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Georgetown Law Library

United Nations Research Guide

This guide will suggest background resources and tips on navigating United Nations documents.

Resolutions Adopted by the UN's Main Organs

Table of Contents

Brief Overview

Historically, resolutions adopted by the UN's main organs were first published as mimeographed documents before they were republished in the Official Records of each organ.  Although they are still published and compiled in print, resolutions are now accessible online.  Listed below are electronic and print resources for locating resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Economic and Social Council.

Security Council Resolutions & Vetoes

Resolutions adopted by the Security Council have been numbered in one continuous sequence since 1946.  Their document symbols begin with the prefix S/RES, followed by the number of the resolution, followed by the year of adoption:  S/RES/Number (Year).  Note that document symbols for draft resolutions begin with the prefix S/Year, followed by the number of the draft resolution:  S/Year/Number.  If a resolution is vetoed by a permanent member of the Security Council, it retains the document symbol for a draft resolution.

Electronic Sources

  • Security Council Resolutions (1946-present)
    The Security Council maintains this online archive of resolutions arranged by year of adoption.  Resolutions are listed in reverse chronological order beginning with the most recent and are available for download in PDF format.
     
  • Security Council Vetoes (1946-present)
    This table, maintained by UN's Dag Hammarskjöld Library, lists all vetoes in reverse chronological order.  In addition to the subject matter, the date, and the permanent member(s) of the Security Council who voted no, links are provided to the full text of the draft resolution and to full meeting record in PDF format.
     
  • UN Official Documents System (ODS)
    A good option for retrieving the full text of a resolution if you know the document symbol or the exact title and date of the resolution.  The search interface also supports full text searching in multiple languages.
     

Print Sources & Indexes

Security Council resolutions are initially published in an unnumbered supplement to the Security Council's Official Records. The supplement contains a list of resolutions and decisions by number and the page where the full text will be found.  Security Council resolutions can be found in the following print sources:

  • Official Records.  Special Supplement, UN Security Council, Call No. KZ5010 ,A2 S/SP[suppl]
     
  • Resolutions and Decisions of the Security Council, Call No. KZ5010 .A2 S/INF
     
  • Index to Resolutions of the Security Council 1946 -1970, Call No.  KZ5010. A2 ST/LIB/SER.H
     
  • Resolutions and Statements of the UN Security Council (1946-2000): A Thematic Guide,
    Call No. REF KZ5036 .R47 2001
     
  • Yearbook of the United Nations. KZ4947 .U65.  Also available online.
    Each yearbook includes an "index of resolutions and decisions" adopted by the UN's main organs during the corresponding year. Each yearbook also has a subject index and a personal names index.
     

General Assembly Resolutions

Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly are numbered sequentially for each session of the General Assembly.  Their document symbols begin with the prefix A/RES, followed by the session number, followed by the number of the resolution:  A/RES/Session Number/Resolution Number.  

Electronic Sources

  • General Assembly Resolutions (1946-present)
    This online resource, maintained by UN's Dag Hammarskjöld Library, groups GA resolutions by year and lists them in reverse chronological order.  In addition to the number, the subject matter, and the date of each resolution, links are provided to download the full text, the full meeting record, and the corresponding press release in PDF format.
     
  • UN Official Documents System (ODS)
    A good option for retrieving the full text of a resolution if you know the document symbol or the exact title and date of the resolution.  The search interface also supports full text searching in multiple languages.
     

Print Sources & Indexes

  • Official Records. Supplement. [UN General Assembly], Call No. KZ5010 .A2 A/[suppl]
    Resolutions are initially published in this supplement to the GA's Official Records.
     
  • Resolutions and Decisions Adopted by the General Assembly, Call No. KZ5010 .A2 A/RES
    This press release is sometimes available 7-8 months before the official record supplement.
     
  • UN Resolutions. Series 1, Resolutions Adopted by the General Assembly, Call No. KZ5006.2 .D57
     
  • Index to Resolutions of the General Assembly 1946-1970, Call No.  KZ5010.A2 ST/LIB/SER.H/1
     
  • Yearbook of the United Nations, Call No. KZ4947 .U65.  Also available online.
    Each yearbook includes an "index of resolutions and decisions" adopted by the UN's main organs during the corresponding year. Each yearbook also has a subject index and a personal names index.
     

Economic & Social Council Resolutions

Resolutions adopted by the Economic and Social Council are numbered sequentially by year of adoption.  Their document symbols begin with the prefix E/RES, followed by the year, followed by the number of the resolution:  A/RES/Year/Number.  

Electronic Source

  • ECOSC Resolutions (2001-present)
    The Economic and Social  Council maintains this online archive of resolutions arranged by year of adoption.  Resolutions are listed in reverse chronological order beginning with the most recent and are available for download in PDF format.
     
  • UN Official Documents System (ODS)
    A good option for retrieving the full text of a resolution if you know the document symbol or the exact title and date of the resolution.  The search interface also supports full text searching in multiple languages.


Print Sources & Index