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Paragraphs and subparagraphs  

In United Nations documents, to ensure that references and cross-references are identical in all language versions, the paragraphs are normally numbered consecutively, with arabic numerals. The paragraphs are not numbered in summaries or other front matter, or in letters or statements received from Member States and circulated as documents.

In a document made up of replies from Member States or organizations to a request by the Secretary-General for information or comments, the paragraphs need not be numbered. The replies are arranged in the alphabetical order of the names of the States or organizations in each of the language versions.

In United Nations publications, the paragraphs should be numbered only if the numbers would serve a useful purpose.

Subparagraphs should be identified in the following way:

First degree:        (a) ,   (b),   (c)   etc.

     (French and Spanish:   a),   b),   c)   etc.)

Second degree:   ( i) ,   (ii),   (iii)   etc.

     (French and Spanish:   i),   ii),   iii)  etc.)

Third degree:      a. ,   b.,   c.   etc.

Fourth degree:     i. ,   ii.,   iii.   etc.

The correct form is shown in the following example:

44.   The actions to be taken by the General Assembly in connection with the strengthening of security and safety are:

          (a)   To approve the additional posts requested under sections 3, 7, 29D and 31 of the programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005;

          (b)   To approve the proposed revised funding arrangements for the Office of the United Nations Security Coordinator as follows:      

(i)    The resource requirements already approved for 2004 would continue to be funded under the arrangements established in resolution 56/255;          

(ii)   The additional resource requirements for 2004 would be met from the United Nations regular budget appropriation.


Punctuation with bullets  

When items introduced by bullets are short (equivalent to a list), no punctuation should follow the items.

In more complex constructions, especially if the items consist of whole sentences, a full stop may be used after each item.

Semicolons should not be used.

Identification of alternative versions of a paragraph

When draft texts are being actively negotiated (e.g. draft conventions and programmes of action being negotiated at a conference), alternative versions of a paragraph may be proposed. All versions of the paragraph should be placed in square brackets [...]. The initial version is normally numbered with an arabic numeral and is followed by the alternative versions proposed, which are identified sequentially as follows:

or quinquiens
or sexiens
or septiens
or octiens
or noviens
or deciens

These terms and the square brackets are removed once agreement has been reached on the text. The agreed paragraphs are then numbered consecutively in the normal way.

Inserted paragraph. The same sequence may be used, without square brackets, to insert additional paragraphs in texts such as the rules of procedure of a conference or the terms of reference of an intergovernmental organization.

The correct form is shown in the following examples:

Rule 44 bis

1. Unless it decides otherwise, the Commission shall establish a subcommission in accordance with rule 42. . .

1 bis. Unless the Commission decides otherwise, only three subcommissions shall function simultaneously while considering submissions.

1 ter. The submissions shall be considered by the subcommissions in the order in which they are received.

2. The subcommission shall undertake a preliminary analysis of the submission . . . in order to determine:

(a) If the test of appurtenance is satisfied by the coastal State;

          (b) Which portions of the outer limits of the continental shelf are determined by each of the formulae and constraint lines . . .;

          (b bis) Whether appropriate combinations of foot of the continental slope points and constraint lines have been used;





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