerned at the continuing disparity in the use of all official languages in UN public information materials. We therefore strongly encourage the DPI to continue to exert efforts aimed at narrowing this existing gap. It is unacceptable that in spite of the collective calls expressed frequently, including during the thematic debate at the Ad Hoc Working Group on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly, lingual discrepancies continue to be observed in the press releases of the different UN meetings, in all Committees, and the titles of press releases. We disapprove this unfairness and request to avoid future misinformation in this regard.
10. The importance of modern communication technologies currently available to the global public is undeniable. Some of the Group's members are in fact major contributors to the growth and development of these technologies. However, the use of legacy media such as print, and radio and TV broadcasts must continue since they remain predominant means of communication in several developing countries, as well as remaining extremely relevant about communicating with all the generations that make up our global community.
11. Our group also caution against inappropriate use of public information. Inaccurate reporting and distorted information can have a negative impact on nations and their citizens. The United Nations, especially the DPI, should lead by example in adhering to the highest standard of accuracy, integrity, accountability as well as full compliance with purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.
12. We also call for an end to the use of information and communication technologies, including social networks, in contravention of international law and in detriment to any State, in particular members of the Group of 77 or their citizens.
13. We further underscore the importance of ensuring that the use of such technologies should be fully compatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, in particular the principles of sovereignty, the non-interference in internal matters and the internationally recognized rules of civil coexistence among States.
14. Finally, the Group takes this opportunity to assure you of our full and continued support as well as its unwavering commitment to work constructively with you and our partners to achieve a fruitful outcome to our discussions.