“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.