UNCTAD - United Nations Conference on Trade and Development was established in Geneva in 1964 as a special organ of the General Assembly. It is to serve as a forum for trade negotiations for the promotion of international trade, especially between countries with different levels of development. Its aim is that of accelerating economic growth, in particular in developing countries.

UNCTAD is headquartered in Geneva.

More on UNCTAD

UNCTAD issues a considerable amount of documents and reports, handbooks, statistical papers and yearbooks.

Flagship reports

  • Trade and Development Report is an annual overview of the role of developing countries in world trade.
  • World Investment Report focuses on trends in foreign direct investment (FDI) worldwide, at the regional and country levels and emerging measures to improve its contribution to development.
  • Least Developed Countries Report. A comprehensive source of socio-economic analysis and data on the world´s most impoverished countries.
  • Economic Development in Africa report analyses major aspects of Africa´s development problems and policy issues of interest to African countries as well as makes policy recommendations for action.
  • Review of Maritime Transport provides an analysis of structural and cyclical changes affecting seaborne trade, ports and shipping, as well as an extensive collection of statistical information.
  • Technology and Innovation Report seeks to address issues in science, technology and innovation that are topical and important for developing countries in a comprehensive way with an emphasis on policy relevant analysis and conclusions.
  • Commodities and Development Report provides in-depth analysis of topics of particular interest to commodity dependent developing countries and presents policy proposals.

UNCTAD statistics

  • UNCTADstats provides free access to comprehensive statistical time series and indicators essential for the analysis of world trade.
  • UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics provides data about world trade and international economic development based on international and national sources.
  • UNCTAD and SDGs

Research guide

UNCTAD Copies of the report. 20 November 2013 United Nations, New York Photo # 571290
UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

UN documents = Official records

Official records is a series of printed documents relating to the work of the main organs of the United Nations (General AssemblySecurity Council and Economic and Social Council). Some UN conferences may also have official records. Official records are defined in Regulations for the Control and Limitation of Documentation, ST/AI/189/Add.3/Rev.2.

Generally, official records consist of meeting protocols as well as resolutions and decisions from a UN organ. Reports and other selected documents are published as an annex or supplement to the UN entity concerned.

The UN documentation provides insight into the actions of the organs

  • Decisions are found in resolutions, decisions, presidental statements
  • Activities are found in reports of the Secretary-General, adminstrators of funds and programmes, heads of specialized agencies, reports of subsidiary bodies.
  • Negotiations and voting can be found in meeting records and reports of subsidiary bodies.
  • Positions of member states of the UN can be found in meeting records and letters.

Every UN document is assigned a document symbol, which is the easiest way to find a document.

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
  • UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions
  • United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.
UN Documents available online
Last modified: 2024-02-15