Let me begin by thanking USG Fleming for her comprehensive and informative briefing to this Committee. My delegation sincerely appreciates the work of the Committee on Information (COI) in the implementation of the Global Communication Strategy.
We take note of the report of the Committee on Information and the report of the Secretary General submitted under this agenda item.
My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered by Pakistan on behalf of G-77 and China.
The Department of Global Communications has been playing a significant role to support the United Nations agenda on issues as across its pillars of sustainable development, peace and security, and human rights. We commend the activities of the DGC in the last one year when our pandemic recovery efforts faced serious challenges posed by ongoing food, energy and financial crisis. We are encouraged to see the expansion of DGC’s activities by increasing its outreach and the issues of coverage.
Allow me to highlight a few points,
First, misinformation and disinformation has been crating serious impact on our efforts to build back better. In this era of social media platforms, it is easier to bias the people with false and fabricated information. Hate speech formulated with misinformation and disinformation has become a potential threat for peace and stability in the society. We are concerned on the growing trend of hate speech around the world. In this regard, we commend DGC’s #NoToHate campaign as well as “Verified” campaign. We urge to continue the ongoing activities of educating social media users especially at a time when visible manifestation of xenophobia and intolerance appears to be on the rise.
Second, we appreciate DGC’s continuous efforts to promote multilingualism. It is our duty to save the small languages from extinction as part of promoting multilingualism that will help to build an inclusive, creative, and tolerant society. We thank DGC for partnering with us in observing the International Mother Language Day on 21st February, which promotes respect for pluralism, diversity, tolerance and the value of multi-lingual education.
Third, as the leading TPCC and also an active member of the Peacebuilding Commission since its establishment, Bangladesh attaches great importance to the UN’s Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding activities. We request the DGC to continue its activities to highlight the contributions of UN Peacekeeping operations in an equitable manner. In this connection, we appreciate the launch of fourth phase of “Service and Sacrifice” campaign, thanking troop- and police-contributing countries for their service in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
We emphasize on combating the anti-UN propaganda and highlight the critical contribution of strategic communications in the effective implementation of peacekeeping mandate and overcoming the anti-peacekeeping sentiments in some host countries. We are encouraged to see the resolution adopted by consensus in the 44th session of COI, has requested to raise awareness to reduce the environmental footprint in the field as part of the implementation of the environment strategy for peace operations. We also request the DGC to work towards increasing the visibility of UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC).
Fourth, we acknowledge the commendable activities of DGC in observing different International Days including the observance of the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime. At the same time, we encourage DGC to undertake activities in raising awareness of the past genocides. We feel that presenting to the world the lessons of past genocides and the forgotten genocides like the genocide in Bangladesh in 1971, would supplement our joint efforts to prevent further Genocide.
Fifth, as one of the most climate vulnerable country, we emphasize on disseminating the information on UN’s activities on climate change to reach wider audience for creating better awareness through highlighting good practices and evolving challenges. In this regard, we welcome the initiative of DGC to expand the reach of its “Verified campaign” to climate change issue. We also urge to diversify the outreach activities on climate change issue.
Sixth, In Bangladesh, UN Information Centre (UNIC) has been complementing the government’s efforts towards multilingualism by promoting the language of ethnic minorities. We also acknowledge UNIC’s cooperation with Community Radio Stations in disseminating UN messages, support to educational institutions to aware the young population and its continuous support to publicizing the role and contribution of peacekeeping operations. However, we believe, UNIC should be provided with resources to increase its engagements in the rural areas outside the capital as well as its engagement with diversified stakeholders.
Seventh, we commend DGC’s initiatives on coordinated crisis communications and awareness raising to protect the civilians and inspiring fund raising and humanitarian support during the conflicts. We welcome the initiative of DGC to work with DOS to introduce a standing surge capacity that will allow for the rapid deployment of communications staff to crises in the field. We also request DGC to raise awareness on the atrocity crimes committed against the Rohingyas in Myanmar.
Eighth, during the pandemic, we have seen the surge in use of digital services in almost every sector. At the same time, we have witnessed how digital divide creating inequality among the society. We need to accelerate DGC’s work to address the digital divide among developed and developing countries as well as inside the country.
Before concluding, I would like to reiterate our full support to the work of the Committee on Information and looking forward to the adoption of the resolutions.
I thank you Mr. Chair.