STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR GERARDO PEñALVER PORTAL, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF CUBA TO THE UN, AT THE 45TH SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE ON INFORMATION (New York, 25 April 2023)
Mr. Chair, I have the honor to deliver these remarks on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
At the outset, allow me to express our appreciation to Chair, Mr. Aamir Khan of Pakistan, and the other members of the Bureau for their effective and inclusive leadership role.
We also thank the Department of Global Communication USG Ms. Melissa Fleming for the quality of the work accomplished during the past year.
The Group takes this opportunity to thank the Secretary General for presenting the three Reports on the activities implemented by the Department of Global Communication in different areas: Campaigns and Country Operations Services, News Services, and Outreach and Knowledge Services.
The United Nations remains the indispensable foundation of a peaceful and just world. Its messages must be heard in a clear and effective manner.
The Committee of Information is an essential tool to project the objectives and activities of the United Nations and build broad-based global support for the world organization.
The Department of Global Communication has played a vital role in undertaking this task in the face of growing global distress caused by multiple crises: the COVID-19 Pandemic, the existential threat of climate change, and the lack of progress in implementing SDGs. Many countries now also face serious challenges in the face of food, energy, and supply chain disruption.
At the same time the world order created by the UN Charter 75 years ago faces severe stress due to proliferating conflicts, a new arms race, and rising xenophobia and hate speech, violence, and disinformation.
Against this backdrop, the Department of Global Communication (DGC) has worked relatively well.
The Group welcomes the continued attention of the Department of Global Communications to the priority objectives adopted by the UN: "renewed multilateralism" and "strengthening international cooperation"; the need to counter the proliferation of misinformation.
While supporting the activities of the Department, the Group would like to make the following observations and recommendations:
First, the Group believes that the growing trend of "fake news" and disinformation on online platforms including on social media, is exacerbating social discord, competing nationalisms, discrimination, and hate speech and has contributed to rising racism, xenophobia, negative stereotyping, and related intolerance. We strongly urge DGC to intensify its support for the efforts of the United Nations System in the fight against disinformation and misinformation, and look forward to actively engaging in an inclusive and transparent intergovernmental process for the preparation of a global code of conduct that promotes integrity in public information. We also reiterate our call for increased focus on the dissemination of factual, timely, targeted, clear, accessible, multilingual, and science-based information on all platforms. And, in this context, we cannot overemphasize the importance for DGC 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.
Third, as we enter the decade of action for the implementation of the SDGs, we reiterate the importance of the existing multilateral framework for achieving SDGs by 2030. The Group hopes that the Department of Global Communications will be able to pay particular attention to the promotion of sustained economic growth and sustainable development in accordance with the relevant resolutions and commitments.
Third, the Group is deeply concerned about digital disparities which are emerging as a new form of inequality between and among states. We believe that the international community, led by the United Nations, should take the necessary steps in rectifying the imbalances of the present development of information and communication technology in order to make the world of media more just, equitable, and impartial.
Fourth, the Group of G77 and China attaches immense importance to leveraging digital technologies for enabling socio-economic development and facilitating more effective and efficient governance and public service delivery. The digital gap between the developed and developing world has increasingly widened. We believe that the DGC remains well-positioned to bridge the existing gap between the developed and developing countries in the crucial field of public information and communications. This is inevitable for the global transition to modern and efficient national economies and effective international cooperation, including an inclusive digital economy and connectivity, as well as to outline shared principles for a digital future for all to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
Fifth, the Group emphasizes that multilingualism and cultural diversity are cardinal values of multilateralism, which are enshrined in the UN Charter. We encourage the Department of Global Communications to mobilize adequate resources, including by exploring innovative financing options as well as voluntary contributions to promote multilingualism to maximize its outreach at the grassroots level.
Sixth, we also welcome the promotional campaigns of the DGC, showcasing troop/police-contributing countries and encourages the Department to develop more effective and integrated communications strategies to highlight their contributions in an equitable manner.
Seventh, The DGC shall continue to support and strengthen the UN information centres and carry out the rationalization process of such centres in consultation with all concerned Member States, the countries served by those information centres and other interested countries in the region.
The Group reaffirms our commitment to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and human rights, including freedom of expression and access to information, as well as the principles of independence, pluralism, and diversity of the media, and urges the Department of Global Communications to further strengthen partnerships with new and traditional media in this regard.
The Group also calls on the Department of Global Communications and all Secretariat units to coordinate effective action to disseminate the activities of the United Nations in compliance with the commitments associated with the International Decade of the World's Indigenous Languages, particularly during this week, when the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples is talking place in New York.
In Conclusion, G77 and China look forward to participating and contributing actively to the preparatory process leading up to the Report of the Committee on Information for the 45th Session.
We envisage that the preparatory process, the Session itself, and the outcome would all be based on the meaningful participation of member states and all relevant stakeholders.
I thank you