Statement by H.E. Ambassador Yasuhisa Kawamura, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the 40th Session of the Committee on Information

(As delivered)
Mr. Chair,
 
          First, I would like to express our deep gratitude to the Chair of the Committee on Information, Ambassador Jan Kickert and his bureau for their dedicated work and strong leadership.
          I would also like to extend my personal and warm welcome to Ms. Alison Smale, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications to her first opening meeting of the Committee on Information. My delegation counts on you to guide and navigate us toward better UN Global Communications at this critical threshold.
 

Mr. Chair,
 
          There is no doubt that DPI is instrumental to the United Nations as the principal department which communicates the work and achievements of the Organization to the world’s diverse audiences. To this end, Japan supports the initiative of USG Smale to carry out the reform of the DPI. To begin with, the name of the department will be changed from Public Information to Global Communications. I understand that this change will be more than just cosmetic, requiring also a reallocation of responsibilities within the department.
 
          The DPI reforms will, of course, be implemented in a cost neutral manner. That said, I would like to stress three points I hope will be taken into consideration for the reform process. First, that existing resources within the department, such as those from UNICs and Dag Hammarskjold Library, will be reviewed for further utilization; Second, that partnerships with outside stakeholders will be explored; and third, that UN operations and public information should go hand in hand.
 
 
Mr. Chair,
                               
          The crucial work of DPI could not reach the widest possible audience without its vast global network of UN Information Centers, each of which provides information on the activities of the UN to local populations in their own languages. I would like to commend the Strategic Communication Division, with Ms. Nanette Brown as OIC, for their management of field offices and the network of UN Information Centers, including UNIC Tokyo.
 
          UNIC Tokyo also functions as UN Resident Coordinator in Japan, strengthening partnerships with business and the financial sector, as well as the Tokyo2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee. In her capacity as director, Ms. Kaoru Nemoto continues to actively and expertly guide the activities of UNIC Tokyo, which promotes greater support for the United Nations throughout Japan in a compelling and creative manner. For instance, UNIC Tokyo partnered with Yoshimoto Kogyo, one of the largest entertainment agencies in Japan, to promote the SDGs with the help of Japanese featured performers. This collaboration has been expanding to highlight SDGs through public performances and at its international film festival in Okinawa, the latter of which Mr. Jeff Brez of DPI kindly attended two weeks ago. Thanks to this cooperation, young generations in particular, many elementary and junior high school students now seriously discuss how the SDGs could be implemented and what role those young people should play in their everyday lives in the discussions in the classrooms. Last year, those young students came over to me in New York all the way from Japan in order to share their insights and ideas.
 
          Another existing resource of DPI is Dag Hammarskjold Library. I was recently informed of the “Spotlight Series” initiative by the Library. It would be nice if diplomats and UN staff could get together in the reading room to freely discuss the ideal role of the UN utilizing the venue of Dag Hammarskjold Library.
 
 
Mr. Chair,
 
          The significance of partnerships cannot be over-emphasized. In the interest of time, I would like to touch on just one point. UN Academic Impact (UNAI) is a useful platform to align institutions of higher education with the United Nations. We are proud to report that the number of Japanese universities and colleges involved in UNAI has now risen to 51.  UNAI encourages greater interest by the Japanese youth about the global challenges the UN and the international community currently face.
          My delegation also notes the outstanding work of the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, led by Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, and hopes to continue expanding our collaboration in a meaningful way.
 
 
          Fruitful partnerships have also shown their effectiveness as exemplified by the work of the News Media Division. For instance, the UN NEWS mobile app provides updates on the latest work of the UN, wherever it is undertaken. In fact, a Japanese correspondent recently wrote a story on demining in Somalia, which was based on an article appearing in UN NEWS. I commend the collaboration between Outreach and News Media—two Divisions that found common cause in reinforcing partnership.
 
 
Mr. Chair,
 
          Third and last, UN operations and public information should go hand in hand, with words supporting deeds, and vice versa. In this regard, I would like to commend the “Service and Sacrifice” series with which DPI connected PKO in the field with global audiences.
          To support the concept of Sustaining Peace proposed by the Secretary-General, my delegation launched the “Peace is…” initiative last April. Focusing on art and culture as a medium through which everyone can better connect with the UN and its objectives, Japan, together with the DPI, like-minded member states and NGO-DPI Youth Representatives, carried out six events so far. I would like to reiterate our gratitude to all stakeholders for their contributions. The next and seventh Peace is… event on 18 May will focus on tea cultures of the world, with Ms. Nanette Brown of the DPI as our MC, and in support of the STI Forum co-chaired by Mexico and Japan from the viewpoint of advancing the SDGs.
 
 
Mr. Chair,
 
          There is no doubt that the United Nations will continue to stand as a premier venue for tackling unprecedented global challenges. DPI’s mandate to promote the activities of the UN is thus more important than ever before. I conclude by reaffirming the strong support of my delegation for Ms. Alison Smale and her Department of Public Information.
 
Thank you, Mr. Chair.