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Department for General Assembly and Conference Management

Editing Section

The Editing Section is responsible for editing a vast range of parliamentary documentation submitted for the consideration of all of the major bodies meeting in New York. This includes documents of the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and all of their subsidiary bodies, as well as submissions from other intergovernmental bodies and from Member States. Working to strict deadlines, the editors strive to ensure that the documents are correct, clear, consistent and logical—as well as translatable. They make sure that established terminology is used and that editorial standards, policies and practices are followed. Editors are alert to subtle nuances of meaning and attuned to political sensitivities.

The editors are available to work one-on-one with authors to organize and refine their reports, and they frequently consult with author departments, sponsors, facilitators and committee secretaries to clarify meaning to avoid ambiguities and misstatements. They also liaise closely with all other units involved in the documentation chain, in particular the translation services.

An important role of the Section is to issue the official records of the major United Nations organs, consisting of the final authentic texts of their resolutions and decisions, in the six official languages. The editors organize and lead multilingual concordance teams, which include a specialist from each of the translation services, that strive to ensure consistency across the six language versions.

All of the editors have English as their main language and have passed a rigorous exam that tests editing skills in English and knowledge of two other official languages. Although around 95 per cent of the documents submitted for editing are drafted in English, the Editing Section is able to work in all six official languages.

The Editing Section maintains the United Nations Editorial Manual Online, which serves as the authoritative statement of the style to be followed in drafting, editing and reproducing United Nations documents, publications and other written material. The searchable guide includes a link to an online report-writing course, links to online reference materials and an editorial help desk function.

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