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United Nations Document Symbols

Structure of Symbols

A symbol is a combination of numbers and letters, which serves as a unique identifier for a United Nations document. It generally does not give any significant indication of the subject of a document. All language versions of a document carry the same symbol. The first component usually reflects the parent organ issuing the document or to which the document is being submitted:

A/-

General Assembly

S/-

Security Council

E/-

Economic and Social Council

ST/-

Secretariat

Some exceptions occur in the case of bodies for which a special series symbol has been created not reflecting the parent organ. For example:

CRC/C/-

Committee on the Rights of the Child

DP/-

United Nations Development Programme

TD/-

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

UNEP/-

United Nations Environment Programme

Secondary and tertiary components indicate subsidiary bodies:

-/AC. .../-

Ad hoc committee

-/C. .../-

Standing/permanent/main committee

-/CN. .../-

Commission

-/CONF. .../-

Conference

-/GC. .../-

Governing council

-/PC/. .../-

Preparatory committee

-/SC. .../-

Subcommittee

-/Sub. .../-

Subcommission

-/WG. .../-

Working group

Special components reflect the nature of the document:

-/CRP. ...

Conference room paper

-/INF/-

Information series (e.g., lists of participants)

-/L. ...

Limited distribution (i.e., generally draft documents)

-/NGO/-

Statements by non-governmental organizations

-/PET/-

Petitions

-/PRST/-

Statements by the President of the Security Council

-/PV. ...

Verbatim records of meetings (i.e., proces-verbaux)

-/R. ...

Restricted distribution; restricted access (unless subsequently derestricted)

-/RES/-

Resolutions

-/SR. ...

Summary records of meetings

-/WP. ...

Working papers

The final component, appearing as a suffix to a symbol, reflects modifications to the original text:

-/Add. ...

Addendum

-/Amend. ...

Alteration, by decision of a competent authority, of a portion of an adopted formal text

-/Corr. ...

Corrigendum (which may not apply to all language versions)

-/Rev. ...

Revision (replacing texts previously issued)

-/Summary

Summarized version

-/-*

Reissuance of a document for technical reasons

Examples:

A/55/1

General Assembly, 55th session, document
no. 1

A/CONF.157/PC/63/Add.4

General Assembly, World Conference on Human Rights, Preparatory Committee, document no. 63, addendum no. 4

E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/38/Rev.2

Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, year: 2003, document no. 38, revision no. 2

As of the 31st session (1976), the General Assembly began to incorporate the session number into the symbols of its documents (e.g., A/31/99). Similarily in 1978, the Economic and Social Council began incorporating the year into the symbols of its documents (e.g., E/1978/99); the Security Council began doing the same in 1994 (e.g., S/1994/99), with the exception of resolutions and meeting records.

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