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Government Information

United Nations

The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization (IGO) founded after the Second World War (1945) by countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. It is a successor to the League of Nations.

Today, the UN System includes a wide range of departments, offices, commissions, programs, funds, specialized agencies and related organizations (e.g. World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund, etc.). All of these bodies are linked to one of the six principal organs of the UN System. 

It is important to understand the difference between DOCUMENTS and PUBLICATIONS when looking for materials produced by the UN System. In general, publications are created to inform people outside the publishing organization about its activities (e.g., Human Development Report) and documents are created to record the decision making process and its output and are often associated with the masthead documents and Official Records of the six principal organs (e.g. Meeting Minutes, Resolutions, Decisions).

Starting Points - Major Databases

Background Research

UNRIC Library Backgrounders

The UNRIC Info Point & Library issues backgrounders on various subjects that list relevant URLs within the UN system.

Research Guides at United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library

Guides provide information about numerous countries, regions, and topics. Some include: