Originally established as a traditional, in-house printing shop for publications and for parliamentary documents (those mandated by the General Assembly and other intergovernmental bodies and conferences that meet under the aegis of the United Nations and prepared for their consideration), the Publishing Section has evolved into the focal point for all publishing activities of the United Nations. Today it plays an integral role in the daily production of documentation in all six official languages. Working 24 hours a day Monday through Friday, the Section ensures that all publishing requirements are met in a cost-efficient and timely manner.
The out-put numbers of the Section tell a tale of change. In 2008, 436 million pages of parliamentary documentation were produced. In 2009, the number dropped to 336 million, and in 2010 the provisional total was 220 million – a reduction of roughly 40 per cent in two years time. This is due not only to greater efficient and better use of available resources within the Section, but also to an emphasis on electronic distribution. While there will always be a need for paper copies, users of United Nations documents are becoming insistent upon receiving their daily dose of reports in electronic format.
One of the on-going projects of the Section is the creation of a web portal the purpose of which is to make digital versions of the daily-issued parliamentary documents and the Journal of the United Nations more accessible to the primary users of the Service. The project is part of the efforts of the Section to promote the use of digital formats of documents and publications to support mobile devices. This is an ongoing initiative of the Distribution Unit, which historically handles the physical distribution of documents to Member States and their Permanent Missions, along with electronic methods of delivery.
The Section is an active proponent of eco-friendly materials and practices and new technologies. It is responsible for the production of special types of documents such as the creation of Braille documents, when needed.
Rather than printing large quantities of documents and stocking them, the Publishing Section is moving inexorably to on-demand printing, where the quantity of material printed meets the demand required rather than overshooting it. The resultant savings in resources, not to mention stock management, are one result of this shift. In addition, the Section is using computer-to-plate pre-press and digital publishing, which minimizes the use of resources in the printing process and is more environmentally friendly. The Section has grown “greener” in the process.
For more information on the Publishing Section please visit: http://www.un.org/en/ps.
Last Update: 23 May 2011 / Razmee APPADU