News archive

Here can archived material, previously published under the heading News, be found.

What is the UN doing to respond to the Syria crisis?

29 August 2013

The UN Department of Public Information (DPI) has developed a new product to share information on and highlight what the UN is doing to respond to the Syria crisis. The bulletin, which will be issued on a weekly basis, aims at providing a snapshot of the latest UN activities to address the crisis, gathered from open source material.

Read DPI Syria Updates.

More information on the UN and the Syria crisis:

UNRIC Library Backgrounder: Syrian Arab Republic

UN News Focus : Syria

United Nations and Egypt

20 August 2013

Secretary-General, alarmed by violence in Egypt, strongly condemns attacks on churches, hospitals, other public facilities as ‘unacceptable’. (SG/SM/15221-AFR/2682, 17 August 2013),

See UNRIC Library Backgrounder on Egypt for more information on the topic. It contains information on UN entities in Egypt, selected statements and speeches by UN officials as well as links to articles in UN journals and to UN documents.

UN War Crimes Commission’s archive is now available in the ICC Legal Tools Database

7 August 2013

The ICC Legal Tools Database has made available virtually all of the unrestricted records of the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC), including its Far Eastern and Pacific Sub-Commission, and its three committees. The Database can be accessed at here

More on the International Criminal Court.

UN responds to crisis in Syria

18 June 2013

Read about the latest developments in the Syria crisis. Get the background information about the UN involvement, humanitarian response and human rights issues, as well as UN official documents and press releases.

UN News Centre / In Focus: Syria

INDEX TO PROCEEDINGS publications available for download

18 June 2013

The INDEX TO PROCEEDINGS (ITP) print version ceased in 2011 and will continue as a digital only publication, starting 2012 with the following issues: 

The Index to Proceedings is a powerful tool which provides a window into the annual meetings of the main UN organs. The publication is comprised of a subject index to all the documents issued by the body in question during a particular session/year and an index to speeches delivered before the forum in question during a particular session/year. 

Please note that the Index to Proceedings publications are only published in English.

Palestinians win upgraded UN status

The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution to recognise Palestine as a non-member observer state. The motion carried with a vote of 138 countries in favour, 9 against and 41 abstentions.

The decision is largely symbolic, but it implicitly recognises a Palestinian state, and allows them to join UN agencies.

For more information, 

UN Climate Change Conference COP18

The UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, COP 18 - brings together the 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Delegates at the Conference will seek to negotiate a new commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol, the first phase of which runs out at the end of 2012. They will call to build on and implement previously agreed decisions to curb carbon emission by the year 2020.

For more information

Lakhdar Brahimi to replace Kofi Annan as UN Envoy to Syria

Veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi has agreed to replace Kofi Annan as the international mediator on Syria. 

Lakhdar Brahimi, 78, a former Algerian foreign minister and longtime UN diplomat, has long and profound experience of dealing with deep-rooted conflicts both within and between countries. He served as a UN Envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq and as a mediator in Haiti, South Africa, Zaire and Lebanon.

For more information

United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development - Rio+20

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, was hosted from 20 to 22 June 2912 by Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. It is the fifth in a series of United Naitons environmental conferences held every ten years - in Stockholm 1972, Nairobi 1982, Rio de Janeiro 1992 and in  Johannesburg 2002Rio+20 marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 conference held in the same city.

Rio+20 aimed to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess progress and gaps in implementation of outcomes of previous summits, and to address new and emerging challenges.

The conference had two main themes agreed upon by member states:

  • Green economy within the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
  • Institutional framework for sustainable development.

The Rio+20 outcome document, entitled The Future We Want emphasizes that green economy is an important way of achieving sustainable development and a process is launched to create Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs to build upon and complement the Millennium Development Goals.

For more information

U.N. Votes to send Syria Monitors

Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 2042 authorizing to send a group of 30 unarmed observers to Syria to oversee the ceasefire. A few day later the Coucnil unanimously approves resolution 2043 that authorizes up to 300 unarmed military observers to be sent to Syria. The mission will be known as UNSMIS - United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria.

The Security Council condemned the "widespread violations of human rights by the Syrian authorities, as well as any human rights abuses by armed groups".


Jan Eliasson - appointed UN's new Deputy Secretary-General 

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has chosen Jan Eliasson, a former Swedish foreign minister and a veteran in the field of diplomacy and international relations with years of experience as a key United Nations mediator and humanitarian relief director, to be his new Deputy Secretary-General. He takes office on July 1.

The post as Deputy Secretary-General was estalbished by the General Assembly in 1997. Responsibilities delegated by the Secretary-General, to the Deputy Secretary-General includes assisting the Secretary-General in managing the operations of the Secretariat and acting for the Secratry-General at United Nations Headquarters in his absence.

For more information

Climate Change Deal Reached in Durban 2011

After two weeks and extended negotiations over the weekend an agreement was reached at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban - COP17.
The text is known as Durban Platform for Enhanced Action - a package of decisions which include the launch of a protocol or legal instrument that would apply to all members, a second commitment period for the existing Kyoto Protocol and the launch of the Green Climate Fund.


The General Assembly honours Dag Hammarskjöld, 2011

The General Assembly opened its annual session on 13 September 2011.
The first meeting was dedicated to the memory of Dag Hammarskjöld,
the second Secretary General of the United Nations, who was killed in
a plane crash during a UN mission 50 years ago. 

Four areas of focus for this year's session were outlined: the peaceful settlement of conflicts, the revitalization of the UN organization, improvement of disaster prevention and response and a push forward for for the sustainable development agenda.

For more information

South Sudan becomes 193rd Member of the United Nations, 2011

The world's youngest nation - the Republic of South Sudan - became
the 193rd member of the United Nations on 14 July 2011, when the General Assembly admitted the newly independent country to the community of nations. South Sudan?s independence from the rest of Sudan
is the result of the January 2011 referendum.

For more information

UN closely watching developments in the Arab region

UN Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon expresses concern over the development in the Arab region and condemns the violence against civilians.

In a statement the UN Security Council condemns the use of force, demanding an immediate end to the violence, and calling on the Government of Libya to address the legitimate demands of the population. In its resolution 1970 the Security Council unanimously voted for santions on Libyan authorities. On 26 February, the Security Council decided to refer the question of Libya to the International Criminal Court. In its resolution 1973 from 17 March the Security Council imposes a ban an all flights in Libya's airspace authorizing "all necessary measures" to protect civilians under threats of attack. Ten members voted in favour, with five abstaining, including China, Russia and Germany.

The Human Rights Council holds a special session on the situation of human rights in Libya.

Adopting a concencus resolution the General Assembly suspends Libya?s membership in the Human Rights Council.

For more information

UN Conference on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico

The United Nations Climate Change Conference took place in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010.

Around 25 thousand participants, from governments, businesses, NGOs and the global scientific community tried to reach a consensus on ways to tackle climate change and agree on a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

The meeting does not establish a new global, legally binding treaty, but it reached a compromise agreement on important measures for tackling climate change.

The agreement includes plans to create a Special Climate Change Fund to help developing nations deal with global warming and to increase efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation.

For more information

The U.N. General Assembly opened its 65th session

The 65th General Assembly ordinary session opened on Tuseday 14 September 2010 with 160-item agenda. The new UN General Asselmbly President is Joseph Deiss, a former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.

The new Assembly will focus on the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), reform of the United Nations and the promotion of environmentally sustainable development.

A  High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on 20-22 September will focus on accelerating progress towards the achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.


UN Women - historic move

The General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on July 2010 to set up the new UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, to be known as UN Women.

The new body will consolidate four existing UN bodies on women:  UNIFEM - UN Development Fund for Women, DAW - The Division for the Advancement of Women, OSAGI - The Office fo the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women  and INSTRAW - The International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women.

The new entity will strengthen the role of the UN in advancing the situation for women and it will give a powerful voice for women within the UN system and at the global, regional and local level.

UN Women will be operational by January 2011 and it will be headed by former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet. 


See also DagDok: UN Women.

UN information resources on Haiti, 2010

News Focus: Haiti earthquake is a web portal to UN information resources on Haiti created by UN News Centre. It contains news, reports from the United Nations and its specialized agencies, resolutions, statements and meeting records.

UN on Youtube

The United Nations provides daily new through its television channel UN Channel on Youtube

United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen, 2009

Represenatitives from 192 nations meet in Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Conference - The 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The aim of the Conference is a new global agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol. The agreement will serve as a global deal to limit greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. In order to reduce carbon emission worldwide the wealthier nations nations must agree to help poorer countries to deal with climate change.

The Copenhagen Accord - advance unedited version and draft text.

For further information,

Se also DagDok: Environment and Sustainable Development 

The United Nations and Google to fight poverty

The United Nations has teamed up with Google and Cisco to launch a new web site - the MDG Monitor.

The site will provide data and information on global efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - eight goals to be achieved by 2015 that respond to the world's main development challenges, approved by world leaders at a UN Summit in 2000.

The site includes Google Earth's map and satellite imagery to fly anywhere on the planet and explore where work is being done to achieve these goals. 

For further information, see:

UN Yearbook goes online, 2008

Yearbook of the United Nations has been the primary reference work on the Organization since 1946. It details the many activities of the Organization and its organs, programmes and bodies, as they are carried out in all corners of the globe. The Collection includes every volume published since 1946 with a detailed subject index including bibliographical notes and references.

Since October 2008 the complete full text collection of The United Nations Yearbooks is available online at . 

The database provides free public access to the 59 volumes of the Yearbook collection, detailing the work and achievements of the United Nations system over the first 60 years of its existence (1946-2005).

UN News Centre.

Sweden hosts the first  Iraq Compact Annual Review Conference, 2008

The International Compact with Iraq (ICI) is an international partnership aimed at supporting the political process in Iraq needed to create stability and support the strengthening of democracy and respect for human rights.
The ICI is led by the government of Iraq and co-chaired by the UN. 

The ICI was launched in Sharm el-Sheikh on 3 May 2007. The first Annual Review Conference takes place in Stockholm on May 29, 2008.

For further information, see:

See also:

The United Nations Climate Change Conference 2007 in Bali

The United Nations Climate Change Conference took place in Bali, Indonesia, from 3 to 14 December 2007. Delegates from over 180 nations, together with observers from intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, met to draft a plan to replace the Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012. 

After two weeks of bitter disagremments and accusations a compromise was reached: "the Bali roadmap" contains text on emissions cuts, the transfer of clean technology to developing countries, halting deforestation and helping poorer nations protect their economies and societies against impacts of climate change.  

For further information,

Se also:

International Panel on Climate Change - a Nobel Prize Winnner

The Interngovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the former US Vice President Al Gore have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2007 "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change". 

For further information, see:
IPCC official web site
DagDok: Environment and Sustainable Development


UN force to Darfur

After months of discussion the Security Council unanimously passed resolution 1769 creating UNAMID - the United Nations/African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur, authorizing 26,000 troops and police to protect civilians in Darfur, thus constituting the largest peacekeeping operation in the world. 

Under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, UNAMID is authorized to take the necessary action to support implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement, as well as to protect its personnel and civilians. UNAMID will not be able to seize illegal arms as proposed initially but can simply ?monitor? such weapons. All mention of sanctions, international pressure or military action against Sudan and strong statements against the pro-militia government have been deliberately kept out of the resolution.

UNAMID has an initial mandate of 12 moths and, according to the plan, it will start operating by the end of the year.  

For further information, see:

Sanctions against Iran

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1747 on 24 March 2007.

The resolution tightens the sanctions banning Iran's arms exports and freezing its assets abroad. This is the response to Iran's refusal to comply with repeated UN demands to suspend all activities related to its enrichment program.  

The resolution was adopted after months-long debate, since Russia and China, with strong commercial ties with Tehran, have been reluctant to support sanctions. 

For further information, see:
UN News Centre 24 March 2007
Security Council Press Release SC/8980
Security Council Meeting S/PV.5647, 24 March 2007
IAEA, In Focus: IAEA and Iran



Urgent climate warning 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented its second report at a meeting in Paris on 2 February 2007. The IPPC report states that "human activity" such as the burning of fossil fuels and intensive agriculture are very likely to be behind the hotter temperatures and the rising sea levels.

The United Nations Panel, which groups 2,500 scientists from more than 130 nations, asserts that there is no longer a possibility that the global climate change in the last fifty years could be explained by natural variation.

To view a summary of the report: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis

See also:

Jan Eliasson appointed UN Special Envoy on Darfur

Kofi Annan has appointed Jan Eliasson a Special Envoy on the Darfur crisis. Annan?s appointment came after consultations with SecretaryGeneral-designate Ban Ki-Moon. Eliasson?s task is to deal with the humanitarian and security crisis and to re-energise the international political process on Darfur .

UN News Centre
UN News Focus: Sudan

Kofi Annan leaves office after 10 years

At his last conference as UN Secretary-General his expressed sadness for being unable to prevent the war in Iraq. 

He said his lowest moments involved his failure to prevent the Iraq war, the deaths of 22 UN staffers in Baghdad, including special envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello of Brazil, in a Baghdad attack in August 2003, and the way the oil-for food corruption scandal.

Among his proudest achievements, Mr Annan cited the promotion of human rights and social and economic development and the approval by UN member states last year of the concept of "Responsibility to Protect".

Kofi Annan' last press conference as UN Secretary-General, see
UN News Centre,  Press Conferences, 19 December 2006


Security Council approves appeals over terrorism blacklist

Through the unanimous adaption of resolution 1730 the Security Council has adopted fair and clear procedures for placing individuals and entities on sanctions lists and for removing them. 

South Korean appointed as the United Nations eighth UN Secretary-General

The General Assembly has adopted a resolution by acclamation appointing South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon to succeed Kofi Annan as the next UN Secretary-General.

Ban will become the eighth Secretary-General  on January 1 when Annan's second five-year term expires.

UN New Centre, 13 October 2006
UN New Focus: Secretary-General Designate
General Assembly document A/61/L.3

The 61st session of the General Assembly opens

The 61st session of the General Assembly began work on 12 September 2006. Ambassador Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa from the Kingdom of Bahrain was elected President of the Assembly - the third women to occupy this post.

Counter-terrorism strategies, the promotion of gender equalilty, procurement reforms and the Millennium Development Goals are topics to be highlighted during the 61 Session.

United Nations General Assembly 61st Session
Provisional Agenda
GA President
GA President Acceptance Speech

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