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Understanding the United Nations Documents Symbols System  

Last Updated: Aug 6, 2013 URL: http://guides.library.harvard.edu/unsymbolsystem Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Basic Elements and Series Symbols

The United Nations publishes many documents. Many documents were originally published in mimeographed form and are still sometimes referred to as 'mimeo docs.' This guide will explain the United Nations series symbols system which was designed to provide access to these documents. The series symbols provide access to United Nations documentation by series symbol, subject, and body responsible for the document. Symbols of United Nations documents are composed of capital letters combined with numerals, usually Arabic.

 The basic series elements of the five principal United Nations organs are:

 

A/ General Assembly
E/ Economic and Social Council
S/ Security Council
T/ Trusteeship Council
ST/ Secretariat


Examples:

 

A/RES/50/211 Resolution of the General Assembly, 50th session
S/RES /1019(1995) Resolution 1019 (1995) adopted by the Security council.


Special basic series symbols have been established for certain bodies. For example:

 

AT/ UN Administrative Tribunal
CAT/ Convention against torture
CEDAW/ Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women
CCPR/ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
CRC/ Convention on the rights of the child
DP/ UN Development Programme
ID/ UN Industrial Development Organization
TD/ UN Conference on Trade and Development
UNEP/ UN Environment Programme
WFC/ World Food Council


Examples:

 

CEDAW/C/1996 UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Committee document, 1996
CAT/C/SR.209 Convention against torture, committee against torture. Summary record of the 209th meeting

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