United Nations Editorial Manual Online
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 and repeated in the title of the report on the second page. The description of the report in the transmittal note should match the title ("interim report", for example, in both places).
The report begins on page 2, under the title:
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.
Page 2 begins with the title:
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.
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.
II. Other notes
A note by the Secretary-General may be used:
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.
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.
Note circulating other information or proposals
Other notes by the Secretary-General include:
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