For sessions of major UN bodies, a Background
Press Release (example)
is issued listing, among other things, the topics to be discussed
at the meetings, the membership of the body in question and other
relevant background information.
Since meeting record entitlements are increasingly
being reduced, the press release on a given meeting is, in many
cases, the only source providing information in summarized form
about past discussions. For the bodies for which meeting records
are still issued, the press release will give an immediate overview
whereas the official record of the meeting will, in most cases,
not appear until much later.
The Round-up Press Release (example),
published shortly after the conclusion of the meetings, represents
the only source of information on the outcome of the session until
the formal report is produced (which can take months).
Press releases giving information about meetings
of the Security Council include the full text of the resolutions
and presidential statements agreed upon at the meeting. In addition,
compilations of resolutions for the Security
Council are produced well in advance of the official record
containing the same material.
Press releases are also a vital source for information
unavailable elsewhere, e. g., speeches by the Secretary-General
made at non-UN fora (series SG/SM/-: example)
or biographical material (series BIO/-: