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Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
Speech

2 octobre 2013
Geneva Launch of the UN Handbook

Welcome remarks by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva

Geneva Launch of the UN Handbook

Palais des Nations, E-building
Wednesday, 2 October at 18:15

Dear Ambassador Ellis
Distinguished Ambassadors
Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to the Palais des Nations for the launch of this year’s edition of the United Nations Handbook, published by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. I would like to thank Ambassador Ellis for the initiative to launch the publication in Geneva. Given the breadth of the work of the United Nations in Geneva, a large part of the book is devoted to the bodies and activities here. It is only appropriate that it is launched in Geneva as well as in New York.

The UN Handbook is an institution in its own right. And as you can tell from the turn-out of Ambassadors here, it is a respected institution. It has guided generations of diplomats, activists, journalists and researchers in the complex labyrinth that is the United Nations. It has helped all our stakeholders towards a better understanding of the Organization and therefore a more meaningful involvement. I am glad to have this opportunity to commend New Zealand on the United Nations Handbook, and to express our appreciation for the continued commitment to the United Nations that it signifies.

Here at the United Nations Office at Geneva we know full well the importance and value of this publication. Our Library has every single edition since 1962 – over 50 editions! – in its holdings. And it remains, year after year, one of the most consulted works in the reference section.

There are those who think that with the Internet and Wikipedia, there is no longer the same need for reference works – or even for the libraries that make these works available. I totally disagree.

With the increased volume and pace of the information flow, the need for guidance to filter and organize the wealth of data available only grows. This is where user-friendly reference works such as the United Nations Handbook, and knowledge management centres such as the UNOG Library, provide an indispensable service. New tools assist. The UN Handbook App is an example of this. But the basic need for qualified professionals and expert platforms that can steer towards authoritative knowledge cannot be overstated in our information age.

Just as in previous years, I know that this year’s edition will find a wide – and grateful – audience, and help all our constituencies towards a deeper engagement with the United Nations.

I thank once again the distinguished Ambassadors for attending this important event.

Thank you very much for your attention.