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Government and country information: United Nations publications

Australian state and federal governments and parliamentary publications; UN and country economic and political information.

Searching for official United Nations documents

Use these to identify appropriate publications and then search ODS for full-text where available. Ask at the Information Desk for assistance with pre-1994 publications. Indexes include :


Major UN publications in the collection

The following titles compiled by the United Nations are very useful sources of world statistics and world social and economic trends. They can be consulted in the Ready Reference collection or online.

- Yearbook of the United Nations
- Demographic yearbook 
- Economic and social survey of Asia and the Pacific
- Statistical yearbook, 1993- and Statistical yearbook, 1948-1992.
- Monthly bulletin of statistics, 1992- (latest 12 months only and 1947-92).
- World population prospects
- World urbanization prospects

United Nations organisation

The United Nations is an international organisation founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. Due to its unique international character, and the powers vested in its founding Charter, the organisation can take action on a wide range of issues, and provide a forum for its 192 Member States to express their views, through the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and other bodies and committees.

The work of the United Nations reaches every corner of the globe. Although best known for peacekeeping, peacebuilding, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance, there are many other ways the United Nations and its System (specialised agencies, funds and programs) affect our lives and make the world a better place. The organisation works on a broad range of fundamental issues, from sustainable development, environment and refugees protection, disaster relief, counter-terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation, to promoting democracy, human rights, gender equality and the advancement of women, governance, economic and social development and international health, clearing landmines, expanding food production, and more, in order to achieve its goals and coordinate efforts for a safer world for this and future generations.

The State Library has collected United Nations publications since the establishment of the United Nations in 1946. The collection includes some documents of the League of Nations, forerunner to the United Nations.

Resolutions & Treaties

The United Nations Documents website provides free access to the full-text of Resolutions of the General Assembly from 1946,  the Resolutions & Decisions of the Economic and Social Council, and the Resolutions of the Security Council from 1946. Distribution of printed copies of UN documents and the Journal of the UN has been discontinued. All documents are available in electronic versions on the UN web site and on the Official Documents System (ODS).

United Nations Treaty Collection contains all multilateral treaties deposited with the Secretary- General of the United Nations and those formerly deposited with the League of Nations - their latest status and a link to the full texts. Bilateral and multilateral treaties registered with and published by the United Nations Secretariat in accordance with Article 102 up to a certain date - Detailed treaty references and full texts in all authentic language(s). Publications of other United Nations bodies.

  • Multilateral treaties deposited with the Secretary-General can be identified by the relevant chapter and sub-chapter, by subject-term in the Index and the General Table of Contents.
  • United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS) search screen allows for multiple search criteria to be used, such as :Date of Adoption/Conclusion, Participants (all categories), Subject-terms, Popular name of an Agreement, Registration number, etc. A title/key-word search is also available for the UNTS portion of the Collection.

Publications of other United Nations bodies

The United Nations has an extensive web presence as illustrated by:

the Official web site locator for the United Nations system of organisations which gives links to all United Nations Organisations, e.g. FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, IMO International Maritime Organisation, WHO World Health Organisation. Large organisations such as these keep recent publications and selected documents in full-text on their websites.

  • an overview of the UN featuring the UN charter, a list of UN bodies and Member States, a history of the UN and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • selected fulltext documents of the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, Security Council, Secretariat and International Court of Justice.

The State Library continues to hold hardcopy of a range of the key publications of United Nations Organisations which are catalogued and listed in the Library catalogue.