The United Nations World Tourism Organization - was founded in 1925 but it was not until 2003 that it was establed as a specialized agency of the UN. The UNWTO secretariat and headquarters are located in Madrid.


UNWTO serves as a global forum for the development of responsible and sustainable tourism, paying particular attention to the interests of
developing countries. The aim of the work is to

  • increase understanding for different peoples and civilizations
  • increase knowledge about different cultures
  • encourage economic growth and sustainable development.

Global Code of Ethics for Tourism

UNWTO initiated The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET). It was officially recongnized by the UN General Assembly in 2001 and serves as a set of principles for responsible and sustainable development of world tourism. The World Tourism Organization works to promote the follow-up of these principles.


The General Assembly is the supreme organ of the UNWTO. It meets every two years to approve the budget and programme of work, as well as to debate vital issues. The six regional commissions enable member States to maintain contact with one another and with the Secretariat between sessions.

The Executive Council is responsible for ensuring that the Organization carries out its work and adheres to its budget.

The specialized committees give advice of management and programme content.

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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