Meetings and Publishing Division
Within the deliberative work of the United Nations “the word” is paramount – from the spoken word in meetings to the written word of the final record. Those two means of human expression find themselves at the heart of the work of the Meetings and Publishing Division (MPD), from simultaneous conference interpretation to printed and published documentation. Add to that a twenty-first century twist, the digital word. Indeed, the great challenge of the Division is to adapt its work methods to new and increasing demands for sustainable electronic media. Even though the words themselves remain a constant, the means by which they find efficient and effective dissemination are in continuing evolution.
In order to give some idea of the scope of the work of the Division, the following figures are indicative:
- Total printing production at United Nations Headquarters in 2009 was approximately 336 million page impressions, that is on average just under 6.5 million pages weekly;
- The number of assignments for the Interpretation Service in 2009 was just under 33,000;
- The number of meetings for which the Verbatim Reporting Service produced records in 2010 was 411;
- The estimated production total of the Copy Preparation and Proofreading Section for the biennium 2010-2011 is over 530,000 pages.
The Division is an active proponent of the use of eco-friendly materials and practices and of new technologies in all fields, including on-demand printing and digital publishing, which minimize the use of valuable resources in the printing process. By introducing new technologies across the publishing work-flow, the Division offers Member States and all other users multi-channel distribution, with options for digital distribution methods, while maintaining high-level traditional printing services.
As part the on-going “Greening the UN” initiative of the United Nations Secretariat, the Division is responsible for all United Nations parliamentary documents, in all official languages, and it provides guidance to the Secretariat on best practices in industry standard printed and electronic publishing. Efforts in the latter area will provide documents in a more portable, more accessible and more sustainable format for delegates, staff and the public who use electronic devices, and they will simultaneously save on usage of paper.
Given the advent of new tablet personal computers, mobile devices and e-readers, the Division has undertaken as a pilot project the production of certain United Nations documents and publications in ePub format compatible with such devices as iPad and Kindle. The Division’s Content Design Unit (CDU), using new software and a new system to create digital formats, produced electronic versions in six languages of the proces-verbal records of the high-level summit and ePub formats of the Millennium Development Goals Gap Task Force Report 2010: The Global Partnership for Development at a Critical Juncture during the sixty-fifth session of the Assembly. Users were thus able to download the documents and publications to their mobile devices and e-readers. They have enriched features such as the possibility of enlarging and searching text, and they include a built-in dictionary. The new formats and devices also provide a way for visually impaired users to read those documents.
As the first phase of a new publishing pilot project, the Division has acquired WoodWing’s Enterprise 7, a digital web-based publishing system, to enhance the workflow and allow publications to be produced for print, web, e-readers, and various mobile devices. Documents in the new ePub formats will be available through the Department’s website at http://dd.dgacm.org/mpd/.
The goal of the Division is the timely provision of the spoken word and of the written word in the most user-friendly means possible.
The Division consists of the following units:
- Interpretation Service (IS)
- Verbatim Reporting Service (VRS)
- Meeting Support Section (MSS)
- Meetings Servicing Unit (MSU)