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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

59th Session of the UN General Assembly - Questions relating to information

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Mr. Chairman.

Allow me to congratulate you and your bureau on your election to the important task of chairing this committee during this session.

My delegation welcomes the report of the Secretary-General on this subject, as contained in document A/59/221, as well as the report on the twenty-sixth session of the Committee on Information, contained in document A/59/21. Iceland is looking forward to being accepted as a new member of the Committee on Information and we intend to participate in the important and challenging work of that committee.

Informing the world about the United Nations, its role and mission, its structure and work, is central to the future of the organization. The Department of Public Information, under the able leadership of Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor, has done outstanding work and is adjusting to a changing environment. We are positive towards the department’s new mission statement and we support the new operating model and organizational structure.

My government has already reacted to this by increasing support for the United Nations Association in Iceland and its information activities.

Iceland believes that reaching out to those that have not yet had the fortune to be informed should be a priority and an obligation. Reaching out to and communicating with new generations is a cornerstone for the future of the United Nations family.

We must therefore have at least two things in mind:

Firstly; the issue of the digital divide must be addressed. There is, unfortunately, in this world a clear gulf between the "haves" and the "have-nots". Likewise there is an increasing division between the "know´s and the know-not´s". It is a challenge for future development cooperation projects to take this issue head on.

Secondly; reaching and teaching new generations should have a priority. It is therefore especially encouraging to learn that the work of the DPI has been a great support to educational programs like the Model United Nations and the Cyberschoolbus, which are a continuing success. For your information, a Model UN meeting will be held in Iceland this coming weekend, with the financial support of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Here at the UN, we should not be afraid to embrace new technology, nor should we in other fields of education and information. The young generation is certainly not afraid of adopting the latest tools of the information technology. Neither should we.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.



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