(Check against delivery)Mr. Chair,
I would like to begin by congratulating you on your assumption of the Chair of the Fourth Committee, as well as the distinguished Bureau members. I would also like to express my delegation’s appreciation for the outstanding direction of Ms. Alison Smale, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, as well as the excellent work being carried out by the Department for Public Information. We greatly appreciate DPI’s efforts to fulfill its mandate in covering the United Nations’ core activities, including international peace and security, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, climate change, human rights, disarmament, and the UN Reform Initiative of the Secretary General, including Security Council reform.
There is no doubt that DPI is indispensable 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 DPI.
We believe the successful implementation of such reform will make DPI “More Relevant to All People”. The DPI reform will, of course, be implemented in a costneutral manner and through dialogues between member states. In this regard, my delegation appreciated the informal briefing by USG Smale on 29 August when she updated member states on the progress of the reform. We will continue to follow these reform efforts and assist wherever possible to expedite the process.
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.
On our part, UNIC Tokyo plays the critical role of disseminating information about the vital work of the UN to the Japanese public, strengthening partnerships with business and the financial sector, and enhancing the work of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee. In her capacity as director, Ms. Kaoru Nemoto continues to expertly guide the activities of UNIC Tokyo, which actively 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 comedians. In its own way, laughter is peace. This collaboration has since expanded to highlight SDGs through comedic performances and at international film festivals hosted in Okinawa and Kyoto, the latter of which Mr. Jeff Brez of DPI kindly attended last week. Ms. Nemoto brought a delegation to attend the last DPI=NGO Annual Conference to share their achievement, which was met with well-earned applause and laughter. Thanks to this cooperation, many elementary and junior high school students now seriously discuss the SDGs in their classrooms, some of whom have even visited me personally to share their insights and ideas.
Along similar lines, my delegation also notes the outstanding work of the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, led by Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, and welcomes its latest Youth Strategy introduced at the High Level Week in September.
We believe that 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 DPI’s recent and notable video productions, such as the “Service and Sacrifice” series and “UN in Action,” through which DPI successfully connected global audiences with the realities of the field.
To support the concept of Sustaining Peace proposed by the Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, 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 DPI, like-minded member states and NGO-DPI Youth Representatives, carried out eight events in the last year and a half. At each event we posed the question: “What does peace mean to you?” And, in response, guests inscribed their own messages of peace on customized postcards using their respective mother languages.
“Peace is…” ended on a high note in August of this year not because we exhausted ideas or resources, but because we believed in the value of closing one great chapter in order to carry momentum for change into the next. We were able to collect more than one thousand postcards with “one thousand hopes and prescriptions for Peace.” Now, the time has come to follow through and implement them.
For instance, Brazil and Japan, together with former co-hosts of “Peace is…,” commenced an informal and open-ended gathering on the topic of UN Public Diplomacy. We have held two meetings so far, with the second hosted by the Brazilian Mission and focused on Social Media best practices. Our meeting was buoyed by the support of Ms. Nancy Groves and her excellent team from DPI. I hope I am not the only one who feels the growing urgency of the need to catch up with rapid developments in social media. We, myself included, learned a lot from the workshop to reinforce the capabilities of Japan Mission in a complimentary manner with other Missions and DPI. Our third meeting is scheduled for the last week of October at the Netherlands Mission where anyone is welcome to join.
Before closing, I feel obliged to briefly touch upon the topic of multilingualism. For 12 years now, my delegation has hosted a Haiku Contest at the UNIS. This year, with Mr. Thaos Giannakopoulos, Director of Dag Hammarskjold Library attending as a guest of honor, the contest has expanded to include both Spanish and French language categories. Haiku, with its 5-7-5 syllable structure, is also well suited for use on social media. Even a deeply traditional form of Japanese culture like Haiku can flourish through multilingualism. Keeping these examples in mind, we will endeavor to support multilingualism in more creative and inclusive ways.
There is no doubt that the United Nations will continue to stand as a key organ to tackle unprecedented global challenges. DPI’s mandate to promote the activities of the UN is thus more important than ever before. I therefore wish to conclude by reaffirming the strong support of my delegation for the Department of Public Information.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.