13 July 2005
I am very pleased to be with you at the official handover ceremony for the digitized UN documents file made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for inclusion in the Official Document System of the United Nations. At the outset, I would like to thank the staff of the Dag Hammarskjold Library for arranging this delightful ceremony.
Let me touch very briefly upon the chain of events leading to the realization of this donation of documents. The Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Division of UN Administration has a subsidiary one-person unit charged with the acquisition and collection of UN documents. The documents being deposited today are the result of several years of dedicated work on the part of this unit, called the “UN Documentation Unit”. The successive staff members of the unit created these files for the use of the Ministry, but until now they had remained unused as files on the unit’s computer.
Last February, the director of the UNIC in Tokyo, Mr. Akio Nomura, became aware of the existence of this hidden treasure and asked the Ministry to use it for a retrospective expansion of the Official Document System. I feel certain that Mr. Nomura must be very proud of this achievement, and am also glad that the results of the Unit’s long and laborious work are now seeing the light of day in the UN.
These digitized files, stored on 38 CDs, contain more than 30,000 documents and include documents of the UN’s three main bodies, the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, dating from the 1970s and 1980s.
We are aware that the Department of Public Information, under the leadership of Under-Secretary-General Mr. Shashi Tharoor, has taken the lead in striving for reform in the Secretariat. Among the various improvements made to date, I believe that quite a few people feel that the UN website has improved substantially. I am pleased to note that, since last December, access to the Official Document System has been provided free to the public through its integration with the UN website, which remarkably recorded more than 2.3 billion hits during 2004.
We are pleased to note that DPI has been so successful in publicizing the activities of the UN among people all around the world. As this document donation shows, Japan, for its part, also intends to continue to work in cooperation with the UN Secretariat and the Member States to strengthen and improve UN public information activities.