New delegates learn how to navigate and retrieve the plethora of UN documentation

23 August 2012, New York, USA – Each year, the UNITAR New York Office (NYO) educates the diplomatic community on the structure, use and retrieval of UN documentation in cooperation with the Dag Hammarskjöld Library. The UNITAR documentation course has been over the years an essential basis for the work of the Organization, a reflection of the UN system as a whole. This latest documentation workshop, “Workshop on the Structure, Retrieval and Use of United Nations documentation” exemplifies the hands-on and practical training the NYO offers to delegates. It provided them with the tools, most notably the new electronic resources, necessary for them to follow the issues in their portfolio within the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council.

This workshop is essential to understand how the UN works and the labelling system employed. The UN documents’ symbols identify the Organization’s structure and timing of the resolution or programme. For instance, all GA related documents are identified by a symbol beginning with the letter “A” followed by additional elements describing the various subsidiary GA organs.

The August 2012 documentation course provided new delegates with an essential hands-on skill to navigate the myriad of UN documentation. Representatives of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea and of the Treaty Section of the Office of Legal Affairs completed the training, thus providing a comprehensive picture of all the documents available to diplomats accredited to UN Headquarters in New York.

Just as the Organization has evolved, its documentation has shown its vitality by adjusting to changing circumstances and adapting to modern technology. The training also changed over the years and delegates discovered that they now could subscribe to RSS feeds on the bodies and issues they cover.

Based on the feedback collected at the end of the workshop, participants came out of the training with a clear understanding of how to obtain the documents necessary for their work, thus highlighting the importance of the Core Diplomatic Training courses which UNITAR offers to new delegates at the beginning of each new General Assembly.