STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. MR. GERARDO PEñALVER PORTAL, FIRST DEPUTY MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, DURING THE INFORMAL BRIEFING OF MS. MELISSA FLEMING, THE UNDER-SECRETARY FOR GLOBAL COMMUNICATION, TO THE MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE ON INFORMATION (New York, 29 March 2023)
The Group of 77 and China expresses its appreciation to the honorable Under-Secretary-General, Ms. Melissa Fleming, to have arranged this meeting to update members of the Committee on the recent activities of the Department of Global Communication, and in particular regarding the code of conduct for information integrity on digital platforms, including the Secretary General's upcoming policy brief on the subject.
The Group of 77 and China appreciates the efforts of the Department of Global Communications (DGC) to counter misinformation and disinformation, to help people to recognize authoritative sources and distinguish fact from fiction, such as the "verified" initiative and other digital literacy campaigns.
The Group also appreciates other initiatives in particular the fourth phase of the "Service and Sacrifice" campaign, thanking troop- and police-contributing countries for their service in United Nations peacekeeping operations. We encourage the expansion in its coverage and scope.
The Group encourages the Department of Global Communication to continue its efforts in the areas of Climate change, with an additional focus on the economic downturn in the developing countries and the grave challenge posed for the achievement of the SDGs and Agenda 2030 during the "decade of action".
The range of measures undertaken by the Department should be strengthened on the basis of the principle of multilingualism, diversity, accuracy, objectivity, timely dissemination of information, and increased efforts to reach the maximum audience specially those located in developing countries.
On behalf of the Group, I would like to make a few recommendation on the overall operations of the DGC:
First, Department of Global Communications must continue to contribute to raising the awareness of the international community and initiate programs to analyze the nature of digital divides, discuss strategies to bridge the digital divide.
Second, DGC should provide multilingual and multi-media coverage, producing targeted content according to the needs of audiences, on issues such as sustainable development, bridging the existing gap between the developed and the developing countries.
Third, DGC must also promote the efforts of Member States, especially developing countries in supporting nature-based solutions and adaptation to climate change and steps to facilitate a fast transition to sustainable, resilient and high-quality development.
Fourth, The DGC must strengthen its efforts in raising awareness of the successes and challenges faced by peacekeeping operations in close cooperation with the Department of Peace Operations, the Department of Operational Support and the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, and Member States.
Fifth, The DGC should strive to ensure that all breaking news stories, and news alerts are accurate, impartial and free of bias, while also avoiding editorial approaches in the publication of news pieces in UN media platforms.
Regarding the Secretary General's upcoming policy brief on the information integrity on digital platforms, the Group has the honor to transmit the fallowing ideas:
1. We express the Group's appreciation to the Secretary General and his Executive Office for the efforts with regards to the follow-up to the report entitled "Our Common Agenda" and the proposals contained therein, for the consideration of Member States.
2. The Group also appreciate the Department to continue its work on developing a global code of conduct to promote integrity in public information. The Department began a desk review of threats to information integrity across the world and of applicable regulatory efforts occurring at the national and regional levels and intensified its exchanges with stakeholders in the field of information integrity, including think tanks, academia, media institutions and the United Nations system.
3. The Group believes these briefing are important to keep Member States appraised and ensure a Member States driven process on the discussion and implementation of relevant proposals outlined in the report, through intergovernmental processes.
4. The Group takes note with interest of the idea of elaborating Policy Briefs on specific initiatives. The Group believes these documents would serve as important inputs, among others, for the preparatory process leading up to the Summit in 2024, keeping in mind that Member States will make the final decision on the various tracks of the Summit and its outcomes. Proper consideration should be given to the tracks proposed by the Secretary General´s team. Nonetheless, Member States should have the space and time not only to decide on these proposed tracks, but also to identify additional ones, if needed.
5. It is in that spirit that the Group takes note of your comments regarding this specific Policy Brief on information integrity on digital platforms. The Group would be better prepared to provide additional comments, if any, at a later stage.
6. Finally, the Group reiterates that it stands ready to continue engaging with a constructive spirit in the follow-up process to the report of the Secretary General entitled "Our Common Agenda".
On behalf of Group of 77 and China, I thank you once again for your briefing and we look forward to a constructive engagement during the course of 45th session of COI ahead.
I thank you.