Meetings management

A wide view of the ECOSOC chamber. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Meeting services

The Department for General Assembly and Conference Management is responsible for providing the following services for meetings held in conference rooms located in the General Assembly Building and the Conference Building in New York:

  • Meeting planning and programming
  • Meeting room servicing
  • Interpretation
  • Documentation and publishing services, including:
    • Editing
    • Translation
    • Text processing and desktop publishing
    • Printing
    • Distribution
    • Official, written meeting records
       

For general enquiries regarding meeting requests and related services, please contact the Meetings Management Section (12th floor, Secretariat Building, tel.: +1 212-963 7351 or +1 212 963 8114, email).

For general enquiries regarding documents, please contact the Documents Management Section (12th floor, Secretariat Building; tel.: +1 212 963 6579, email).

For general enquiries regarding printing and distribution of documents and related services, please contact the Meetings Support Section (room L1B-100, first basement, Library Building; tel.: +1 212 963 1483 or +1 212 963 7348, email).

 

Calendar of conferences and meetings of the United Nations

As the budget cycle has changed from biennial to annual, the biennial calendar of conferences and meetings of the United Nations has also been changed to an annual one since the seventy-fourth session of the General Assembly (see Assembly resolution 74/252). A calendar of conferences and meetings in the economic, social and related fields for the following biennium (Economic and Social Council calendar) has been prepared in odd years. The latest version was for the biennium 2020-2021.

The annual calendar is reviewed by the Committee on Conferences, which forwards it to the General Assembly for its approval. The Economic and Social Council calendar is reviewed and considered by the Council. In even years, an annual calendar is updated and issued.

The calendars contain the details of conferences and meetings that have legislative mandates and budgetary provisions (entitlements). They also contain a separate section with details of conferences and meetings of the principal organs of the specialized agencies, the International Atomic Energy Agency and treaty bodies established under the auspices of the United Nations.

The daily programme of meetings, with information on conference room assignments, is displayed on electronic screens outside the conference rooms. 

In addition to those meetings that are listed in the official calendar of conferences, meeting rooms and resources are also required for informal consultations while formal meetings are taking place; for briefings to and meetings of groups of Member States; and for meetings and events sponsored by permanent or observer missions to the United Nations or United Nations system entities. All of these meetings and events are programmed by the Meetings Management Section.

 

How to reserve a meeting room in gMeets (One-Stop-Shop)

All authorized requesting entities, including permanent missions, that wish to book conference rooms and meeting services should submit a request through the gMeets portal.

gMeets is a single entry point to submit requests for meeting services at United Nations Headquarters. Through an easy-to-use self-service web interface, clients now have the flexibility to select from a range of meeting services, including conference room allocation; interpretation; nameplates, podium signs and room set-up; publishing material in the Journal of the United Nations; audio-visual services; webcast services; and access and security-related services and loaning of technological equipment.

Information on meeting services, as well as on costs, is made available to facilitate informed decisions by requesters. The tool streamlines and facilitates coordination with and among service providers to enable the Secretariat to handle requests for meeting services more efficiently. The platform is available in English and French.

To access gMeets (One-Stop-Shop):

  1. Log in at https://conferences.unite.un.org/gMeets
  2. Enter your gMeets username and password
  3. Begin the process of creating a new request for room and meeting services under the “New Request” tab
  4. Follow three simple steps: provide basic information, request services, and review and submit request.

Stay up to date with the status of requests in the “All My Requests” section.

For questions or feedback, please email.

All mandatory fields, including the screening questions, must be completed. Requests are reviewed and confirmed by the Meetings Management Section. Requesters may check the status of their requests in the “All My Requests” section of the portal. For additional information, please contact the Meetings Management Section (tel.: +1 212 963 7351 or +1 212 963 8114; email.

 

Duration of meetings

Morning meetings are generally scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and afternoon meetings from 3 to 6 p.m. (official meeting hours). Lunchtime bookings are strictly limited to 1.15 to 2.30 p.m. Interpretation is not provided for lunchtime meetings or events.

Punctuality. Owing to the large number of meeting requests and the limited facilities available, it is essential that meetings start on time and that the above schedule be strictly followed. Therefore, delegations are urged to be present at meetings on time. In its resolution 59/313 of 12 September 2005, the General Assembly strongly urged all officers presiding over meetings of the Assembly to start meetings on time.

Scheduling of meetings. It is advisable to schedule related meetings consecutively to ensure the maximum utilization of available services. For ease of transition, however, there should be a short gap between unrelated meetings.

Cancellations. If a scheduled meeting is cancelled, the organizers are requested to inform the Meetings Management Section immediately to allow for the reallocation of resources.

Requests for interpretation services. Requests for interpretation from regional and other major groupings of Member States, as well as other informal meetings, can be accommodated only if services originally earmarked for meetings of Charter or mandated bodies have been released. Interpretation services are available only from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays (Monday to Friday).

 

Use of premises

The use of United Nations premises is governed by administrative instruction ST/AI/2019/4, supplemented by a note verbale from the Department, most recently DGACM/OUSG/03/2018 of 9 April 2018. The administrative instruction and the note verbale provide up-to-date guidance on the use of the United Nations conference rooms, clarify the roles and responsibilities of each party involved and emphasize that all meetings and events must adhere to the principles of the United Nations and be non-commercial in nature.   

 

Use and care of electronic equipment

Delegates and other meeting participants are requested not to take food and liquids other than water into the conference rooms, to avoid damaging the simultaneous interpretation audio systems and other technical equipment. Care should also be taken when using microphones, channel selectors, voting switches and audio earphones, as these are sensitive electronic devices. Please note that placing a cellular phone near a microphone may interfere with sound quality.

 

Journal of the United Nations

The digital Journal of the United Nations contains information on the meetings of the day, including:

  • Official meetings (summaries are added after the meetings, where applicable)
  • Informal consultations
  • Other meetings
  • Forthcoming meetings
     

It also features:

  • Real-time updates of meeting information
  • Daily list of documents
  • Signatures and ratifications of multilateral treaties deposited with the Secretary-General
  • Information on press conferences
  • General information
     

The Journal of the United Nations is prepared by the Journal Unit (email; 12th floor, Secretariat Building; tel.: +1 212 963 3888 or +1 212 963 0493. Open from 2 p.m. Monday to Friday).

The Journal is issued from Monday to Friday. In accordance with General Assembly resolution 71/323, all content related to official meetings, including summaries, is published in the six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) throughout the year, in accordance with rule 55 of the rules of procedure of the Assembly.

The Journal is compatible with smart phones and tablets and is available at journal.un.org. The Journal is also accessible through the website of the United Nations, the Official Document SystemTwitter (@Journal_UN_ONU) and Facebook, and by eSubscription.

Material related to official meetings for inclusion in the Journal should be submitted through the Journal Content Management System (journal.un.org/jcms). Material related to informal consultations and other meetings and events should be communicated by email to journal@un.org. The deadline for the submission of material to be included in the following day’s issue of the Journal is 6.30 p.m. for the programme of meetings and the summaries. For other activities, material should be submitted before 6 p.m. at least two days in advance.

 

Interpretation

In meetings for which interpretation is provided, statements made in any of the six official languages of the United Nations are interpreted into the other official languages. For written statements, it is essential that delegations provide copies of their texts to the conference officer in the conference room for the use of the interpreters in order to ensure the quality of interpretation. Speakers are requested to deliver their statements at a speed that is interpretable. Although delegations are increasingly being given a time frame in which to deliver their statements, they are kindly requested to do so at a normal speed to enable the interpreters to give an accurate and complete rendition of their statements. When statements are delivered at a fast pace to comply with the time limit, the quality of interpretation may suffer. It is suggested that statements be delivered at a speed not exceeding the equivalent of 100 to 120 words per minute in English.

In cases in which statements are made in a language other than the official languages (see rule 53 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly), delegations must provide either an interpreter or a written text of the statement in one of the official languages. The interpretation into the other official languages by United Nations interpreters will be based on the interpretation or written text accepted by the Secretariat as representing the official text of the statement. A “pointer” – a person who knows the language in which the statement is to be delivered and the official language into which it has been translated – should be made available by the delegation, to guide the United Nations interpreter throughout the translated text and to ensure synchronization between the speaker and the interpreter. Detailed arrangements for interpretation from non-official languages, including access by interpreters not from the United Nations to the interpreter booths, must be made in advance through the Meetings Management Section (tel.: +1 212 963 8114; email).

 

Written translations of statements delivered in official languages

“Read out verbatim” or “check against delivery” should be specified on the first page of the text when delegations provide a written translation of their statement. For written texts provided in more than one official language, delegations should indicate clearly which one is to be accepted as the official text.

Read out verbatim. Interpreters will follow the translation. Therefore, any deviation from the text on the part of the speaker, including omissions and additions, is unlikely to be reflected in the interpretation.

Check against delivery. Interpreters will follow the speaker and not the translation. If the speaker deviates from the text, delegations should be aware that the interpretation heard by the audience will not necessarily correspond to the translation that they may have distributed to the audience and the press.

Microphones. The microphones start to operate only when the representative taking the floor has been called upon to speak and the delegate has pushed the button. To ensure the best possible recording and interpretation of the statement, representatives should speak directly and clearly into the microphone, in particular when providing figures, quotations or highly technical material or when reading from a prepared text. Tapping on the microphone to test if it is working, turning pages and making or answering cellular phone calls should be avoided.

 

Records of meetings

Written meeting records are provided for the plenary meetings of the principal organs, meetings of the Main Committees of the General Assembly and, on a limited and selective basis, meetings of certain other bodies. Meeting records are either verbatim records or summary records. The records are prepared by the Secretariat and are subject to correction by delegations. However, corrections that add to, or alter the sense of, a statement as actually delivered cannot be accepted.

In addition, audiovisual recordings of meetings are available for consultation.

  • Verbatim records (also called PVs) cover the proceedings of a meeting in full. Each verbatim record in an official language of the United Nations contains translations of speeches made in other official languages and edited transcriptions of speeches delivered in the original language.
  • Delegates are advised that if any portion of a written statement is not actually read out, then it will not appear in the record of that meeting.
  • Summary records (also called SRs) cover the proceedings in a concise, abbreviated form. They are not intended to include each intervention or to reproduce statements textually.
  • The provision of written records (verbatim or summary) for United Nations bodies is regulated pursuant to decisions of the General Assembly and other principal organs.

 

Corrections to meeting records

Corrections should be in the form indicated in the corrections footnote on the front page of the verbatim record or summary record. If corrections are inserted in a copy of the record, the front page of the corrected record should bear the signature and title of an authorized official of the delegation concerned.

Corrections to verbatim records should be limited to errors and omissions in statements as actually delivered, that is, in the original language. When a request is submitted for a correction, a check is made against the audiovisual recording of the relevant speech.

Corrections to summary records should not cover points of style or include lengthy additions that would upset the general balance of the summary record.

The text of a speech should not be submitted in lieu of corrections.

 

Issuance of corrections

Records of United Nations bodies are reissued electronically and posted on the Official Document System in corrected form.

 

Copies of prepared texts of statements in plenary meetings and in meetings of the Main Committees

If available, at least 20 copies of the text should be submitted to the receiving area of the documentation desk at the rear of the General Assembly Hall or at any conference officer’s desk in meeting rooms between 8 and 9 a.m. by a representative of a delegation, who must have a valid United Nations grounds pass.

To submit electronic versions of their statements, delegations are invited to send a copy (in both PDF and Microsoft Word formats, whenever possible) to eStatements no later than two hours in advance of delivery. The name of the meeting and the speaker, as well as the agenda item, should be clearly indicated in the subject line of the email and in the heading of the statement. The statements will remain embargoed until their delivery. Alternatively, when meetings are on site and statements cannot be sent electronically, delegations may bring an unstapled hard copy to the conference officers’ desk in the meeting rooms, for scanning and uploading to the digital version of the Journal after the meeting. 

Questions relating to General Assembly documentation should be addressed to the staff of the Documents Management Section.

 

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