Closer to the World
Sergio da Silva, UNOG/ICTS
A web site is the face of an organization. It displays and describes what the organization does, it also reflects the organizational behaviour and how it evolves. The decision of creating a completely new web site leads to understand the motivations, which led to its preparation. To talk to us about that, we invited Ms. Leila Benkirane, Chef de Cabinet of the UNOG Director-General.
A new UNOG web site is under preparation. How did the project get started?
Leila Benkirane: The Director-General, who has a strong personal interest in information and communications technologies, started the project. He wanted to make sure that the many activities and strengths of UNOG are presented as well as possible to the many people that we service. Now that the project is under way, the Director-General follows each stage very carefully and is keen to see the new site go live.
Are there changes in the presentation of the site or in the content of the pages? What are the objectives of the new web site?
There are changes both in the presentation and the content of the site, in fact the UNOG web site is being completely redeveloped! My hope, and the objective of the project, is to eventually see a brand new dynamic and attractive UNOG web site that attracts a wide variety of users, from Government representative, the UN system and NGOs to academic experts and students. The new site will raise the profile of UNOG and inform the international community and our Host Country of our particular services and our contribution to the work of the UN as a whole.
Will there be new headers?
Absolutely! The content for the new site has been carefully put together following consultations with and input from every contributing department/section. It will be a site for all of UNOG. This reorganization and expansion included labelling and the careful choice of words to indicate the different content groups. We have taken special care to ensure that the different headers are enhanced by complimentary designs and images.
What is the orientation you plan to implement for the future of this site?
Well, to be honest I want to make more progress before we put a definite plan in place. I like to believe that orientation and use of the site will be perfectly clear once you click on. If we have done our job well then there should be no formal training required on how to use the site!
What is the role of the web site for such an organization as the UN? Which criteria have been established?
In this day and age, the web site is without a doubt one of the most important information sources for the UN. You only have to check the statistics of the New York web site to appreciate its usefulness. I understand that it is one of the most popular web sites in the world. Our Organization has offices in the furthest corners of the world, in remote and sometimes difficult locations. When, for example, our staff in Faizabad, Afghanistan, need access to the most up-to-date information, such as the latest Security Council resolution, the Internet is an essential tool. We want this web site to present information clearly and logically, in an easily accessible manner. It is very important that all information on the new site is up to date and constantly reviewed. New information, whether it be the latest conference or exhibition must be showcased so that all users are aware and informed of our work and the constant activity of the Palais des Nations.
Will you maintain the web site proactively?
We have established a Content Management System that will enable each section/department to update and change information in their respective fields of expertise as and when required. The maintenance of information will lie within each department/section, and we will ensure that they have the tools to do it! Yes, we will be looking at the statistics very closely. They are the best indication of how useful the site is to its users. I would like to allow the site a certain period of time after its launch to enable the word to spread and then sit down with my team to review and analyse the results. Naturally, changes and updates will be made accordingly.
How do you see the importance of IT in the Office of the Director- General and UNOG in general?
We place the use of information technology very high on the agenda within the ODG. In fact, we have our very own IT focal point, responsible for keeping the entire office up-to-date with the latest programmes and facilities, as well as ensuring that our staff are well trained.
IT is very important in an office such as ours. The use of a simple technology such as e-mail is now taken for granted, and I cannot imagine our lives without it. Here in ODG we deal with a variety of clients ranging from Permanent Missions to NGOs to academics and the Secretary-General himself. Communication is a key part of our work and we would not be able to function with the same level of efficiency were it not for information technology.
We service the Member States of the United Nations, many of whom request the assistance of the Director-General and UNOG as a forum for communication. This is only a simple example; IT is a key element, which contributes to the success of our activities. You would require several more editions of Tech- News for me to detail the importance of IT to UNOG as a whole. Perhaps a simpler way to find out would be to check out the new UNOG web site later this year!
Thank you for meeting with us today!