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Library News

UN Photo
UN Photo
Monday 9 September 2019

Topics: Digital Collections

In February 1991 the "Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change" launched negotiations for an international treaty on climate change in Washington D.C. Over a period of two years, the working group laid the groundwork for what would become the "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change" (UNFCCC). Their work culminated in 1992 when the Convention was opened for signature at the Earth’s Summit in Rio de Janeiro; by June 1993 the Convention had already received 166 signatures.

To offer an inclusive picture of the work of the Negotiating Committee during those formative years, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library has digitized official and unofficial foundation papers from its archives. Published between 1991 and 1993, these historical documents include meeting records, provisional agendas, annotations, monetary contributions, and a list of participants. As of this month 150 new digital copies including fragile print documents are freely available on the UN Digital Library.

The Framework Convention on Climate Change is a significant document because of the acknoledgment by the international community that human pollution and high greenhouse gases threaten the Earth’s atmosphere. Its objective is to protect the ozone layer and to stabilize and reduce the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the treaty provides the foundation for later multilateral actions, such as the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

On 23 September 2019 world leaders of will meet once more for the Climate Action Summit in New York and discuss the life-threatening impacts of climate change.  Anyone interested in the history of climate change negotiations can view and download foundation papers related to the UNFCCC on the UN Digital Library. To learn more about the topic, explore the Library’s Research Guide on Climate Change.

Other digitized series include:


UN Member States
UN Photo
Monday 29 April 2019

Topics: Resources

The new UN Member States on the Record website makes it even easier to find primary source materials related to each Member State’s contribution to the activities and deliberations of the UN.

This vital UN information resource has been completely revamped and given a streamlined look and feel. 

Powered by the UN Digital Library and Ask DAG, the Library’s knowledge base of frequently asked questions, the new site provides enhanced access to information about Member States’ participation in the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, and the Human Rights Council.

For each Member State, the website features:

  • General Debate statements
  • All speeches in principal organs
  • Co-sponsorship of draft resolutions
  • Date of membership with links to associated documents
  • NEW! Notes verbales announcing diplomatic relations between states
  • NEW! Dates served as member of Security Council, Economic and Social Council, and Human Rights Council

The website is now live in all six official languages. The Library also has research guides on UN membership, available in EnglishFrench and Spanish.

Help us improve the UN Member States on the Record website – send us your comments!

Second Floor Reading Room
Second Floor Reading Room (UN Photo)
Thursday 1 March 2018

Topics: Learning, Resources

The Second Floor Reading Room has gone through many transformations since 1961. For decades it was called the Woodrow Wilson Reading Room because it housed the U.S. president’s papers about the League of Nations.  Until 2008, it operated as the UN reference collection for the Library and contained the most consulted UN documents and publications.  It was closed in 2008 to accommodate the media outlets covering the UN during the Capital Master Plan. Construction damaged the ceiling and made it necessary to refurbish the room before it could be used.  It reopened in November 2016 and has been designated as a silent study space primarily for delegates and UN staff.

The Dag Hammarskjold Library was dedicated to the second Secretary-General after his death in 1961. At the time, the Library Building was written up in architectural magazines which described the room in glowing detail:

“All is movement in the slope of the wall and undulating ceiling [of the Reading Room]. The informal planking of the Idaho white pine ceiling and wall contrasts with the dark African wenge wood of the card catalog which follows the sloping line of the wall. The end walls are of Peruvian travertine…” Interiors Magazine, 1963

With the coming of modern information systems, the card catalog is now empty but the room is filled with the passion for learning and creativity so often attributed to the late Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld.

Learn more about the history of the Dag Hammarskjöld Library: https://library.un.org/content/our-mandate-history.