May 2nd, 2007 06:31 EST
UN Website More To Be Thoroughly Multilingual
Delegates attending the United Nations Committee on Information meeting in New York today called for new measures to make the world body’s website more thoroughly multilingual.
Simon Pidoux of Switzerland said the UN Department for Public Information (DPI) should “continue its efforts to attain linguistic parity of the content of this Internet site in the different official languages of the United Nations.” In a speech whose text was made available in both English and French, he said his country, which has four official languages, naturally favours multilingualism.
Boris N, Malakhov of the Russian Federation pointed to statistics demonstrating a growing level of interest in the UN among Russian speakers. He suggested that webcasts of UN meetings be made available in Russian to meet this increasing demand. “At present, webcasts of the Security Council and the General Assembly, which are made in the English language with the original language added later, do not cover the demand of the multilingual audience for immediate access to urgent information,” he said.
Seeking a different kind of inclusiveness, Lee Do-hoon of the Republic of Korea said DPI should also “pay due attention to improving website accessibility for the disabled.”
Indonesia’s representative, Triyogo Jatmiko, welcomed the fact that Bahasa Indonesia is one of the 29 non-official languages in which the local United Nations information centre (UNIC) maintains a website. “The website in Bahasa Indonesia is a great source of United Nations information to our people, and we are thankful for it,” he said.
Speaking for Japan, Jiro Kodera voiced hope that UNIC Tokyo would continue to develop in the future, “as it is the only UN organization that provides information in the Japanese language.” He also announced that Japan would extend its voluntary contribution of 45.7 million yen to UNIC-Tokyo for 2007.
Nepal’s representative, Narayan Dev Pant, stressed the importance of UNICs and said the one in Kathmandu “needs to be upgraded and further strengthened in order to ultimately convert it into a regional hub.”
Hossein Maleki of Iran voiced appreciation for UNIC-Tehran for its good work despite budget constraints. “In this connection, we support the call for allocation of adequate resources to ensure the effective and efficient functioning and strengthening of all UNICs, including UNIC-Tehran,” he said.
Angola’s representative, Estevao Umba Alberto, urged DPI to “continue its efforts for the opening of the Luanda Centre to serve the special needs of developing countries,” adding that the Government would provide premises rent-free.
Other participants called for efforts to extend accessibility to technology in general. The Philippines called for efforts to bridge the digital divide. “We would like to see the DPI make full use of new technology to allow the public better and faster access to information about the UN,” said the country’s representative, Elmer G. Cato.
Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz of Cuba, which chairs the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), said “issues related to information and communications technology have an important place in the Movement’s agenda” and said NAM had set up a working group on the issue.