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United Nations Internet Resources

Basic Tools: Search Engines | UN Agency Catalogs | Research Guides

By Subject: Global Issues | Human Rights | Treaties | International Law | Statistics | Voting Information

By Organizational Structure: UN System Overview | Principal Organs | Specialized Agencies | Programmes and Funds | Research & Training Institutes | Regional Commissions | Joint Programmes & Offices | Civil Society & NGOs

This site is primarily intended for researchers interested in the structure and function of the United Nations system. For a quick guide to UN reference information please see the Basic Tools section or the link to Global Issues on the UN Agenda.


Basic Tools

Search Engines and Databases

The following search engines provide citations to and links to full-text of UN documents and publications. Search engines for other international organizations are listed on the IGO Full-Text Databases & Publications page

AccessUN -- UCB Access Only. Indexes current and retrospective United Nation documents from 1946. Most documents are included in the companion microfiche collection from 1984 (GREF Microfiche 10982.)

International Documents Search Engine. Custom Google search engine for hundreds of international organizations - excellent starting point for UN research, especially on difficult topics. By David Oldenkamp, Indiana University.

United Nations Human Rights Documents. From the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

UNBISnet. Most comprehensive database for UN documents & publications, from the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library. Includes speeches, voting records, and resolutions. Full text from 1993, bibliographic records from 1979.

United Nations Documentation Center. Full text resolutions and decisions and selected sessional documents, speeches, and press releases from the UN General Assembly, Security Council, Economic & Social Council.

UN-I-QUE. Ready reference database providing quick access to UN document symbols, focusing on documents of a recurrent nature: annual and periodic reports of commissions, legislative debate, etc.

United Nations Official Documents System. Full-text database of United Nations documents since 1993, as well as resolutions of the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council and the Trusteeship from 1946.

United Nations Yearbook Collection. Highly recommended as a starting point. UN Documentation is immense: the Yearbook provides a summary of key events and citations to important documents. Start with this for most UN research.


United Nations Agency Catalogs

The following are bibliographic databases for United Nations organizations, including specialized agencies. Full-text databases are listed on the IGO Full-Text Databases & Publications page.

FAOBIB: FAO Catalogue Online. Catalog of documents and publications produced by FAO since 1945, books added to the library since 1976, and serials held in the FAO library.

LABORDOC. Bibliographic Database of Documents and Publications of the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 1919.

International Digest of Health Legislation. Selection of national and international health legislation, with summaries in English. Links are provided to sites with the full text of the legislation if available. Supersedes the print version which was published from 1948-1999 at the Public Health Library: Public Hlth RA421.I47

JOLIS. Catalog of the Joint World Bank-International Monetary Fund Library. Includes books, journal articles, working papers, conferences, and technical reports.

UNESBIB. Bibliographic database of UNESCO documents/publications from UNESCO's regional offices, affiliated institutes, and the UNESCO library, from 1972.

UNISPAL: United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine. Searchable database of UN texts concerning the question of Palestine and other issues related to the Middle East situation.

WHOLIS. Indexes all World Health Organization publications from 1948 onwards as well as articles from WHO-produced journals and technical documents from 1985 to the present.


Research Guides

Global Issues on the UN Agenda. Excellent UN Ready Reference tool for links to online documents, agencies, and other resources on a wide range of important topics on the UN Agenda.

Model United Nations Research. From Chuck Eckman, former International Documents Librarian at Stanford University.

Research Guide: The United Nations. From the Columbia University Law School. Detailed information about UN documents, symbols, and publishing.

United Nations Documentation: Research Guide. (Dag Hammarskjöld Library). Overview of documents and publications of the UN and how to work with them. Includes a detailed description of UN document symbols.

United Nations Pathfinder (Dag Hammarskjöld Library). Subject guide to key United Nations publications covering international law, human rights, development, peacekeeping, and more.

United Nations Research Guide. Outstanding UN research guide from Mississippi State University.



By Subject

Global Issues

UN at a Glance. Introduction to the structure and work of the UN,

Global Issues on the UN Agenda
. Excellent UN Ready Reference tool for links to online documents, agencies, and other resources on a wide range of important topics on the UN Agenda.

United Nations Web Site. Includes links to the following:


Human Rights


See also the UC Berkeley library
Human Rights Research Guide and the Treaties section of this page.

Human Rights Internet. International NGO, documentation center, and publishing house in Canada.

Human Rights Research Guide. From the UN library in New York.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Gateway site providing electronic text of the human rights treaty and charter based bodies and periodic reports by states, press releases, etc. Has an excellent search engine.

See also the following seven UN Treaty Based Bodies. See also information on United Nations Human Rights Charter & Treaty Bodies and especially the UN Treaty Body Database.

The Human Rights Council (reporting the General Assembly) replaced the former Commission on Human Rights in March 2006. The Human Rights Council also overseas the former responsibilities of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.


Treaties

See also the UC Berkeley Libraries Treaties and International Agreements Research Guide and the human rights section on this page.

Conventions & Declarations and in General Assembly Resolutions. Many famous international agreements are not treaties, but declarations or conventions passed by the General Assembly. Most have great symbolic significance, if less formal "weight" in international law.

ILOLEX: Database of International Labour Law
. Database of ILO Conventions and Recommendations, ratification information, comments of the Committee of Experts, interpretations, General Surveys, and numerous related documents.

International Humanitarian Law Database (ICRC). Includes over 100 treaties from international bodies, from 1856 to present. There is an introduction to each treaty, commentaries, and full text coverage of the four Geneva Conventions and their additional protocols.

International Human Rights Instruments. Listing of major international human rights treaties, conventions and declarations.

Multilateral Environmental Agreements. From the United Nations Environment Programme. The FAO also has a site on environmental agreements and conventions.

UNESCO Legal Instruments. Includes UNESCO conventions, declaration, and recommendations in the areas of education, the natural sciences, culture, communication, and information.

United Nations Treaty Body Database. Documents issued by the seven UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies (see human rights above) established to monitor the implementation of the principal international human rights treaties.

United Nations Treaty Collection -- UCB Access Only. Full-text of Multilateral Treaties deposited with the Secretary-General, and the entire United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS).

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Treaties. List of treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, with information on the text, parties, notifications, and treaty statistics.



International Law

For more information see the UC Berkeley libraries International Law research guide. See also the Treaties section on this page.

Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL). Excellent ready reference guide for major topics on international law.

International Court of Justice. Principal judicial organ of the United Nations responsible to settle legal disputes submitted by member states. Includes Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders and Pleadings & Oral Arguments.

International Criminal Court. Permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to promote the rule of law and prosecute crimes against humanity.

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Cases, legal texts and daily journal of the tribunal.

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
. Includes current press releases, trial summaries, the Bulletin of the ICTY, hearings schedule, publications, and case documents.

UNCITRAL - International Trade Law. UN agency working for the modernization and harmonization of rules on international business and trade law.

United Nations International Law Section. Gateway site to the work of the United Nations in the field of International Law, including information on the International Law Commission, the UN General Assembly (6th) Legal Committee, and more.


Statistics

The following are basic sources of UN Statistical Information. For a much more comprehensive listing of statistics from International Organizations, see the Doe library page on International Statistics.

Commodity Price Statistics Online. Monthly prices and price indices from 1960 for commodities worldwide: food, beverages, oils, agricultural raw materials, minerals, and ores and metals. To log on, click on the 'logon (registered users only)' link. Password required. Ask at library reference desks for assistance.

Commodity Trade Statistics Database (COMTRADE). Detailed international commodity trade data from 1962. Please note: some users report problems using this database with Firefox.

Foreign Direct Investment Database. From the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development. Includes the World Investment Directory, which offers FDI data by country. (Registration required).

Human Development Report Statistics. Statistics from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Links to the text of national human development reports from over 250 countries and regions.

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics Online. Current economic and social statistics for more than 200 countries and territories of the world. Over 100 indicators on a variety of subjects, including population, industrial production, prices, employment, energy, manufacturing, transport, construction, trade and finance.

National Accounts Main Aggregates Database. Time series from 1970 on national accounts aggregates (GDP and its components) for UN member states and other territories worldwide.

UNECE Gender Statistics Database. Gender data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Includes population, labor, education, public life, health, crime, and violence.

UNdata. Wide range of economic, social, cultural, and demographic indicators for most countries and territories of the world.

United Nations Statistics Division. International statistics on many different topics, including the millennium indicators database and sets of demographic, social and housing statistics.

World Income Inequality Database. Information for over 140 countries on income inequalities at both cross-country and time series levels over the period 1950-98, with a focus on the period since 1980. See also the Standard Income Inequality database via the Dataverse network.


Voting Information

Most UN Resolutions are adopted without a vote. In some instances a vote summary (the number of yeas and nays) is made, while in other cases the resolution is adopted by roll-call. Only roll-call votes indicate how a country voted. Voting information is difficult to obtain from the UN, especially by country. The following are some of sources available.

Index to Proceedings of the General Assembly. Annual index to the work of the General Assembly. Voting information by resolution is in the back of volume one (subject index). Govt Refe JX1977.A3653.I56.

Index to Proceedings of the Security Council. Annual index to the documents, resolutions of the security council. Voting information (if any) by resolution. Govt Refe   JX1977.A3653.I57

UNBIS Voting Records. Voting information from the UN Dag Hammarskjold Library. Data is only available by subject keyword, date and resolution number.

United Nations Resolutions. Series I, Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly. Govt Refe JX1977.A3155.D57. Multi-volume et of UN General Assembly Resolutions, with voting information, from 1946-1985.

United Nations Resolutions. Series II, Resolutions and decisions of the Security Council. Govt Refe JX1977.A3155.D57 1988. Multi-volume et of UN Security Resolutions, with voting information, from 1946-1979

VoteWorld. From the UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies, London School of Economics, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Includes data from the European Parliament and US Congress. This tool is intended for experienced data users. Please make an appointment in the library data lab for assistance.

Votes in the UN General Assembly. UN General Assembly votes from 1946-2005, from Eric Voeten, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University. This data set is intended for experienced data users. Please make an appointment in the library data lab for assistance.

Voting Practices in the United Nations. Published annually by the U.S. Dept. of State. Includes tables on political and geographic groups, as well as major votes by country. For back issues see Boalt Library UN Room KJ61 .R46 



By Organizational Structure

UN System Overview

The following is basic guide to United Nations resources and a map of the UN's organizational structure. For more information on finding print and historical UN documents, see the library's United Nations Research Guide.

United Nations Web Site. Official site of the United Nations, divided into the following sections. See also the web sites for the UN Offices in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi.


Other highlights of the site include the UN Millennium Development Goals, the UN News Centre and Web cast, links to Conference and Events and more.

Official Web Site Locator for the UN System of Organizations. Alphabetic and thematic indexes of web sites of the United Nations System of Organizations.

UN at a Glance. Includes background information, main bodies, documents, tours, member states, staff services, and mailing addresses.

Organizational Chart of the UN System. Incl;udes printable chart of the UN system.

Global Issues on the UN Agenda. Excellent UN Ready Reference tool for links to online documents, agencies, and other resources on a wide range of important topics on the UN Agenda.



Principal Organs of the United Nations


General Assembly. Main deliberative organ of the United Nations composed of representatives of all member states, each of which has one vote. The General Assembly has six main committees:


The General Assembly also has various other commissions, committees and subsidiary bodies. Some are treaty based, some established by General Assembly resolutions.


See the General Assembly's page on its subsidiary organs for more information.


Economic and Social Council
. Principal United Nations body dealing with economic, social, cultural and health matters. Composed of eight functional commissions (see below) and five Regional Commissions, as well as forums, expert bodies, and standing committees. See in particular the NGO Section.


International Court of Justice
. Principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Adjudicates legal disputes submitted to it by States and provides opinions on legal questions referred to it by international agencies.


Secretariat
. Agency which carries out the day-to-day work of the organization, servicing other principal organs of the United Nations and administering programmes laid down by them. At its head is the Secretary-General.


Security Council. UN agency with responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security. The Council has 15 members-- five permanent and 10 elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms.


Trusteeship Council
. Principal organ of the United Nations assigned to the administration of territories under the UN Trusteeship system. Suspended operation in 1994, with the independence of Palau, the last remaining UN trust territory.



Specialized Agencies of the United Nations

United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations joined to the United Nations via special agreements stipulated in the UN Charter. There are currently fifteen specialized agencies of the United Nations.



Programmes & Funds

United Nations Programmes and Funds are international development organizations reporting to the General Assembly and/or the Economic and Social Council. For more information see the UN In Brief.



Research & Training Institutes

United Nations Research & Training Institutes are international bodies engaged in public policy research, capacity building, training, and technical assistance.



Regional Economic Commissions

The UN Regional Economic Commissions are responsible for coordinating economic and social activities in their respective regions. They report to the Economic & Social Council but operate with a great deal of autonomy.



Joint Programmes, Offices & Related Organizations

The following is a list of selected United Nations joint programmes (cooperative programs between one or more UN agencies) miscellaneous offices, and affiliated organizations.



Partnerships with Civil Society

The UN is playing an expanding role in creating partnerships with NGO's, Civil Society Organizations, and the Business Community. There are also NGOS advocating for UN reform including ReformtheUN and the World Federalist Movement which have information on UN reform.