United Nations

A/RES/50/11


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  
50th session
15 November 1995


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 156

RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
[without reference to a Main Committee (A/50/L.6/Rev.1 and
Rev.1/Add.1 and A/50/L.14)]

50/11. Multilingualism

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 2 (I) of 1 February 1946, 2241 B (XXI)
of 20 December 1966, 2292 (XXII) of 8 December 1967, 2359 B (XXII) of
19 December 1967, 2479 (XXIII) and 2480 B (XXIII) of 21 December 1968,
3189 (XXVIII), 3190 (XXVIII) and 3191 (XXVIII) of 18 December 1973 and
43/224 D of 21 December 1988,

Recalling also, on the occasion of the commemoration of the
fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Charter of the United
Nations, that the universality of the United Nations and its
corollary, multilingualism, entail for each State Member of the
Organization, irrespective of the official language in which it
expresses itself, the right and the duty to make itself understood and
to understand others,

Stressing the need for strict observance of the resolutions and
rules establishing language arrangements for the different bodies and
organs of the United Nations,

Recalling further that Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian
and Spanish are both official and working languages of the General
Assembly and its committees and subcommittees, 1/ and of the Security
Council, 2/ that Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and
Spanish are the official languages and English, French and Spanish the
working languages of the Economic and Social Council, 3/ and that
English and French are the working languages of the Secretariat, 4/

Regretting that unequal use is made in the United Nations of the
different official languages and of the working languages of the
Secretariat, and desiring that persons recruited by the Organization
should have a command of and use at least one of the six official
languages in addition to one working language of the Secretariat,

Considering that the translation and interpretation budgets of
United Nations bodies should be commensurate with the needs and should
not be subject to budgetary constraints, as noted in resolution 42/207
C of 11 December 1987,

Noting that the principle of equality of the official languages
is being called into question with increasing frequency by the holding
of so-called "low-cost" informal meetings,

Emphasizing the need for the Organization to continue to promote
the learning of all the official languages and the working languages
of the Secretariat by members of missions accredited to the
Organization and by Secretariat staff,

Emphasizing also the importance of providing access for all
Governments and all sectors of civil society to the Organization's
documentation, archives and data banks in all the official languages,

1. Requests the Secretary-General to ensure the strict
implementation of the resolutions establishing language arrangements
for both the official languages and the working languages of the
Secretariat, and invites Member States to do likewise;

2. Recalls that the Secretariat is required, in its relations
with Member States, to use the official or working language requested
by those States;

3. Also requests the Secretary-General to ensure that
appointment of the staff of the Organization is carried out strictly
in accordance with the terms of Article 101 of the Charter and the
regulations established by the General Assembly pursuant to that
Article and that, upon recruitment, personnel recruited by the
different bodies of the Organization have a command of and use at
least one of the working languages of the Secretariat or one of the
working languages of another body of the Organization, in the case of
staff members who are to work for that body and whose tenure of
appointment does not exceed two years, and requests him to ensure that
the use of another of the six official languages is duly encouraged
and taken into account, particularly when promotions and incremental
steps are under consideration, in order to ensure linguistic balance
within the Organization;

4. Further requests the Secretary-General to ensure, in
particular in the recruitment and promotion of Secretariat staff,
equality of the working languages of the Secretariat and of their use;

5. Stresses the need to ensure, in particular through the
training and recruitment of specialists, that the necessary resources
are available to guarantee the proper and timely translation of
documents into the different official languages of the United Nations;

6. Recalls the need to ensure the simultaneous distribution of
such documents in the official languages;

7. Also stresses the need to ensure adequate human and
financial resources for maintaining the teaching, at all levels, of
the official languages and the working languages of the Secretariat;

8. Further stresses the importance of ensuring the availability
of publications and adequate data banks in the different official
languages in the libraries and documentation centres of the various
bodies;

9. Urges the delegations of Member States and the Secretariat
to endeavour to avoid holding informal meetings without
interpretation;

10. Requests the Secretary-General to submit at its fifty-second
session a report on the implementation of the present resolution and
particularly on the use of the official languages of the United
Nations and the working languages of the Secretariat.

49th plenary meeting
2 November 1995


Notes

1/ Rule 51 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly.

2/ Rule 41 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council.

3/ Rule 32 of the rules of procedure of the Economic and Social Council.

4/ Resolution 2 (I) of 1 February 1946.


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