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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.

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 October and April 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.

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.

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.

•   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. 

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.

The United Nations gDoc 2.0 system is the new single global document workflow system that has replaced the previous version of gDoc.  

gDoc 2.0 offers a complete set of document, planning, management, processing and issuance modules to support a globally coordinated document workflow and capacity management system. The tool, in use at all DGACM duty stations 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. 

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. 

New users can request for gDoc2.0 access using the Unite Conference Portal here:

Once submitted through gDoc, reports and publications are processed as per the below workflow:

A diagramm depicting the work flow of submitting and processing official documents
  • 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 registered and scheduled for processing and sent to the Languages Service, DCM, following the now automatic process in the system that identifies previously translated text (reprise) providing information to assist the translators, editors and desktop publishing assistants in carrying out their work including though the computer assisted translation (CAT) tools.

  • The mandated versions in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish Translation Sections are produced 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 United Nations Official Document System, at 

  • 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 in line with applicable distribution patterns and in accordance with 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

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