Managing relationships with national and international media is one of the major activities of the Strategic Communications & Public Information Unit. Beyond press releases that help inform journalists and partners about what does the Office, the Head of the Strategic Communications & Public Information Unit organizes interviews with national and international media, as well as press conferences and all other events that may promote a better understanding of the mandate and priorities of UNOCA. Similarly, he/she sets up and follows the strategic partnerships that can contribute to achieving the Office missions. Moreover, the regular updating of the website, production of brochures, leaflets, posters and other printed materials are part of the responsibilities of the Public Information Officer (PIO). He/She also oversees the preparation of a diverse range of information communications products for the Office, including the drafting of speeches.
The document issued by the UN in 2008 on the principles and guidelines of Peacekeeping Operations notes that "the Head of Public Information must be a key actor in the process of decision making within a mission." This directive applies to political missions, including UNOCA where it results, among others, to the participation of the Head of the Strategic Communications & Public Information Unit in the meetings of the Senior Management Group (SMG). She/se shares with the members of this body, initiatives and actions developed to accompany and support the implementation of the mandate of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of Mission, to whom, in addition, he provides advice on issues related to media relations and communication.
The PIO also serves as a Spokesperson/principal liaison to media organizations, governmental bodies, national groups, private sector organizations, educational organizations, international organizations, etc. As such, and on behalf of the Head of the Mission, he/she could speak to the press on issues related to the mandate of the Office. In consultation with the Head of Mission, he/she could also organize the intervention of other colleagues in the media. On 12 June 2012 for example, he supervised the interview of the Senior Military Adviser with "Radio Gabon". The interview was focused on maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, an issue for which the Senior Military Adviser is a Focal point.
Furthermore, the development of information campaigns, the participation in public lectures and exhibitions are part of the main priorities of the Unit as well as the strengthening of the internal communication. The Head of the Strategic Communications & Public Information Unit also plays a key role in the coordination of activities aimed at promoting the UN values and the visibility of the actions of Agencies, Funds and Programmes of the UN based in the region covered by the Office.
Globally, the Head of Strategic Communications & Public Information Unit, who works under the supervision of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of Mission, should regularly inform the Office of the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General about the activities of UNOCA. This allows him to plan his daily briefings. In this context, cooperation with colleagues from the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and those of the Department of Public Information (DPI) is important. An official business in New York in June 2012 and May 2014 enabled the Public Information Officer to strengthen these working relationships. In the same spirit, his regular participation in the Biannual/Annual Meeting of the Heads of Strategic Communications & Public Information from Political and Peacekeeping Missions around the world is useful, including those held in April 2012 and May 2014 in Entebbe (Uganda), in February 2016 in Dakar (Senegal) and in June 2017 in Brindisi (Italia).
An Administrative Assistant provides crucial support to the Head of the Strategic Communications & Public Information Unit. As soon as possible, the Unit will also welcome an additional staff, a National professional Officer, who will contribute to the implementation of our missions.