Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations 4th Committee: Questions relating to information

New York, 18/10/2017 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 171205_4
Statements on behalf of the EU

European Union Statement at the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly Fourth Committee: Agenda Item 53: Questions relating to information.

– Check against delivery –

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.

Allow me to begin by extending a warm welcome to my fellow European, USG Alison Smale, and to her team, and by thanking her for her introductory remarks. The EU and its Member States look forward to working with you in the years to come. I would also like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere thanks to Cristina Gallach for her dedicated service, and to thank Maher Nasser for his service as acting USG and the Special Rapporteur for introducing the report of the Secretary General.

Hoy en día, se pide a las Naciones Unidas que respondan con flexibilidad a desafíos globales cada vez más diversos y en evolución: apoyar los Objetivos de  Desarrollo Sostenible, tal como se establece en la Agenda 2030, para abordar las amenazas a la paz y seguridad internacionales y defender los derechos y libertades fundamentales . A medida que evolucionan las demandas del sistema de la ONU, también lo hará la Organización. Un año después del nombramiento de António Guterres, la ONU y sus miembros se centran en la reforma de la arquitectura de paz y seguridad, el sistema de desarrollo y la reforma administrativa. Alterar las formas organizativas de trabajo, las normas, los comportamientos y la cultura es uno de los aspectos más difíciles de la gestión del cambio, pero también es uno de los más importantes.

The EU and its Member States strongly support the SG’s recent initiatives and believe that the UN’s internal strategic communication activities as well as externally-focused global communications also need to play a pivotal role in this regard: communication is usually at the center of any successful reform initiative. It rallies technical experts, builds support within the Organisation, and educates the public on the importance and meaning of a reform. Consistent communication is important to preserve and reinforce key messages, which should relate back to the higher-level objectives and vision for the change. Senior leaders and change champions should serve as communicators to enforce these key messages. Further, organisations can use in-person communication to establish relationships with stakeholders. Communication is also an effective method for helping people overcome their resistance to change.

Pour en revenir aux questions relatives à l’information, Monsieur le Président, nous avons lu le rapport de cette année avec un grand intérêt. Nous nous félicitons avec enthousiasme du grand engagement témoigné en faveur de la communication des messages des Nations Unies dans le monde entier. Nous continuons à apporter notre soutien au département de l’information publique dans ses efforts visant à faire connaitre le travail des Nations Unies au plus grand nombre, dans toutes les régions du monde. Nous les félicitons pour l’exercice de communication réussi en direction du public sur les événements de la semaine de haut-niveau.

Rien que parmi les 28 Etats membres de l’Union européenne, nous parlons 24 langues différentes, et nous approuvons l’engagement du Secrétaire Général en faveur du multilinguisme.

Le multilinguisme n’est pas uniquement une valeur fondamentale des Nations Unies, mais constitue également un outil essentiel pour la reddition de comptes et la transparence, et pour l’appropriation par tous des actions et des valeurs de l’organisation. Il est essentiel à cet égard que nous communiquions sur le programme de travail et les idéaux des Nations Unies par le biais de divers langues et media.

Alors que les nouvelles technologies modifient notre manière de communiquer, de tels efforts sont importants afin d’atténuer les divisions dans un monde qui peut à la fois se sentir toujours plus inter-connecté et pourtant plus fracturé. Ainsi, nous applaudissons la grande diversité de programmes de communication présentés dans le rapport qui participent à la réalisation des objectifs de développement durable, permettent de construire des partenariats multilatéraux, de promouvoir les droits de l’homme et de cultiver une culture de la prévention.

En particulier, nous appuyons le soutien et la coordination accrue en direction des centres d’information régionale, qui facilitent une approche plus horizontale et localisée de la sensibilisation, et améliorent l’efficacité et l’efficience de la communication dans un contexte de contrainte en matière de ressources.

The European Union and its Member States also welcome the DPI and UN Academic Impact’s commitment to students and to educational and research institutions. This past July, UNAI brought scholars from around the world together in Vienna for a “Young Scientist Conference” dedicated to achieving sustainability. That same month, the 4th annual “Many Languages, One World” international essay contest motivated students to form action plans to achieve the SDG’s. It is young people like these, communicating across borders, who will help provide the innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. We encourage DPI to continue and to expand these partnerships with students and with academics around the world, and to partner with the successful ERASMUS Plus Students Exchange Programme, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, commemorated during Ministerial Week in the presence of the United Nations Youth Envoy.

Al involucrar a estas instituciones y a los jóvenes del mundo en el discurso, las Naciones Unidas también puede fomentar una cultura de prevención, ya sea en torno a futuros desastres naturales, conflictos o el aumento del extremismo violento. El momento adecuado para pensar los problemas del mañana es hoy. Esto es especialmente urgente en el tema del cambio climático, una crisis que ya está impactando a millones de vidas y que solo empeorará. La UE y sus Estados miembros se mantienen firmemente respaldados por el Acuerdo de París. También aplaudimos a DPI por su arduo trabajo en la promoción de la Conferencia del Océano en junio pasado.

The European Union and its Member States believe it will not be possible to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals without involving both public and private sector partners. We applaud the DPI’s efforts to partner with a variety of organizations. We have seen how social corporate responsibility has developed; we have seen how philanthropy has expanded significantly in the last few years.  It is clear now that it is good business to invest in the green economy, and that the green economy has created a large number of opportunities for profitable investment in the private sector. The SDG’s provide us with an opportunity both to generate investments that are attractive for the private sector, and simultaneously an opportunity to allow the private sector to play an essential role in making sure that these goals are effectively achieved. Partnerships are therefore key for a sustainable future.

Mr. Chairman, we remain committed to defending human rights across the globe, and we support DPI in its efforts to honor the victims of past human rights abuses and to cultivate a culture in which such horrors will not be repeated. We would like to draw your attention to an event that will take place on November 9, put together by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, New York, and Facing History and Ourselves, New York. On that day, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the publication of Anne Frank’s diary, 500 students are invited to the center to a short film screening and to discuss the life and writings of a young girl whose words continue to inspire us today. This is another example of how involving and educating young people can both inspire them and cultivate a brighter future.

Finally, we would like to conclude by touching on the vital role that the freedoms of expression, information and the press play in our world. Today, these freedoms find themselves under increasing attack around the world. However, as HRVP Federica Mogherini reminded us on World Press Freedom Day, they are “the basis of a participatory democracy and a tool to make governments accountable for their actions.” The European Union has ensured that the respect of these freedoms is integrated into all our policies, and we will remain committed to defending them.

The European Union and its Member States continue to stand ready to support you in your public diplomacy work which is so essential to building a more peaceful and sustainable world.

Thank you.


* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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