JUNIC, an annual gathering of heads of Information units
in UN agencies and programs was targeted for abolition in new
"Too many items on the menu and very little cooking," was the
expression used by dismissive experts just before a meeting of
agency heads at the Administrative Committee on Coordination.
Some senior DPI officials were advised at the time by somewhat
determined "policymakers" not to resist the winds of progressive
change. That was the final answer.
Well, UNIC met in Geneva in early July, and decided that a new
name will go a long way towards meeting new requirements. It will
henceforth be known as the "Communications Consultations Bureau"
or something to that effect. Actually, it is back to the future.
The original name, in the 1970s, was Consultative Committee on
Public Information (CPPI). Reform proposals in the 1980s transformed
it---with the exact same people-into Joint UN Information Committee
(JUNIC). The good news is that the Information professionals always
manage to survive mainly because their critics realize that in
a crunch they need them for basic survival.
Another positive hint is the election of Christine Engfeldt,
FAO Communications Chief, as chairperson of the new group. Engfeldt
also worked for HABITAT in Nairobi, and is an experienced professional
with an overall UN approach and an innate talent for building
consensus. She will certainly do her best to inject a dynamic
focus on urgent communications issues and carry everyone on board.