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Instructions on the Planning, Submission & Processing of Documentation

The Division of Conference Management (DCM) at the United Nations Office at Geneva is responsible, through the Documents Management Section (DMS) of the Central Planning and Coordination Service (CPCS), for the scheduling, timely submission and issuance of the documentation of the main organs of the United Nations and their subsidiary bodies, in particular the Human Rights Council and the 10 human rights treaty bodies, and of other intergovernmental bodies, including communications and reports submitted by Member States and non-governmental organizations and reports and publications of the Economic Commission for Europe and the specialized agencies of the Organization, notably the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, through the use of the forecasting and slotting modules contained in the Global Documentation Management System (gDoc) .

In the documentation process, it is understood that: (a) Forecasting is a projection of the anticipated submission of documentation, carried out in consultation between submitting departments/entities and the DMS; and that (b) Slotting is a mutual agreement on the part of the submitter, to deliver documentation for processing by a specific date, and, on the part of DCM, to issue such documentation by a specific date.

In this process, each year, in November and May, DMS carries out a forecasting exercise, for which authors and submitting departments are required to submit a list of all parliamentary documentation and publications anticipated for meetings during the following six months. Using this data, DMS assigns submission deadlines (slotting dates), thus ensuring the timely submission and issuance of documentation. In addition, DMS compiles reports on compliance on a quarterly basis and is responsible for ensuring the control and limitation of documentation and the simultaneous distribution of all parliamentary documents [see General Assembly resolution 68/251, para. 56]. Text that has been taken from another source or that is a revised version of a previously issued document or the final version of a report submitted in draft form must be identified when requests are submitted for forecasting.

The Global Documentation Management System (gDoc), developed at the United Nations Office at Geneva and introduced in Geneva and at United Nations Headquarters in New York in 2014, is an advanced platform for the submission, management and storage of all documents and publications requested for circulation and distribution and another step in advancing the goal of providing the staff of the Organization with universal access to resources in real time via the Internet.

For use at all duty stations, gDoc is a records-management tool that allows for integrated global management, including the exchange of work between duty stations, thus maximizing the capacity of the entire United Nations system. 

Using gDoc, authors, submitting departments and DCM staff can, inter alia:
•   Create and register documents, linking submission requests to agreed forecast and slotting data.
•   Access and select sessions and agenda items of the relevant organ or body for which the documentation is intended, including access to symbol patterns.
•   Indicate length of documents, special features and requested date of release.
•   Specify distribution locations and the number of copies to be distributed.
•   View finalized reports and publications.
•   Create reports and generate statistics.

In coordination and consultation with DMS staff, who monitor the entire chain of documents processing, authors and submitting departments can also tailor their requests and keep track of their reports and publications. 

All parliamentary documentation and all publications of the United Nations are issued in response to decisions taken by a legislative body of the Organization, most commonly the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council or the Human Rights Council, including their subsidiary bodies, as well as by intergovernmental bodies and the specialized agencies of the Organization. The importance of specifying the mandate in each request for the production of documentation cannot be overstated. The Organization, and its Member States, aware of the budgetary implications of the production of documentation, require stringent scrutiny of such requests when they are submitted for forecasting.

The mandating resolution, decision or other narrative source* governing the issuance of each document must:
•   Be identified at the time the document is submitted to DMS for forecasting and slotting, i.e. in advance of submission to gDoc.
•   Be set out in the gDoc submission.
•   Be clearly stated in its summary and/or introduction.


*Certain long-standing annual or biannual reports are governed by standing mandates, which may be found in the rules of procedure, the founding papers or the programme budget of the legislative entities concerned.

United Nations documents and publications are issued in the style and standard format adopted by the Organization, as set out in the United Nations Editorial Manual Online.

In preparing reports and publications, submitting offices and representatives of Member States should:
•   Use the models set out in the United Nations Editorial Manual Online.
•   Adhere closely, when submitting publications, to the guidelines presented in the United Nations Policy Manual for Publications.
•   Follow the style and format of related reports issued by the United Nations, which are available on the Official Document System (ODS).
•   Contact the Editing Section of the Languages Service, DCM, for assistance with drafting and formatting.

In advance of document submission, authors are strongly encouraged to address questions or concerns to the staff of DMS, who are experienced and prepared to provide assistance.

With a view to the issuance of clear and effective reports, authors/submitters are reminded that:
•   The Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM) offers a number of writing courses designed for authors at the United Nations, including a course on “Principles of report writing” and writing skills workshops.
•   The United Nations Editorial Manual Online contains a concise report-writing course entitled “Writing for the United Nations”.
•   The services of the Editing Section of the Languages Service, DCM, and the advice and guidance of the staff of the Documents Management Section, DCM, are readily available to authors/submitting departments.

When submitting reports for processing, authors are required to identify text that has been taken from another source. This can be done through the use of Microsoft Word track changes, bold text and strike-out or by using the comments tool in Microsoft Word. Documents should not contain repetition of already published texts or repetition of texts with only minor changes.

Parliamentary documents, prepared at the request of United Nations bodies and entities and intergovernmental bodies in preparation for scheduled meetings, i.e. pre-session documents, which include provisional agendas, programmes of work, reports of the Secretariat, special rapporteurs/mandate holders and working groups and communications from Member States and non-governmental organizations, are submitted for forecasting and slotting, and are submitted in gDoc, 10-weeks ahead the date of the scheduled meetings. Pre-session documents are issued for general distribution (indicating that they are of wide and continuing interest) on ODS.

Pre-session documents constitute the largest category of documents produced.

Parliamentary documents for consideration during the meetings of United Nations bodies and entities and intergovernmental bodies, i.e. in-session documents, which include draft resolutions and decisions, are submitted for forecasting and processing purposes on gDoc 3 weeks before the date of the meeting. These documents, which should be kept as short as possible (3,300 words) as they must be processed as they are received, in quick-turnaround, are issued for limited distribution (i.e. as drafts, which may be changed in adopted/finalized form) on ODS. In-session documents cannot be received for processing on the final day of a meeting, but documents within word limits can be processed within 24 hours on the day before the meeting is closed.

It is advised that final reports of the meetings of United Nations bodies and entities and intergovernmental bodies, including the resolutions and decisions adopted by such entities, which are prepared after the closing of the meeting, i.e. post-session documents, are submitted for processing no later than two weeks after the closing date. Depending on available resources, and in consultation with DMS, final reports are scheduled for timely issuance in general distribution.

Late submission of a report requires: (a) coordination with DMS; and (b) the inclusion of an explanation, to be appended to the report as a footnote on the cover page. It should be noted that early submission of reports, while encouraged and welcomed, does not mean that they will be issued ahead of schedule.

•   Documents submitted by the Secretariat should not exceed 8,500 words.
•   Documents submitted by intergovernmental bodies or special rapporteurs/mandate holders of the Human Rights Council should not exceed 10,700 words.
•   Members States, which may submit documents above the mentioned limits, are encouraged to synthesize information as much as possible, taking into consideration the limited resources of the Organization.

For meetings of the main organs of the United Nations, their subsidiary bodies and intergovernmental bodies:
•   Provisional agendas must be submitted 10 weeks before the opening of the meeting, for distribution 8 weeks before the meeting.*
•   All other materials for translation must be submitted 10 weeks before the meeting, for distribution 6 weeks before the meeting.*
•   Materials that do not require translation must be submitted 2 weeks before the meeting.
•   Materials that do not meet the above deadlines will be subject to negotiated late slotting with DMS [].


*Unless an alternative pattern, for example, submission 8 weeks before the opening of the meeting for distribution 4 weeks before the meeting, has been adopted by the body concerned. 

In accordance with the instructions set out in the United Nations Editorial Manual Online and in the editorial directive on “Standards for the preparation and submission of United Nations documents” [ST/CS/SER.A/44/Rev.1], which should be followed closely when submitting documentation, authors and submitting departments are instructed:
•   To submit their reports electronically.
•   To prepare and submit their reports entirely in Microsoft Word, in 10-point Times New Roman, using initial caps, not block caps, for titles, subtitles, headings and subheadings.
•   Not to include PDF files, Excel files or PowerPoint presentations. Tables created in Excel should be converted to Microsoft Word and imported into the text before submission.
•   To include a summary on the cover page and consolidated conclusions and/or recommendations in the final section in boldface.
•   Not to include a table of contents for reports of standard length originating in the Secretariat of the United Nations (8,500 words), but, if requested, to list only page numbers, eliminating paragraph numbers. (This does not apply to United Nations publications, the format for which is explained in the United Nations Policy Manual for Publications.)
•   To submit graphic material in digital form in a format that can be imported by Microsoft Word.* Text relevant to a graphic should be placed outside the graphic for ease of processing.
•   To use the header/footer function of Microsoft Word to indicate page numbers.  No documents should be submitted without page numbers or with page numbers inserted by hand.
•   To ensure that, if a text is a revised version of a previously issued document or the final version of a report already submitted in draft formall changes are clearly indicated using Microsoft Word track changes or the comments tool or in bold text and strikethrough.


*Graphic material that is not converted to Microsoft Word may not be visible in the final electronic version of the document on ODS.

At the final stage of the processing chain, the Production and Support Service, DCM, issues reports and publications in print form. The United Nations Policy Manual for Publications provides up-to-date and detailed information regarding the preparation, content, format, copyright and licensing of publications for authors and submitting departments [].

When submitting requests for the processing of documentation intended for issuance as a United Nations sales publication, authors and submitting offices in Geneva are reminded of the need to communicate directly with DMS regarding the assignment of United Nations Sales Publication numbers, which are provided by the Sales and Marketing Unit of the Department of Global Communications at United Nations Headquarters in New York. All requests for Sales numbers must be made through DMS at the United Nations Office at Geneva.

In addition to being assigned a United Nations Sales number, an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), a unique 13-digit numeric book identifier used for sales publications both within and outside the United Nations, must be obtained by the submitting entity. An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), a unique 8-digit number used to identify periodical publications such as magazines, is allocated to publications falling into this category. This number is assigned by the United Nations. 

In the event that a periodical is published with the same content in two or more different media, for example print and electronic media, a different ISSN is used for each publication (e.g. a print ISSN (p-ISSN) and electronic ISSN (e-ISSN)).

Forecasting publications is the responsibility of the submitting office. Forecasts should be entered in gDoc using the gDoc Forecasting module by the deadlines indicated by DMS and should account for all the projected publications anticipated for the concerned budget cycle. The basis for your forecasts is the list of publications registered with the UN Publications Board programme. 

Forecasts should include the following elements:
•   SYMBOL: Enter the symbol with no blank spaces in between. Series symbols should be maintained. Modifications of previously issued publications should be reflected through a suffix (Rev., Amend., Corr., etc.) to the parent symbol.
•   TITLE: The title should correspond to or closely reflect what was registered in the Publications Board programme. Changes to approved items or inclusion of new titles can only be implemented through your Department representative in the Publications Board. Modifications to the text such as draft, advance version, revision or amendment should be reflected in title (both on web versions and on cover, title and note pages of hard copy of publications).
•   MANDATE: The legislative mandate should emanate from a UN General Assembly or ECOSOC resolution or a request of an intergovernmental body. Please include here the symbol of the document with the programme of work or report that bears the decision on the publication with a web link to the document in the MANDATE URL box.
•   SUBMITTING INFORMATION: Enter the contact information of the person responsible for the text of the publication. Example: the author or consulting officer.
•   ORGAN INFORMATION: Choose your corresponding UN organ code, acronym and title from the drop-down menu in gDoc.
•   PUBLICATION INFORMATION: Put in the Publications Board programme reference number and year. For more information, see the Publications Board programme at
ISSN AND EISSN NUMBERS:1  (if relevant): Issued by the ISSN International Centre (IC) web site at ISSN is language specific. To create a new request register on 
•   ISBN AND EISBN NUMBERS: Issued by the UN Sales and Marketing Section New York. See Log in by using your Unite ID username and password. 
•   MANUSCRIPT PAGES/PRODUCTION SPECIFICATIONS: List the total number of standard pages, tables, photos, etc. If known, note the preferred format, size, type of paper, print colors and cover specifications. 
•   Select “PRINT ONLY* in case of reproduction only request.
•   LANGUAGES: If for print only, use the “Original” column and select all languages to be submitted. If for translation, the selected languages must align with the approval of your Programme Management Department and the Rules of Procedure. Non-mandated languages can be supported on a reimbursable basis upon consultation with DMS.
•   SUBMISSION DATE: Should be the (closest) date of the expected submission. 
•   REQUESTED DATE:  If for “printing only”, the requested date for the original language should be reflected. In case of publications “for translation” please coordinate dates with DMS. 
•   REMARKS: if the publication is meeting-related, reflect the opening or shipment dates for transport to venue. If PAO service is requested indicate which work is expected to be implemented. In case an Interactive PDF is required indicate this in the Remarks box. Information on previously translated text(s) including references to symbols of previously translated documents should be provided here. If the issuance date is flexible, please also reflected it here.


ISSN attributions costs 25-50 Euro. Each language of a publication has its own ISSN number. Detailed information on ISSNs and ISBNs may be found in ST/AI/189/Add.24 at   and on the ISSN IC website at


  1. Refer to the United Nations Policy Manual for Publications that apply to all UN Secretariat offices on iSeek at covering detailed information on the preparation, content, format, copyright and licensing of UN publications.
  2. Verify that your publication is registered/contained in the UN Publications Programme on Note the Publications Programme Reference number corresponding to your publication. 
  3. If co-publishing and/or co-authoring publication, initiate the contract preparation with the UN Publications Board Secretariat, New York. Contact, Ms. Irina Lumelsky: [].
  4. At least one month before intended submission, fill in the Questionnaire for the UN Sales and Marketing Section in New York at the online portal To log in, use your Unite ID username and password.
  5. Complete the Demande d'impression (DI) form (available through your office or DMS/DCM) and clear it. 
  6. Get the ISSN (if publication series) and eISSN numbers (if relevant): ISSN numbers are language specific and issued by the ISSN International Centre at  
  7. To create a new request register at
  8. Two weeks before submission, email the cleared DI and the reply from the UN Sales and Marketing Section to DMS Coordination Sub-Unit: [].
  9. Note: the same procedure also applies to electronic only publications.


  1. If your Publication has been forecast in gDoc, use the forecast ID for submission in gDoc. If there is no forecast, create a submission in gDoc indicating the Publications Board Programme ID (see above) and fill in all the parameters requested.  
  2. Upload to the FileDesk: (i) Cleared DI (ii) Cover page (iii) WORD file with ready for print FINAL text (in one editable file) (iv) Bar codes for ISBN and eISBN (v) Printing specifics such as colors (vi) fully labelled photos, graphics, excel support files (should correspond to the final text), etc. and (vii) Co-publishing and co-authoring, agreement/and approval of the Publications Board if relevant.

•   Symbol: no gaps/spaces in numbering; series symbols should exist; modifications of previously issued publications should indicate a suffix- Rev., Amend., Corr., etc.
•   Title of publication: should be (correspond closely to) the title in the Publications Board programme. Modifications of the text such as draft, advance version, revision or amendment should be reflected.
•   Total original pages: include cover and title pages in the count.
•   Requested completion date: should correspond to the issuance of the last language version (refer stage 2). 
•   Mandate: the legislative mandate that bears the decision for the publication.
•   Submitting information: consulting, authorizing and certifying official’s information.
•   Budget: if extra-budgetary, a DCM issued cost estimate carrying the UMOJA coding block should be included.
•   Organ information: choose from the drop-down menu in gDoc (if available).
•   Publication information: Publications Board programme year and ID number.
•   ISSN and eISSN numbers: if issued by the iSSN International Centre
•   ISBN and eISBN numbers: (if applicable)
•   Manuscript pages: production specifications that should already have been agreed with the Printing Section.
•   Instructions in gDoc: any special instructions such as related meeting/event dates. For publications for translation, emails of persons to receive translated text(s) for clearance. If Interactive PDF is required, please indicate here.
•   Languages: for print only, tick all languages to be submitted in the column "Original". Note: Languages for translation outside the entitlement will be considered extra-budgetary (in which case please contact DMS).


Processing of publications is done in two stages: 
(i)    the original language version is sent for processing/printing and, 
(ii)   work commences on the translation of language versions. Should you wish to have the stages carried out in parallel, please contact DMS.



  1. You will receive the “Bon à tirer” (BAT) with a print ready PDF version of your publication from the Printing Section (PS). Depending on the volume of submission and the work involved, this timeframe may vary for up to 4 weeks. 
  2. When you receive the BAT, verify formatting elements in the PDF. Make valid corrections to the layout and return the signed BAT to PS within 1 week of receipt. The BAT is valid for correction of layout only. No corrections to the text should be made at this stage and no corrections to the text will be accommodated at and beyond this stage.
  3. When the layout changes (if any) have been confirmed, you will receive another BAT with a final PDF file. As soon as the signed BAT is returned to PS, your publication is sent for printing.
  4. Your printed publication is delivered to the specified address. In case the printed quantities of publications exceed 3 boxes, establish an account with the Buildings Management (Service des déménageurs) for delivery.      



  1. When you receive the final PDF version following your approval of BAT at stage 1 described above, convert the PDF file into a MS WORD file.
  2. Check the converted files for consistency: This could be missing chapter(s) or parts of text, title and paragraph numbers, all footnote numbers and texts in them, words replaced by squares or question marks, full text in tables, graphs, etc. 
  3. Once complete, submit the final WORD file through gDoc; label it as “Final Text”. Upload the PDF version in gDoc with any possible references and a marked-up copy (if previously translated).
  4. DMS will verify and sent files to all translation sections for processing.
  5. When translated versions are complete and available in Word format, you will receive by email the electronic files of the publications for verification. You have 5 working days to check the translation for consistency. At this stage, you may contact the relevant translation sections directly to discuss terminology issues or other elements of the text. No major changes to the text can be accommodated at this stage. After this time, the final text will be “logged” out. 
  6. You will receive another BAT with a print ready PDF version of languages from PS. Verify layout elements in the PDF. Make valid corrections to the layout and return the signed BAT to PS within 1 week of receipt. No corrections to the text should be made at this stage and no corrections to the text will be accommodated at/beyond this stage. As soon as the signed BAT is returned to PS, your publication is sent for printing.
  7. Your printed publication is delivered to the specified address. In case the printed quantities of publications exceed 3 boxes, establish an account with the Buildings Management (Service des déménageurs) for delivery.


Publications Board Secretariat - Irina Lumelsky: 
DMS Coordination Sub-Unit: 

The Printing Section of the United Nations Office at Geneva [] produces publications and materials, including magazines, brochures and posters, in the official languages, as requested, using InDesign, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and provides graphic design services to authors and submitting entities. Requests for such services must be indicated at the time of the submission of documents/publications in gDoc.

Request for Printing
To initiate a request for printing, download and fill out the 'Request for Printing' form and send it to [].

At the time of the submission of a request for documents processing, clear information must be provided in gDoc,  indicating to the Distribution Section how many copies are to be distributed and to which bodies and/or individuals. In the case of regular budget documentation, if, at any later stage, additional distribution is required, a separate request must be made for processing through gDoc.

Once submitted through gDoc, reports and publications are processed as per the below workflow:
•   DMS reviews and verifies the mandates, length, presentation and requested date of issuance for documents/publications submitted through gDoc, in line, if relevant, with the negotiated forecast and slotting schedule (for pre-session and in-session documents).
•   Documents/publications are submitted to the Languages Service, DCM, in order to identify previously translated text (reprise) and to provide information to assist the translators, editors and desktop publishing assistants in carrying out their work.
•   The Evaluation, Analysis & Monitoring Section (EAMS) of DCM reviews the data received from the Language Service and compiles the data for the purpose of reporting to management and the Member States.
•   The Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish Translation Sections of DCM produce the documents/publications for simultaneous issuance.
•   Once edited and translated, the documents and publications are formatted, reviewed and prepared for reproduction by the Language Desktop Publishing Units, and posted on ODS.
•   The Printing Section of the Production and Support Service, DCM, produces the documents/publications in printed form.
•   The Distribution Section of the Production and Support Service, DCM, ensures the distribution of the documents/publications according to the request made in the initial gDoc submission.


* In line with established practice, specific reports are edited before submission, in close consultation with authors and submitting departments; certain reports and publications are edited by authors/submitting departments and registered in gDoc in edited form; other publications, owing to resource constraints, are given a “light edit”, including cross-checking for errors and proper presentation (front-page matter) after submission.

Division of Conference Management (DCM) website

United Nations Editorial Manual Online

United Nations Terminology Database

Official Document System