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Conference Management


  • The term “United Nations publication” refers to any written material issued by or for the United Nations, to a defined external audience. Examples of United Nations publications include major studies and reports, monographs, edited volumes, statistical compilations, conference proceedings, journals, serial publications such as yearbooks, the United Nations Treaty Series and other international law publications. 

    United Nations publications are generally published in response to legislative mandates or requests by intergovernmental bodies and need authorization and certification of funds (if they are extra budgetary publications). Publications may be distributed free of charge or for a price. If sold, United Nations publications are assigned an International Standard Book Number (ISBN/eISBN) or, for serials and periodicals, an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN/eISSN). Publications may be published in print or electronic form, including as mobile applications, and in any other format or media as technology evolves.

    After approval by the Publications Board, a proposed publication is then included in the Publications Programme.

  • A title is regarded as a publication if its audience is at least 500 copies in all formats in the original language and 1000 copies (all formats) for a translated edition.

    When the content warrants publication, but the audience is too limited to justify the cost of a full-fledged publication and/or funding is not available, the manuscript can be published as a working paper formatted by the author department with a minimal layout and no cover (only a black and white title page). Working papers are only digital, in the original language and are uploaded on the author department’s website. They bear UN copy right and mention “working paper”.

  • The Secretary-General, for the purpose of increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of United Nations publishing activities in implementing the mandates of intergovernmental bodies, promulgated the Publications Board in ST/SGB/2012/2. The purpose of the Publications Board is to establish the publishing policies and standards of the Secretariat, including offices away from Headquarters and regional commissions, so that:

    • United Nations publications remain a source of high-quality, relevant and timely information for Member States, policymakers, practitioners, scholars and the public at large.

    • United Nations publishing activities and practices are aligned with the overall goals and priorities of the Organization with regard to relevance, marketability, dissemination, production, cost-effectiveness and preservation.

    The role of the Publications Board is to determine the policies governing the preparation, production, distribution and sale of documents, and to coordinate the planning and supervise the execution of the publications programme. 

    Only these publications have priority, and these titles will be processed - i.e., translated in all mandated languages and printed - at no cost to the author department. Once a publication is included in the publications programme, no changes can be made without the authorization of the Publications Board. Should author departments need to add a title or bring a change to an item on the publications programme such as implement a new mandate from an intergovernmental body, a detailed request should be submitted to the Secretariat of the Publications Board for its approval.

  • The term “publications programme” refers to a body of works planned for publication by an author department over a year or a biennium, generally in response to legislative mandates or other requests by intergovernmental bodies or other expert bodies. All United Nations publications should be included in the publications programme. Substantive offices must therefore follow in detail the directions and policies that apply to this programme (ST/AI/189/Add.1/Rev.2).

    Information and promotional material such as brochures, flyers, newsletters, posters, calendars, catalogues and press releases are not part of the publications programme. United Nations documents are also not part of a publications programme. Also excluded are internal issuances such as preparatory documents, working papers and conference room papers consisting of background and technical documentation for meetings and seminars.

  • In line with paragraphs 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5 of Section 2 of ST/SGB/2012/2, each year around November, the Publications Board writes to all Secretariat author departments, including regional commissions transmitting the Publications Board instructions for the preparation of the next year’s publications programmes. Through this inter office memo, author departments are requested to submit their proposed publications programme via the gDoc 2.0 publication module.

  • All Publications should be registered in gDoc for processing. Publications that are not registered in gDoc do not have official UN status and should not and cannot carry the United Nations symbol.

  • The preparation of publications does not take priority over the preparation of official parliamentary documentation. Therefore, all publications submitted should be supplied in good time for their completion, taking account of their size and complexity. Production schedules cannot be estimated precisely until all the elements of a publication have been furnished.

    As an estimate, publications take at least ten weeks to prepare if they are submitted "print ready". When translation is involved in the preparation of a publication, the time requested for the translation and additional typesetting should be added to the above deadline. It is therefore recommended that an individual schedule for each publication be discussed with DMS.

  • At the conclusion of each year, publications linked to items on the Publications Board for that year should have been submitted in gDoc for processing. Each year DMS will share a deadline with the respective focal points in a given secretariat. After this date, requests for translation and printing will not be accommodated. Exceptions will be made only in cases where the costs have been pre-encumbered in UMOJA, which would still need consultation with DMS.

    Author departments are required to adhere to the deadlines in the forecast as work will be planned accordingly. 

    Obsolete titles and language versions that have sat in a translation queue for over two years will be deleted.

  • The emblem should appear on the cover page of all United Nations publications beside or above the name "United Nations" at the bottom of the page. The emblem may not be used in combination with the emblem of any organization outside the United Nations system without the express authorization of the Secretary-General.

    When the United Nations emblem appears together with that of another body of the United Nations system, the emblem of each should appear in combination with the name of the organization to which it relates.

    The emblem may be used together with the insignia of any individual Government only with the express permission of the Publications Board. For more details, please refer to para. 28 of ST/AI/189.