United Nations
Information Centre | Nepal
UN Information Centre
5/31/2017 3:32:05 PM

“The United Nations cannot achieve the purposes for which it has been created unless the peoples of the world are fully informed of its aims and activities. In order to insure that peoples in all parts of the world receive as full information as possible about the United Nations, the Department of Public Information should consider the establishment of branch offices at the earliest practicable date.” [A/Res/13(I), Annex.].

This statement is as valid today as it was in 1946 when the General Assembly set out the terms of reference for the activities of the Department of Public Information (DPI). The first nine United Nations Information Centres (UNICs) were established in 1946-1947 [JIU/REP/79/10]. Today, the network of 63 United Nations information centres (UNICs), services (UNIS) and offices (UNOs) link the UN Headquarters with people around the world.

Information centres are the principal local sources of public information about the United Nations system. They strengthen their information presence and enhance communications efforts at the national level and within regions through the use of information and communication technologies, by building partnerships, and by adopting strategic communications approaches to field work.
 
United Nations information centres are responsible for promoting greater public understanding and support for the aims and activities of the United Nations and for disseminating information on the work of the Organization to local populations, especially in developing countries.
 
At present, one of the main tasks of UNICs is to promote awareness of the Millennium Development Goals: the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, ensuring access to primary education, promoting of gender equality, empowerment of women, reduction of child mortality, improvement of maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases, protecting the environment, and the attainment of a global partnership for development.

UNIC Kathmandu
A view of the building which houses the offices of the United Nations Technical Assistance Board and information Centre in Kathmandu, Nepal. --- KATHMANDU, Nepal, November 1964. UNIC Kathmandu is located in the UN House where most of the UN agencies in Nepal are also located. However, UNIC is previledged to have a separate entrance for visitors to facilitate their access into the Centre – be it to consult the reference library; to attend press conferences or for information seeking purposes.
 
UNIC undertakes extensive press activities, such as organizing press conferences for visiting UN officials, and for other UN agencies located in Nepal. It prepares joint statements for the UN Country Team on various important issues and disseminates statements of the UN Secretary-General and other press releases/news/articles/reports coming from UN Headquarters. It is fully accessible to media persons during entire office hours and round the clock by telephone.
 
[Photo: A view of the building which houses the offices of the United Nations Technical Assistance Board and information Centre in Kathmandu, Nepal. --- KATHMANDU, Nepal, November 1964.]
 
The Centre takes lead responsibility in coordinating the UN agencies in observing various UN Days as identified by the UN Country Team. UNIC chairs the Information Working Group (IWG), a network comprising of Information Officers from UN agencies in Nepal which has been mandated by the UNCT to coordinate public information-sharing among the UN agencies. It assists in the launching of various UN reports in Nepal and organizes workshops, seminars and participates in book exhibitions.
 
UNIC conducts educational outreach activities in different parts of the country and provides UN publications to various educational institutions and community libraries.
 
The Centre is equipped with audio-visual products which are widely disseminated to the media. The Centre screens films and documentaries pertaining to development and politics for the media persons, UN staff and the general public. UNIC is also is the medium through which groups, organizations and individuals submit their memorandum or petition to draw the UN’s attention to various issues.
 
UN Digital Repository in Nepal 
 
The United Nations Information Center in Kathmandu, Nepal, has launched an initiative to create an inventory of United Nations Knowledge -- a unique digital collection of all the United Nations reports and documents related to Nepal, from 1951 till date. Known as the United Nations Digital Repository in Nepal (UNDRN), this scheme is first of its kind in Nepal and follows an extensive process known as Knowledge Management to collect, develop and share the wealth of data available.
 
Currently, these reports are either available in print at the UNIC reference library in the UN House or are scattered in various UN agencies. Therefore, without an electronic intervention, the conventional library limits people to the physical document and lacks instantaccessibility. An online repository is an ideal way to preserve the growing volume of publications produced by UN agencies each year and ensure efficient accessibility without cost to everyone from anywhere. This ventureis intended to significantly amplify the circulation of UN’s publications and help raise public awareness of the Organization’s work in Nepal. This project also aims to manage knowledge and preserve institutional memory through electronic resources. 

United Nations Information Centers around the world are the principal local sources of public information about the United Nations, enabling the general community, journalists, non-government organizations and students to obtain information. The online repository will develop and maintain a comprehensive collection of digital materials including reference materials of the UN and its Specialized Agencies, official and mimeographed documents, DPI publications etc. The accumulated data will follow a cataloguing protocol introduced by Dag Hammarskjöld Library, United Nations Department of Public Information in New York.

The online repository is a knowledge database that can be accessed through www.un.info.np. The database is currently under construction and access is limited to those involved. Data is uploaded by UNIC and UN agencies and will be verified for accuracy by agency focal persons. The UNDRN will be launched to public by June 2015. However, since Nepal only has a 31.69% internet penetration rate (NTA April 2014) which is around 2.6 million people, an offline version of the UNDRN will be made available at UN Corners, universities, colleges and organization clubs that will be promoted via extensive information campaigns. UN Digital Repository can be requested to install offline database in intranet of educational institution. The database can also be accessed from portable devices such as smart phones and tablets. Documents can also be listed automatically using web services of UN Digital Repository. It is especially designed for United Nations agencies to list all their documents available on their website and automatically onto the repository. 

There are around 2.3K documents uploaded till date by enthusiastic interns at UNIC. Currently, there are seven interns working alongside theUNIC team. The interns work for the generation of metadata; they essentially feed or upload reports, publications, posters, press releases and other official manuscripts of the UN in Nepal to the database. The goal is to achieve 10 K documents by the release date. Other interns are involved in promotion packaging, article writing, reference library management and the ICT engineering aspect of the venture. The team is composed of energetic youths from various backgrounds such as engineering, social work, literature and journalism. The internship has high female participation.

The software of the repository has been developed by UNIC Kathmandu and the data center is also maintained by the team. The server is present at the UN House which makes the process of using the online repository more efficient, particularly in terms of cost and accessibility. This allows the team to establish offline database at UN corners and other locations. The team is also currently backing up all the data to two servers in Nepal while simultaneously generating it. The in-city back-up server is located at the UNICEF ROSA Office and the off-site or off-city back-up server is located at the UNICEF Office outside Kathmandu. This back-up measure fundamentally safeguards information from natural calamities and digital mishaps. 

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