How to Find UN Documents in Five Steps or Less
The UN has made it easier than ever to find resolutions, treaties, speeches, decisions, voting records and more on its website. Below is a list of where to locate commonly used documents, followed by specific instructions.
  1. The UN Bibliographic Information System (UNBISnet), available at unbisnet.un.org, can be used to find:
    1. Resolutions passed by the Security Council, ECOSOC, and General Assembly (1946 onward); 
    2. Voting records for all resolutions which were adopted by the General Assembly (1983 onward) and the Security Council; and
    3. Speeches made in the General Assembly (1983 onward), the Security Council (1983 onward), the Economic and Social Council (1983 onward), and the Trusteeship Council (1982 onward).
  2. The UN News Centre, available at www.un.org/news, can be used to find press releases from UN bodies and the Secretary-General.
  3. The International Court of Justice's website, available at www.icj-cij.org, can be used to locate ICJ decisions.
  4. For research, news and resources on specific topics, the UN's website has a section on "Issues on the UN Agenda," available at www.un.org/issues.

How to Find Resolutions Passed on Any Topic

  1. Go to UNBISnet at unbisnet.un.org.
  2. Under the heading "Bibliographic Records," click on "New Keyword Search."
  3. You are presented with four optional search fields.
    1. Enter a topic or keyword next to "Subject (All)."
    2. If you want to refine your search to one specific body, such as the Security Council, select "UN Doc. Symbol / Sales No." in the second drop-down menu, and enter the appropriate resolution code.
      For instance, all Security Council resolutions begin with S/RES; all General Assembly resolutions begin with A/RES; all ECOSOC resolutions begin with E/Year where year is the year in which the resolution passed. Enter any of these codes in the second search field, or leave it blank to search all committees on the topic.
    3. To limit the search results by date, scroll down to the "User Defined Limits" and select "Year of Publication," the appropriate delimiter, and enter the year of the resolution.
  4. Click on the "Go" button.
  5. All the resolutions passed by the UN on that subject will appear in a list. If available, a link to the actual resolution will be provided in each of the official UN languages.

How to Find Voting Records for a General Assembly or Security Council Resolution

NOTE: GA resolutions passed before 1983 are not available.

  1. Go to UNBISnet at unbisnet.un.org.
  2. Under the heading "Voting Records," click on "New Keyword Search."
  3. You are presented with four optional search fields. Enter the appropriate resolution number next to the drop-down reading "UN Resolution Symbol."
  4. Click on the "Go" button.
  5. The resolution you want will come up. Under the resolution number is a link to the full text of the resolution. Below that is the full voting history, with Y and N standing for yes and no votes.

How to Find Speeches on an Issue Delivered by Your Country's Representatves

NOTE: Speeches are only available if they were made in the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council, or Security Council since 1983; not all speeches made in this time are yet online. Most speeches made in subsidiary bodies of these organs will not be available.
  1. Go to UNBISnet at unbisnet.un.org.
  2. Under the heading "Index to Speeches," click on "New Keyword Search."
  3. You are presented with four optional search fields.
    1. Enter the country's name next to the drop-down reading "Country/Organization."
    2. If you would like to limit the topic, enter a keyword next to the drop-down reading "Topic."
    3. To limit the UN body in which the speech was given, enter the appropriate code next to the drop-down reading "Meeting Record Symbol." Enter A for the General Assembly, S for the Security Council, E for ECOSOC or T for the Trusteeship Council.
  4. Click on the "Go" button.
  5. All speeches given by your country on this topic will be listed. Click on the link to display the full text of the speech if it is available.

How to Find All Press Releases on a Topic

NOTE: Only press releases issued in 1995 or later are available.
  1. Go to the Press Release Series Symbols Index at www.un.org/Depts/dhl/resguide/press1.htm. Scroll down until you see your committee. Record the symbol listed to the right of it.
  2. Go to the UN News Centre at www.un.org/news.
  3. Under "Press Releases" on the sidebar on the left, click on "Search."
  4. The Full Text search page will appear. In the box next to the word "Keywords," type your topic or a one-word description of it, a space and the symbol you found in Step 2.
  5. Click on the "Search" button.

How to Find an ICJ Decision on a Specific Topic

  1. Go to the ICJ website at www.icj-cij.org.
  2. Click on "Decisions" in the header.
    1. If you know the year of your case, scroll down until you find it.
    2. If you know just the topic of the case, or one of the parties, use the "find" function (Ctrl-F on a PC) and enter the country name or keyword.
  3. When you find the case, click on the appropriate link.
  4. To see the full text of the decision, click on the "Judgment" link on the left of the page, if it is available. If it is not available, the case has not yet been decided.
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