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Statement by Ms. YAN Jiarong of the Chinese Delegation at 4th Committee of UNGA 61st Session on the Agenda Item: Questions Relating to Information

Mr. Chairman:

The Chinese delegation wishes to express its thanks to the Secretary-General for his report on the questions relating to information.Our thanks also go to Under Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor for his comprehensive introduction to the UN's work in public information and for conducting an interactive dialogue with this Committee. We support the statement made by South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

The United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) is tasked with the important mission of publicizing the work and purposes of the United Nations, raising awareness of the role and influences of the United Nations, and safeguarding the credibility and image of the United Nations. We commend the DPI for the results achieved in the current phase of its reorientation, and believe that the coordinated work of the department has strengthened the capacity of this organization in the area of public information. We are particularly appreciative of the DPI's emphasis on the culture of evaluation, the adoption of result assessment and monitoring, and the application of the Annual Programme Impact Review (APIR). All this will undoubtedly improve the focus and effectiveness of its public information activities.

The unprecedented ongoing reform efforts at the United Nations not only pose challenges, but also bring opportunities to its public information activities. The Chinese delegation wishes to avail itself of this opportunity to put forward the following comments and suggestions:

First, the focus of the next stage of the United Nations' public information activities should continue to be placed on the implementation of the outcome document of the World Summit and on the advancing of the United Nations reforms. The past year saw the inception of the Central Emergency Response Fund, the Peace-Building Commission and the Human Rights Council, the adoption of the resolutions on the revitalization of the General Assembly and on the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The gains in the UN reform as listed above are substantial. In the areas of economy and development, however, the progress of the reforms is lagging far behind the expectations of numerous developing countries. Consequently, the DPI should, on the one hand, publicize in a timely manner the progress and achievements of the UN reform, and send to the world a positive message of a United Nations progressing with the times by actively pursuing changes and renovation, while on the other hand, it should try by every possible means to guide the media and public opinion away from the tendency of "focusing on issues related to politics and peace while neglecting those related to economy and development" so that more media attention will be focused on UN reforms in the field of development, which will in turn, give impetus to the implementation of the MDGs.

Second, the thematic public information campaign on the development of Africa should be intensified. Most African countries are going through an important stage in their development, and are faced with many difficulties unique to their countries. One of the major challenges facing the United Nations public information activities is to mobilize the international community, via the media, to give more attention and support to the development of Africa. We hope that the DPI will lend an attentive ear to the views of African countries, and carry out more effective public information activities in a targeted manner. Noticing that op-eds by the UN Secretary-General are often widely published and covered by the media, we suggest that the DPI consider employing this effective method more frequently.

Third, we hope that the DPI plays a bigger role in promoting understanding and dialogue among different civilizations. The recent times have seen the occurrence of incidents such as cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad and controversial remarks about Muhammad, which triggered confrontations and conflicts. China has advocated all along mutual respect and harmonious co-existence of different civilizations, cultures and religions. In a spirit of openness and equality, countries of the world should acknowledge the diversity of our world, enhance dialogue and exchanges, and unite to build a harmonious world that incorporates various civilizations. China supports the DPI in holding the seminar series on Unlearning Intolerance, and suggests that the DPI should organize more seminars of a similar kind with international media. Meanwhile, the DPI should intensify the campaign on dialogues among civilizations, starting with such activities as production of information booklets, and organization of media coverage of the United Nations deliberations of related items.

Fourth, outreach activities should be stepped up with a view to increasing communications and exchanges with member states. Last September, the DPI successfully convened the 59th annual DPI/NGO conference. China commends the conference organizers for their efforts to strengthen contacts and cooperation with NGOs from the developing countries, including those from China. We also support the DPI's continued efforts to expand its outreach activities targeting civil society and the general public by means of speeches, seminars, visits, exhibitions, film festivals and so on. What's worth special mentioning is that for outreach activities concerning member states, for example, the entrusting of NGOs by DPI to organize international film festivals at the United Nations, the DPI should provide guidance and monitoring so as to strengthen communications with member states concerned and avoid the occurrence of incidents unfriendly to member states.

Mr. Chairman,

In the twenty-first century, the United Nations remains an important body both in maintaining world peace and security, and in coordinating and promoting global development. China will, as always, continue to support the information activities of the United Nations, continuously expand the cooperation and exchanges with the United Nations in the area of information and communications, and make unremitting efforts in carrying forward the purposes and principles of the United Nations and promoting multilateralism.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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