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United Nations Documents Resource Spotlight

Official Documents System (ODS)

The Official Document System (ODS) is the repository of the United Nations parliamentary documents in six official UN languages. It includes documents of the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and their subisidiaries, as well as administrative issuances and other official content. 

UN Pulse on the Sustainable Development Goals supporting the efforts of the UN and its partners to build a better world with no one left behind. 

•       Goals 1 & 2: No Poverty, and Zero Hunger: https://tmblr.co/ZE4p7x216Kw3W

•       Goals 3 & 4: Good Health and Well-Being, and Quality Education: https://tmblr.co/ZE4p7x249odrz

•       Goal 5 & 6: Gender Equality, and Clean Water and Sanitation: https://tmblr.co/ZE4p7x249zJiw

•       Goal 7 & 8: Affordable and Clean Energy, and Decent Work and Economic Growth: https://tmblr.co/ZE4p7x24A1zaH

•       Goals 9 & 10: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and Reduced Inequalities: https://tmblr.co/ZE4p7x24A65Y1

•       Goals 11 & 12: Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Responsible Consumption and Production: https://tmblr.co/ZE4p7x24AAKhO

•       Goal 13: Climate Action: https://tmblr.co/ZE4p7x24AGYpO

•       Goals 14 & 15: Life below Water, and Life on Land: https://tmblr.co/ZE4p7x24AHh38

•       Goals 16 & 17: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and Partnerships for the Goals: https://tmblr.co/ZE4p7x24AIvMT

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

With 197 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties. 

The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

United Nations Treaty Collection

1. Status of Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General

Status of over 560 major multilateral instruments deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Covers a range of subject matter such as Human Rights, Disarmament, Commodities, Refugees, the Environment and the Law of the Sea.

2. United Nations Treaty Series (December 1946 - July 2013)

A collection of treaties and international agreements registered or filed and recorded with and published by the Secretariat since 1946, pursuant to Article 102 of the Charter. The collection currently contains over 200,000 treaties and related subsequent actions which have been published in hard copy in over 2,700 volumes.

3. League of Nations Treaty Series (10 January 1920 - 18 April 1946) (under development)

A collection of treaties and subsequent treaty actions registered with and published by the Secretariat of the League of Nations pursuant to Article 18 of its Covenant. It contains the texts of treaties and records of subsequent treaty actions published in 205 volumes of the League of Nations Treaty Series.

4. United Nations Treaty Series Cumulative Index

Continues the practice of the League of Nations. A volume of the United Nations Treaty Series Cumulative Index is issued for every fifty volumes of the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS).

5. Summary of Practice of the Secretary-General as Depositary of Multilateral Treaties

This on-line publication prepared by the Treaty Section of the Office of Legal Affairs highlights the main features of the practice followed by the Secretary-General in the daily exercise of depositary functions. Contains models of instruments, depositary notifications, etc.

6. Monthly Statements of treaties and International Agreements

This publication contains detailed record of treaties and related subsequent treaty actions which were registered or filed and recorded with the Secretariat on a given month.


The History of Zika Virus: A resource by the World Health Organization that explains the history of the Zika virus from 1947 to 2016

International Law

United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals. Online Exhibition: A Glimpse into the Archives


The International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda (ICTR) and for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) laid the foundation for modern international criminal justice. Their archives, now in the custody of the Mechanism, contain thousands of judicial records, including documents filed by parties and non-parties, exhibits tendered into evidence during trials, maps, transcripts of the proceedings, photographs, and audiovisual recordings of court hearings.

This online exhibition offers a glimpse of these records. The 10 items displayed here illustrate the diversity of records, which document the judicial process while also depicting specific events that are part of larger contexts. The archives also help to make tangible the complexity of the events that took place in Rwanda and in the former Yugoslavia.

UN in General

Getting Started with the SDGs in Cities: A Guide for Stakeholders (July 2016)


This guide, jointly developed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the German government, outlines how cities and human settlements can get started with implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).



Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2016: Taking on Inequality (World Bank)

The Poverty and Shared Prosperity series provides a global audience with the latest and most accurate estimates on trends in global poverty and shared prosperity, as well as in-depth research into policies and interventions that can make a difference for the world’s poorest. The 2016 edition takes a close look at the role that inequality reduction plays in ending extreme poverty and improving the livelihoods of the poorest in every country. It looks at recent country experiences that have been successful in reducing inequality, provides key lessons from those experiences, and synthesizes the rigorous evidence on public policies that can shift inequality in a way that bolsters poverty reduction and shared prosperity in a sustainable manner. In doing so, the report addresses some myths about the global picture of inequality, and what works to reduce it.

Sustainable Development

Global Sustainable Development Report 2016 (DESA)

This Report is an assessment of a broad array of scientific literature pertaining to the sustainable development agenda. It was prepared by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and draws on the technical expertise of 245 scientist and experts.



Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals: Report of the Secretary-General (E/2016/75, 3 June 2016)

This report is the first annual report on the topic of Sustainable Development Goals. It provides a global overview of the current situation regarding the Sustainable Development Goals, on the basis of the latest available data for indicators in the proposed global framework. The report provides information on the methodologies used for the compilation of global indicators as well as an overview of data availability and statistical challenges.

United Nations E-Government Survey 2016: E-Government in Support of Sustainable Development (DESA / DPADM)

cid:_1_0CEA4E600C44D5940053A1CE8525800AThis report offers a snapshot of trends in the development of e-government in countries across the globe. It provides new evidence that e-government has the potential to help support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). The Survey indicates a positive global trend towards higher levels of e-government development as countries in all regions are increasingly embracing innovation and utilizing new ICTs to deliver services and engage people in decision-making processes.



Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization (A/71/1)

English, French & Spanish

This is the tenth and final annual report by the UN Secretary General to the Member States on the work of the United Nations.

Peace and Security

Security Council open debate on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
English, French & Spanish

The Security Council held an open debate on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction on 23 August 2016. The Security Council President for August, Malaysia, has prepared this concept note.

Report of the Middle East Quartet

Report produced by the United Nations and its diplomatic partners in the Middle East peace process. This is the first report of its kind to analyze the impediments to a lasting resolution to the Palestinian–Israeli conflict. It offers recommendations on the way forward, urging Israel to stop its settlement policy, and Palestine to end incitement to violence. The Middle East Quartet is comprised of the UN, Russia, the United States and the European Union.

Concept note for the Security Council briefing on the terrorist threat to civil aviation     

The Security Council held a briefing on 22 September 2016 on “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts”.  The Security Council President for September, New Zealand, has prepared this concept note.

The Conflict Did Not Bring Us Flowers: The need for comprehensive reparations for conflict-related sexual violence in Kosovo (UN WOMEN)

Reparations for conflict-related sexual violence remain a pressing issue in many parts of the world. The Conflict Did Not Bring Us Flowers brings the voices of survivors of sexual violence during the 1998-1999 armed conflict in Kosovo to the foreground, and proposes measures for the development of comprehensive reparations for survivors.

Economic and Social Development

Global Education Monitoring Report 2016 (UNESCO)

Press releases & infographics

The 2016 GEM Report is the first of a new 15-year series. It shows that education will not deliver its full potential to catapult the world forward unless participation rates dramatically improve, learning becomes a lifelong pursuit and education systems fully embrace sustainable development.

State of Least Developed Countries 2016 (UN-OHRLLS)

According to a report launched by UN-OHRLLS in New York on 13 September 2016, the world’s 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have experienced some positive developments, yet challenges remain with new risks and uncertainties threatening development gains. The State of Least Developed Countries 2016, by the Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, highlights how progress towards graduation from the LDC category has accelerated with 10 LDCs currently in the graduation process. The report analyses coherence and synergies within the Sustainable Development Goals, stressing commonalities between the Istanbul Program of Action for Least Developed Countries (IPoA) and Agenda 2030 and calling for an integrated approach to collective implementation.

The State of the World’s Children 2016: A fair chance for every child (UNICEF)


Every child has the right to health, education and protection, and every society has a stake in expanding children’s opportunities in life. Yet, around the world, millions of children are denied a fair chance for no reason other than the country, gender or circumstances into which they are born. “The State of the World’s Children 2016” argues that progress for the most disadvantaged children is not only a moral, but also a strategic imperative.



UN WOMEN Annual Report 2015-2016: Fast Forwarding to the Future We Want


“The Annual Report documents UN Women’s work to foster women’s empowerment and gender equality around the world. It highlights some of the organization’s initiatives during the year and provides summary financial statements, a list of new programs and projects, and contact information.



Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2016 (IAEA)

This publication provides a comprehensive review of the potential role of nuclear power in mitigating global climate change and its contribution to other economic, environmental and social sustainability challenges. The report also examines broader issues relevant to the climate change–nuclear energy nexus, such as costs, financing, safety, waste management and non-proliferation. Recent and future trends in the increasing share of renewables in overall electricity generation and its effect on nuclear power are also presented.



Ending Extreme Poverty: A Focus on Children (UNICEF / World Bank)

This briefing note from the World Bank Group and UNICEF finds that children in developing countries are more than twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty. The briefing note finds that in 2013, 19.5 per cent of children in 89 countries were living in households that survived on an average of US$1.90 a day per person or less, compared to just 9.2 per cent of adults. Globally, almost 385 million children were living in extreme poverty



Harnessing the Power of Data for Girls: Taking stock and looking ahead to 2030 (UNICEF)

Ahead of the International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October 2016, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released a report warning that the worldwide disparity between unpaid household chores assumed by girls aged five through 14 as compared to their male counterparts, amounts to 40 per cent more time – or 160 million more hours a day. The report underscores that the disproportionate burden of domestic work begins early, with girls between five and nine years old spending 30 per cent more time, or 40 million more hours a day, on household chores than boys their age. The gap grows as girls get older, with 10 to 14 year olds spending 50 per cent more time, or 120 million more hours each day. The report includes the first global estimates on the time girls spend doing household chores such as cooking, cleaning, caring for family members, and collecting water and firewood. It also notes that girls’ work is less visible and often undervalued.

The Cost of Air Pollution: Strengthening the Economic Case for Action (World Bank)

This joint study of the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) seeks to estimate the costs of premature deaths related to air pollution, to strengthen the case for action and facilitate decision making in the context of scarce resources. 



Free Prior and Informed Consent: An indigenous peoples’ right and a good practice for local communities; Manual for Project Practitioners

The United Nations agricultural agency unveiled a new manual on 10 October 2016 that seeks to ensure that indigenous peoples, custodians of more than 80 per cent of global biodiversity, are able to freely give or deny their consent in development interventions that affect their natural resources or their way of life. The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Manual on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) outlines essential steps that should be followed so that Indigenous Peoples are able to participate in a manner that is free of coercion and with the necessary information in a development project – from its design to sharing its achievements after it has been completed – prior to any decisions having been made.

World Economic and Social Survey 2016: Climate Change Resilience; an opportunity for reducing inequalities

 The World Economic and Social Survey 2016 contributes to the debate on the implementation challenges of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In addressing the specific challenge of building resilience to climate change, the Survey focuses attention on the population groups and communities that are disproportionately affected by climate hazards. It argues that, in the absence of transformative policies which coherently address the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development, building climate resilience will remain elusive and poverty and inequalities will worsen. 

World Social Science Report 2016, Challenging Inequalities – Pathways to a Just World (UNESCO)

The Report - launched on 22 September at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in Stockholm - highlights significant gaps in social science data about inequalities in different parts of the world and, to support progress towards more inclusive societies, calls for more robust research into the links between economic inequalities and disparities in areas such as gender, education and health. Full Report: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002458/245825e.pdf

Human Rights

A Call for Accountability and Protection: Yezidi Survivors of Atrocities Committed by ISIL (UNAMI/OHCHR)

A new United Nations report - released on 18 August 2016 - lays bare the widespread and systematic manner in which the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, Da’esh) has committed “terrible atrocities” against the Yezidi and other ethnic and religious communities. Compiled by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the report details heart-wrenching testimony of Yezidi survivors of ISIL atrocities in Iraq since the attack on Sinjar in August 2014, including accounts of systematic and widespread killings, sexual violence and sexual slavery, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, forced conversions and forced displacement, among other abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law. The report contains accounts of those who were among the 308,315 mostly Yezidis who fled Sinjar District. An estimated 360,000 Yezidi remain displaced, with a serious lack of badly needed psychological care.

Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/33/55, 11 August 2016)

In this latest report, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria notes how recent indiscriminate attacks on civilians, including on medical workers and facilities, blocked humanitarian convoys, enforced disappearances, summary executions, and other crimes committed by all parties to the conflict, have left Syrians in a state of despair.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights (A/HRC/33/48, 3 August 2016)

In this report, the United Nations expert on human rights and international sanctions, Idriss Jazairy, called for the creation of compensation commissions under the auspices of the UN, to help those affected by unilateral sanctions bring their claims against States or international organizations.

Death Penalty and the Victims (OHCHR)

This publication – launched on 21 September 2016 at the UN in New York - includes perspectives from a broad range of victims. While some of them are family members of crime victims, others are victims of human rights violations in application of the death penalty, of its brutality and traumatic effects. 




Leave No One Behind: A Call to Action for Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment; Report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment

The High-Level Panel (HLP) for Women’s Economic Empowerment presented its first findings to the UN Secretary-General at an event in New York on 22 September 2016, held in the context of the UN General Assembly. The HLP, created by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in January 2016, aims at placing women’s economic empowerment at the top of the global agenda to accelerate
progress under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Humanitarian Affairs

Beyond Detention: Progress Report mid-2016 (UNHCR)


Beyond Detention: Baseline Report - Detention situation as of end 2013 (UNHCR)

These two reports show that 12 countries taking part in a UNHCR strategy to end detention of asylum seekers and refugees have made important progress towards ending detention of children over the past two years. The strategy was launched two years ago to assist governments to tackle this important issue.

2015 OCHA Annual Report

2015 report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The report articulates responses to the humanitarian challenges and human suffering in all corners of the world.

Discussion Paper: Development approaches to displacement (UNDP)

This paper is developed as a reference document. Its objective is to provide a broad overview of UNDP’s offer of support with respect to protracted displacement. The document underlines the importance of investing in development approaches to displacement, providing a number of concrete examples from current and past programs.

Protecting cultural heritage: an imperative for humanity; acting together against destruction and trafficking of cultural property by terrorist and organized crime groups 

This report was presented on 22 September 2016 in parallel to the 71st session of the General Assembly in New York. The report is a response to the increase in terrorist attacks on, and destruction of, the cultural heritage of countries affected by armed conflict. Other relevant resources to this topic include: UNODC's knowledge management portal SHERLOC; and UNESCO’s Database of National Cultural Heritage Laws.



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