New York, 27 April 2016

Mr. Chair, Distinguished Delegates,

I would like to thank Ms. Cristina Gallach for her comprehensive statement at the beginning of this session. I would also like to congratulate you, Mr. Chair, on your election and ensure that Portugal stands ready to cooperate closely and constructively with you and all the new members of the Bureau, with the Department of Public Information and the whole of the Secretariat, regarding public information and multilingualism.

This brief statement is fully aligned with the one delivered yesterday by the European Union and I would just like to add some additional remarks in my national capacity.

We welcome and thank the Secretary General for the reports on Strategic communications services, News services, Outreach and knowledge services and the Proposed Strategic Framework for 2018 and 2019.

In the past months, the DPI continued to play its fundamental role in bringing the United Nations closer to the peoples whose lives it tries to improve, through its action for peace and security, sustainable development and Human Rights. Increasing knowledge, ownership and worldwide participation in the activities and initiatives related to the UN is our common goal and information and communication are absolutely critical in this regard. Therefore, we welcome DPI’s efforts in publicizing the activities and thereby the principles of the Organization to the widest possible audience, and we encourage the DPI to increasingly guide its activities according to the core principle of multilingualism.

In fact, when a truly global and inclusive audience cannot be reached, the aim should be to optimize the impact of what can and is being done. One way within reach to enlarge the potential impact of information outreach is to adequate the language and the message to its main targeted audiences.

Mr. Chair,

Portuguese is the common language of around 250 million people, spread across four continents. It is one of the most spoken languages in the world and is the most spoken language in the Southern hemisphere. We thus welcome the efforts of the DPI in working with the Portuguese language and strongly encourage its further use by the Department.

The United Nations Information Centers play a unique role in the promotion of what we could call the “UN brand”. Their increasing success pays tribute to the importance of multilingualism in the communication’s strategy of the UN and also responds for the overall positive perception of the Organization in public opinion. In particular, we would like to underline the role of the UN Regional Information Centre for Western Europe, operating in 13 languages, including Portuguese, and also of the UNIC Rio, in Brazil.

Portugal also welcomes the Department’s “regional focus on Africa, in support of the three pillars of the Organization’s work”, as set out in the overall orientation of the proposed strategic framework for the period 2018-2019. In this context, we would like to recall the decision to create a UN information center in Luanda “as a contribution towards addressing the needs of Portuguese-speaking African countries” and to reiterate that the very significant expression of the Portuguese language in Africa calls for a prompt implementation of this decision.

The Portuguese unit of the UN Radio continues to enjoy increasing interest by the general public, for both its daily broadcasting activity and its newer digital platforms, such as YouTube or Facebook. This success is another explicit and meaningful reminder of the real importance of multilingualism, alongside with the need to strike a balance between the use of digital platforms and traditional means of information and communication. We would also like to commend Rádio ONU for its efforts to further develop synergies, evident in the almost 20 new partnership agreements, including with Portuguese radio stations.

Finally we welcome the work of the DPI’s NGO Resource Centre in making available some printed and digital publications from the UN Secretariat, programmes and specialized agencies in Portuguese; and we look forward to having available the planned Portuguese version of the booklet on the International Decade for People of African Descent.

I conclude, Mr. Chair, by reiterating Portugal’s continued support to Ms. Gallach and to the work of the DPI and to express the willingness to fully and constructively cooperate during this 38th session of the Committee on Information.

I thank you for your attention.

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