United Nations Editorial Manual Online
Communications from Member States
A communication from a Member State in the form of a letter or note verbale may be circulated at the request of the Member State as a document of a principal organ – General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council – or one of that organ’s subsidiary bodies.
A communication is normally addressed to the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly, the President of the Security Council or the President of the Economic and Social Council.
In the case of multiple addressees, the order is: the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly, the President of the Security Council/President of the Economic and Social Council.
A letter must be signed by the Permanent Representative or Observer of the State concerned or, in his or her absence, the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the mission.
The signature block is aligned at the right-hand margin and is presented in the following form, with honorific titles omitted:
(Signed) Nescio Nomen
Multiple signatories are listed in the English alphabetical order of the countries concerned.
In the case of a signed attachment to a communication, the original order of the signatures is retained.
A note verbale is sent by a permanent mission or an observer mission and is unsigned.
The communication and any attachments thereto must be submitted in one of the six official languages for translation into the other languages.
Documents of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council are issued under specific items of the agenda. Communications for circulation as General Assembly or Economic and Social Council documents should specify in the text the number(s) of the item(s) under which circulation is requested, as listed in the preliminary list of items, programme of work, provisional agenda or agenda. The item numbers and titles are given in the corner notation.
For information on communications containing requests for the inclusion of items in the agenda of the General Assembly, see Documents relating to agendas of principal organs.
Country names in headings created by the Secretariat are given in the short form listed in UNTERM.
Country designations employed by Governments in communications will be retained even if they differ from the formal name or the short name used within the Organization.
Communications from Member States and attachments thereto are normally reproduced as submitted, except that:
Headings for communications
The Secretariat circulates communications under a heading indicating the date, author and addressee.
All of the headings above are in H1 format. No other heading appears above the body of the communication.
Headings for attachments
The Secretariat inserts the following heading above all attachments to communications from Member States (see Editorial Directive ST/CS/SER.A/43):
The author and addressee are identified in the heading by title, not by personal name.
Any existing heading in the attachment as submitted appears below the standard heading inserted by the Secretariat.
The order of attachments is as follows: annex, enclosure, attachment. The heading “Enclosure” should be used for material that is separate from but attached to an annex; the heading “Attachment” is used for material that is separate from but attached to an enclosure. The heading “Appendix” should generally be avoided.
Roman numerals are used for multiple annexes, enclosures and attachments.
All of the headings above are in H1 format.
Enclosure not reproduced
When a communication mentions an enclosure (for example, an extract from national legislation) that is not reproduced with the communication, a footnote such as one of the following is inserted:
The footnote, whether in the communication itself or in an attachment, should be preceded by an asterisk or other such symbol (see Footnotes and other references/Footnote indicators/Footnotes indicated by asterisks and other symbols).
If the enclosure is reproduced elsewhere, a reference is given.
Communications from the Secretary-General and other United Nations officials
Letters from the Secretary-General, the Presidents of the main organs or other high officials such as the Chairs of the Main Committees of the General Assembly and other subsidiary bodies may also be circulated as documents of those organs and bodies.
Attachments to such communications are preceded by the heading "Annex", followed by any heading submitted.
All of the headings above are in H1 format.
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