MAY 5, 2018
|CREATIVE INITIATIVE: U.N. DELEGATES CONNECT WITH WEBSITE EXPERTS
An obvious indication of communications progress by U.N. Delegations was indicated clearly in a meeting held Monday, 30 April, on the invitation of Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, the
Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates. Announcing that: "When Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, he declared that it was for everyone. So is the U.N." She
added, "In considering how the international community guides the future of the Internet, it is important to recall the shared goal for it to be a force for good."
The participation of delegates handling Internet issues in their Permanent missions was a significant positive change from earlier Internet days when most delegates had ignored it.
When the U.N. launched its official website in 1994, most delegations and senior U.N. Secretariat officials abstained from providing either financial or political support. The head of
Department at the time, Samir Sanbar, had to find volunteers from within the Department as delegates refused to offer any budgetary allocations.
On the assumption that "Information
is Power," certain diplomats were weary of offering it to others until reminded that the U,N. Charter indicated the need of "informing the peoples of the United Nations" not merely
delegates. It took several years for www.un.org to became more widespread and reach the point of becoming one of ten most visited official websites. It was then that the full
membership went along and started approving budgetary allocations. It helped that initially the Department of Public Information arranged with upcoming Internet companies to
provide computers to delegations, free of charge, to entice some hesitant members.
An interesting question and answers period with interested, informed delegates raising relevant issues was held during the April 30 meeting by delegates and website
coordinators, including Oracle, ICANN, and others, gave a hopeful signal that the U.N. is entering
the Twenty-First Century.