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United Nations: Resolutions, Voting Records, and Speeches

A guide to finding United Nations resources.

Note on Finding Print Resources

Print resources can be found in the United Nations, International Documents, or Reference sections, which are all located on the 2nd floor of Cohen Library.

Useful Links

Resolutions

Resolutions express the opinions, recommendations for action, and directives of various bodies of the UN. The General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, and Trusteeship Council all issue resolutions.

Online Resources

  • UN Documentation Centre
    Includes PDF versions of General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions from 1946 onwards and of Economic and Social Council Resolutions from 1992-2004. Can be browsed by issuing body and date.

  • Official Document System of the United Nations (ODS)
    Includes PDF versions of Resolutions from all issuing bodies, including the Trusteeship Council, for 1946-1993. Access is through the Advanced Search Screen by clicking on the “Resolutions” database in the lefthand box. Searchable by document symbol, publication date, title, subject and job number.

  • UNBISnet
    Includes full text of General Assembly, Security Council, and Economic and Social Council Resolutions from 1946 onwards. Searchable by keyword, title, subject, document number, etc.

Print Resources

  • Yearbook of the United Nations:
    Issued yearly. Reproduces text of selected Resolutions and summarizes others. Also contains provisional versions of Resolutions not yet released in official form.

    Call number: JX 1977 .A37 Y4 (UN section)

Voting Records

Voting records may be available for the General Assembly or the Security Council.  Many General Assembly Resolutions and Decisions are passed without a vote or without recording the votes of individual members; however, in certain situations, the individual votes of member states are recorded and available.  Individual votes on Security Council Resolutions are typically recorded.  Voting records may be found officially as part of Meeting Records or unofficially as part of Press Releases or as separate compilations.

Online Resources

  • UNBISnet
    UNBISnet includes a “Voting Records” database.  General Assembly records are included from 1983 onwards.  Security Council records are included from 1946 onwards. UNBISnet also includes recent Meeting Records in its main bibliographic database.

  • Official Document System of the United Nations (ODS)
    Searchable database includes meeting records.

  • UN Documentation Centre
    Security Council meeting records are available in PDF format from 1994 onwards and General Assembly records are available from 2000 onwards.  Browseable by date and meeting record number.  Note that for the Security Council, there is a separate link for “meeting records” whereas for the General Assembly, you must click on “verbatim records” for meeting records.

  • Press Releases
    Press releases are issued for each meeting of the General Assembly and the Security Council. If there was a vote at a meeting, unofficial records are included in the press release. Press releases are available in full text from 1995 onwards.

Speeches

Speeches and statements are often given during the meetings of the various UN bodies and may be helpful for the researcher in learning more detail about a given topic. Depending on the body meeting and the topic discussed, some speeches are recorded verbatim whereas others are only summarized. In the UN document symbol, those that have been recorded verbatim are identified as PV and those that are only summarized are identified as SR.

Speeches are typically included as part of meeting records; however, there are several resources that index the speeches themselves to make it easier for the researcher to determine during which meeting a given speech took place so that s/he can track down the transcript.

Online Resources

  • UNBISnet
    Includes citations to General Assembly, Security Council, and Economic and Social Council speeches from 1983 onwards and Trusteeship Council speeches from 1982 onwards, as well as links to full-text for many speeches. Searchable by speaker, topic, date, etc.

Subject Guide

Sean O'Heir's picture
Sean O'Heir
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