Treaties, conventions and international agreements are an important part of international law.
The UN is involved in many aspects of treaty law, at every stage of development.
The UN's involvement may include:
In some cases, UN Specialized Agencies or UN related organizations may perform similar activities with regard to conventions within their domain. For example:
The UN Treaty Series is one of the largest collections of treaties, but there are many others. The Audiovisual Library of International Law Research Library has a helpful list of treaty collections.
The UN Treaty Collection website provides access to a wealth of information about international agreements, treaties, and conventions.
In the past, the UN published two important series:
The website provides access to the information in both of these publications, as well as additional materials about UN practice in treaty matters, including:
The MTDSG section of the website follows the chapter structure of the original publication.
For each treaty, information is available on:
The UN Treaty Series is a collection of treaties and international agreements, published since 1946, in accordance with Article 102 of the UN Charter.
The UNTS database contains the texts of all published volumes of the UNTS, plus the texts of treaties in volumes not yet published.
The League of Nations Treaty Series is also available through the UN Treaty Collection website.
Many multilateral conventions establish a body to monitor the implementation of the agreement.
Often the body is composed of states that are party to the agreement (i.e. have signed, ratified or otherwise agreed to adhere to the agreement). These may be called Conference of the States Parties, Meeting of States Parties, or a similar name. A UN Member State may also be a state party to a convention. However, not all UN Member States participate in every multilateral convention.
Other treaty-monitoring bodies may be composed of experts in the subject of the convention, or be appointed by the States Parties, or by another authority named by the treaty.
The monitoring body may be supported by a secretariat.
Not all treaty-monitoring bodies are UN bodies. In some cases, the treaty-monitoring is carried out by UN bodies. In other cases, the treaty-monitoring body is independent from the UN.
For more information about researching the UN's monitoring of conventions, see the
See the Environment: Treaties guide form
UN documents can be a rich resource to research the drafting of an agreement.
As with other historic research, it is often easiest to start with the most recent documents and work back in time. The UN Yearbook and the Index to Proceedings are useful for historic research. Commentaries and "travaux préparatoires" on individual treaties, generally published by academic presses, may also be useful.
In addition, there are some specialized UN resources that may provide additional guidance.