Yearbook of the United Nations

By Jackson, Peter | UN Chronicle, September-November 2006 | Go to article overview

Yearbook of the United Nations


Jackson, Peter, UN Chronicle


MORE THAN SIXTY YEARS after its creation, the United Nations, despite recent difficulties, remains the foundation for international cooperation and action on global issues, the forum for voicing and discussing areas of concern to all nations, the prime initiator of solving many global problems and the leader in efforts to make the world a safer place. A complete, concise and organized record of those activities over the years is compiled in the Yearbook of the United Nations, which is published annually by the UN Department of Public Information.

The idea of publishing a yearbook was conceived at the Organization's inception by its then managers, who recognized the historic importance of the moment and the need to record events that would help shape the course of world history and international relations for years to come. Trygve Lie, the first UN Secretary-General, in the foreword of the first edition of the Yearbook described it as "an overall account of our work in the conviction that such a collection of basic information in one volume is essential to anyone who wishes to know the United Nations and, in the light of his knowledge, to give it his enlightened support". The Yearbook is not a history text but an authoritative chronicle of the work of the United Nations--from the San Francisco Conference to the war in Iraq. While information about the work of the UN system exists in different forms both inside and outside the world Organization, it is the only text that collates every year the huge volume of information generated by UN activities and organizes it by subject area, making it an easy to use reference work.

The Yearbook is divided into six sections, each dealing with the main trust of the work of the United Nations. The first section covers peace and security issues, such as conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping, international counter-terrorism efforts, disarmament, decolonization and political developments in the conflict zones of each major geographical region, namely Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. The second section looks at human rights questions, grouped in chapters dealing with human rights promotion, protection and violations, while the third records developments in the economic, social and related fields, including UN operational activities, international economic development and trade issues, humanitarian and disaster relief efforts, the environment, human settlements, population issues, social policy, crime prevention, human resources development, issues relating to women and children, youth and ageing persons, refugees and displaced people, health, food and nutrition, international drug control and statistics. …

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