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Notes by the Secretary-General

A note by the Secretary-General is issued to transmit to a major organ a document not prepared in the Secretariat, or to transmit information or comments.

A note is attributed to the Secretary-General if it deals with policy questions that engage his responsibility or if it contains proposals for consideration by an organ; otherwise it is attributed to the Secretariat.

I. Transmittal notes

Reports drafted in the Secretariat are normally issued as reports of the Secretary-General. Reports not drafted by Secretariat departments or offices are transmitted to the General Assembly under cover of a note by the Secretary-General.

They include reports prepared by special rapporteurs and independent experts of the Human Rights Council, specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, and reports of conferences. In some cases, the report may have been distributed separately.

Note: Notes transmitting reports of representatives of the Secretary-General are rare. The reports of the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and on Violence against Children are submitted directly to the General Assembly; no transmittal note is required.

The transmittal note, usually consisting of a single paragraph (see example 1), stands alone on the first page of the document, under a heading identifying the subject. The note normally includes a reference to the resolution(s) of the General Assembly or other organ pursuant to which the report is being submitted.

The paragraphs are numbered if there is more than one.

The report begins on page 2 of the document, and is not treated as an annex to the note by the Secretary-General: the word "annex" should not appear at the top of page 2.

Report of a special rapporteur or independent expert

In the case of a report of a special rapporteur or independent expert, the main heading on page 1 of the document indicates the subject only. The full title of the report appears on page 2. The name of the representative, rapporteur or expert is given in the transmittal note, but is not repeated in the title of the report on the second page. Otherwise, the description of the report in the transmittal note should match the title ("interim report", for example, in both places).   

Example 1 (see also model 1 and model 2):

Human right to safe drinking water and sanitation

Note by the Secretary-General

          The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of the General Assembly the report of the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller, in accordance with Human Rights Council resolutions 16/2 and 21/2.

The report begins on page 2, under the title:

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation

followed by a summary and a table of contents, if appropriate.

Report prepared by a subsidiary body or another organization

In the case of a report prepared by a subsidiary body of the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council or another United Nations organization or body in response to a direct request from the Assembly or the Council, and transmitted by the Secretary-General, the same principles apply: the report begins on page 2, under a separate title.

Example 2 (see also model 3 and model 4):

United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research

Note by the Secretary-General

1.         The Secretary-General hereby transmits to the members of the General Assembly the report of the Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research on the activities of the Institute for the period from January to December 2014 and the programme of work and financial plan for 2015 and 2016.

2.         The report was considered and approved for submission to the General Assembly by the Board of Trustees of the Institute at the sixty-fourth session of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, held in New York from 29 June to 1 July 2015. The Board of Trustees emphasized . . .

Page 2 begins with the title:

Report of the Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research on the activities of the Institute for the period from January to December 2014 and the programme of work and financial plan for 2015 and 2016

followed by a summary and a table of contents, if required.

Report circulated separately

A report distributed separately as a document of another United Nations body or organization, a specialized agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, or a conference, may under certain circumstances be transmitted to the General Assembly by a note by the Secretary-General. In this case, it may be necessary to include the word "report" in the title of the transmittal note (see example 3). The report being transmitted is not attached; if appropriate, its symbol is given in parentheses in the text of the transmittal note.

Example 3 (see also model 5 and model 6):

Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency

Note by the Secretary-General

1.         The fifty-ninth report of the International Atomic Energy Agency, for the calendar year 2014 (GC(59)/7), is submitted herewith to the General Assembly....

2.         As only a limited number of copies of the report are available, it has not been possible to make a full distribution. Delegations are therefore requested to have the copies transmitted to them available during the discussion of this item.

Example 4:

Implementation of human rights instruments

Note by the Secretary-General

          The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of the General Assembly, pursuant to Assembly resolution 68/156, the eighth annual report of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT/C/54/2).

Note transmitting more than one report

When two or more reports are transmitted by a single note by the Secretary-General, each report has a separate heading, with a roman numeral. A table of contents may be included (see model 7).

Note transmitting comments of the Secretary-General

The style shown above for transmittal notes is also used for a note transmitting the comments of the Secretary-General on a report of the Joint Inspection Unit or a report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services. The title on the cover page indicates the subject only. The comments are normally circulated in an addendum to the report, but the word "addendum" does not appear on the cover page.

Example 5:

Records and archives management in the United Nations

Note by the Secretary-General

          The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of the General Assembly his comments and those of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit entitled "Records and archives management in the United Nations" (see A/70/280).

II. Other notes

A note by the Secretary-General may be used:

  • To request the inclusion of an item or sub-item in the agenda of the General Assembly
  • To circulate information concerning appointments or elections
  • To circulate information on organizational or other matters

Request for the inclusion of an item

A request of the Secretary-General for the inclusion of an item or sub-item in the provisional agenda or the agenda of the General Assembly may result from an unexpected vacancy in a subsidiary organ, or concern the financing of a new peacekeeping operation, and is circulated as a note by the Secretary-General.

The headings follow the style of all similar requests (see Basic Documents/Documents relating to agendas of principal organs).

Example 6 (see also model 8 and model 9):

Request for the inclusion of a sub-item in the provisional agenda of the sixty-ninth session

Appointment of the judges of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal

Note by the Secretary-General

1.        The Secretary-General has received notification by a letter dated 25 October 2013 from Judge Jean Courtial of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal that he would resign from his office as a judge of the Tribunal, effective 31 December 2013. The General Assembly will therefore be required at the sixty-ninth session to appoint a judge to fill the remainder of the term of office of Judge Courtial, which expires on 30 June 2019.

2.        Accordingly, the Secretary-General has the honour to request, pursuant to rule 13 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly, the inclusion in the provisional agenda of its sixty-ninth session, under the item entitled "Appointments to fill vacancies in subsidiary organs and other appointments", of a sub-item entitled "Appointment of the judges of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal".

3.        Owing to the nature of the sub-item, the Secretary-General further requests that it be considered directly in plenary meeting.

Note concerning appointment or election

A note by the Secretary-General containing information about an appointment or election on which the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council is required to take action is circulated under the appropriate agenda item. For the General Assembly, the relevant sub-item is the title of the document.

Example 7, circulated under the item "Elections to fill vacancies in subsidiary organs and other elections" (see also model 10 and model 11):

Election of seven members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination

Note by the Secretary-General

1.        In accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 2008 (LX) and General Assembly decision 42/450, the members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination are nominated by the Council and elected by the Assembly.

2.        The membership of the Committee in 2015 is as follows (the term of office expires on 31 December in the year indicated): . . .

3.        The General Assembly, at its seventieth session, will be called upon to elect seven members, on the nomination of the Economic and Social Council, to fill the vacancies in the Committee that will occur on 31 December 2015 upon the expiration of the terms of office of the following members: . . .

Note circulating other information or proposals

Other notes by the Secretary-General include:

  • The annual notification to the General Assembly of the matters relative to international peace and security being dealt with by the Security Council (see, for example, A/70/300)
  • Note on the proposed organization of work for a conference (see, for example, A/69/542)
  • Note containing a proposal to be considered by the General Assembly or other organ (see, for example, A/69/379)
  • Note transmitting information in his capacity as Chair of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (see, for example, A/70/716)
 
     
   
 


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