Press Releases

    18 November 1999


    Fourth Committee Continues Discussion
    Of Information Questions

    NEW YORK, 17 November (UN Headquarters) -- Speakers Address Role of Information in Peacekeeping, Building Information Infrastructure in Developing Countries

    The success or failure of an entire peacekeeping mission could depend on the dissemination of adequate information to the local population and to the world at large, the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) was told this afternoon, as it continued its debate on information questions.

    Speaking on behalf of the Western Group of Countries, the representative of the Netherlands said that the role of the information segment in peacekeeping missions and other United Nations activities was often underestimated. It was satisfying that the Department of Public Information was now included in consultations at the earliest stages of peacekeeping and other field missions.

    Several other speakers stressed the importance of improving United Nations capacity in the field. The representative of Chile said it was difficult to ascertain if information reached countries in conflict and if it was effective. In cooperation with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Public Information was seeking ways to bring information rapidly to the countries hosting peacekeeping missions. One substantive issue to be further discussed was the question of how to deliver the United Nations message to zones of conflict.

    Speakers also addressed the information activities of the Department of Public Information. The representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea said the Organization must give due attention to the renewal and modernization of information infrastructure of the developing countries. That was a prerequisite for economic and cultural development, as well as education. Also, impartiality and objectivity must be guaranteed in information activities.

    The representative of Bangladesh said that United Nations information should focus more on publicizing the Organization’s activities and accomplishments in economic and social development. The Department of Public Information, through its information centres, could play a significant role in that respect. Efforts should be made by the Department to assist the developing countries to improve their capacity in information-related fields, particularly in the training of journalists.

    Also speaking in this afternoon’s debate were the representatives of Kuwait, Mongolia, Libya, Algeria, Senegal, Yemen, Myanmar, Belarus and Tunisia. A representative of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference also made statements.

    The Committee will conclude its general debate at 3 p.m. Thursday, 18 November, when it is also expected to take action on draft resolutions relating to information questions.

    Committee Work Programme

    When the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon, it was expected to continue its general debate on the questions related to information. The Committee had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the matter and the report of the Committee on Information on its twenty-first session. (For background information, see Press Release GA/SPD/176 issued 16 November).

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    NOTE: A summary of the statements made can be provided upon specific request.
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