Global Guidance for Meetings During the COVID-19 Outbreak

The Division of Healthcare Management and Occupational Safety and Health (DHMOSH) has prepared guidance for organizers and meeting participants with key information for meetings in light of the current outbreak of corona virus disease (COVID-19) spreading globally. The guide is also availed in French and should be reviewed and adapted in conjunction with local health authorities’ and WHO country office advice.

For organisers:      English     French

For participants:    English     French


The Translation and Editorial Section (TES) provides the following services:

1. Translation and editing

The following types of text are translated and edited:

  • Documents produced at the request and for the use of governing councils (in the case of UNEP and UN-Habitat) and intergovernmental bodies: pre-session, in-session and post-session documents, including meeting records; restricted documents such as conference room papers; and miscellaneous texts such as official communications with Governments, vacancy announcements and the like.
  • Publications: These include material outside the United Nations definition of the term, such as studies on specific topics related to UNEP or UN-Habitat.

2. Report writing and editing

Report-writing and editing services can be provided for the following types of meetings:

  • Regular and special sessions of the governing councils of UNEP and UN-Habitat
  • Regular and special sessions of convention bodies
  • Open-ended working group meetings of convention secretariats
  • Ad hoc meetings of organs of UNEP, UN-Habitat and other United Nations bodies

3. Terminology and reference services

The Terminology and Reference Unit provides reference services and information on the United Nations and other bodies in all subject areas covered by UNEP, UN-Habitat, convention secretariats and other user entities to editors, translators and interpreters. It answers terminology queries from the governing bodies of UNEP and UN-Habitat, other departments at UNON, convention secretariats and other bodies.

It monitors the documentation and other materials of UNEP, UN-Habitat, convention secretariats and other user entities, tracking developments in the terminology used in the United Nations.

The unit maintains a specialized reference library and electronic database consisting of documents emanating from the Division of Conference Services, Headquarters and other United Nations agencies. It also maintains a specialized collection of dictionaries, glossaries and manuals.

In addition, the unit establishes and maintains contacts with reference and terminology sections at other duty stations and, where appropriate, with specialized agencies and international organizations in order to exchange information on terminology with a view to avoiding duplication and eliminating gaps.

Part of the unit’s responsibility is to answer terminology queries from the governing bodies of UNEP and UN-Habitat, other departments at UNON, convention secretariats and other user entities. It also supervises the posting of pre-session, in-session and post-session meeting documents on the Web, granting access to meeting documentation to a worldwide audience. Identifying documents for insertion into the Official Document System (ODS) is also one of its functions.


All requests for translation and editing services, as well as completed work, must be channelled through the Documents Control Unit. To request report-writing services, a meeting request form must be completed and submitted to the Meetings Coordination Unit. Alternatively, please contact the English Language Unit (ELU).

Once a job has been edited, ELU will forward it to the submitting office for clearance. Should the submitting office wish to make any changes of substance, these should be mutually agreed by the submitting office and ELU before incorporation in the text.

Note: As the official United Nations translation and editorial organ at UNON, TES has at its disposal a team of United Nations-accredited editors, translators and revisers, working both internally and externally. To maintain United Nations standards for documentation, it is highly recommended that all agencies, departments and secretariats related to UNEP or UN-Habitat submit any translation or editorial work to TES. If TES is unable to handle a particular assignment owing to lack of capacity, it will indicate this in writing so that the substantive office can approach other service providers.

Submission deadlines

In accordance with General Assembly resolution 34/50 of 23 November 1979, documentation for any United Nations meeting should be made available in all six official languages at least six weeks prior to the meeting.

All documents to be translated and to which the above six-week rule applies must be submitted to DCU at least 10 weeks before the opening of a session.

At least eight weeks before the opening of a session, the department or office concerned must circulate, with the provisional agenda of the session, a report on the state of preparation of the necessary documentation in all required languages, with a full explanation of any delays.

All documents to which the six-week rule does not apply must be submitted to DCU at least four weeks before the start of a session.

For purposes of the present rules, the date of submission of a document is that on which the complete and final text reaches DCU.

N.B. Pre-session and in-session documents take priority over all other documentation. In addition, because DCS provides services to many convention secretariats and other bodies, it has introduced a slotting system by which each client is allocated a period during which documentation for a particular meeting should be submitted. Any document submitted outside that slot will not be given preferential treatment unless the client has notified DCU in advance of the expected late submission.

Length of submissions

Reports of subsidiary organs or expert groups and other reports not originating in United Nations bodies should be as brief as possible and may not exceed 10,700 words (around 20 physical pages).

Reports originating in United Nations bodies may not exceed 8,500 words (around 16 physical pages), according to General Assembly resolution 52/214 of 22 December 1997.

Current rates: For the full list of standard rates applicable to translation, revision and editing services, please contact DCU. Rates may vary (and may be scaled down) depending on the complexity, urgency and length of the material.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Ibrahima Diallo
Chief, Translation and Editorial Section
Block R
Tel.: +254 (0)20 762 2305

Mr. Bo Sorensen
Chief, Documents Control Unit
Block V-218
Tel.: +254 (0)20 762 2523

Mr. Abdulrezak Bekri
Officer-in-Charge, Terminology and Reference Unit
Block R
Tel.: +254 (0)20 762 4712

All official communications, including questions on documentation and translation services should be addressed to:

Calendar of Meetings


Online Applications

Spanish Language Unit