The United Nations (UN) was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries, with the stated goal of organising to: 'preserve peace through international cooperation and collective security'. 193 countries are now member states of the UN, all of which are listed on their Member States webpage.

The UN maintains a system of depository libraries to make its documents and publications available throughout the world. The National Library has been designated as a full depository library, so we can provide access to an extensive collection of official UN records and publications as well as many publications about the UN.

United Nations Charter

This is the foundation treaty of the UN, as described in an Introductory Note to the UN Charter on the UN website.

In the Library

The National Library holds a number of resources that provide description and commentary on the UN Charter.

The Charter of the United Nations : a commentary (3rd Edition) edited by Bruno Simma is the primary English reference book on the UN Charter, which can be found in the Main Reading Room. A Research guide on the Charter is online at the Dag Hammarsköld Library.

Search tip: To find library resources about the UN Charter, search the catalogue for the term "United Nations. Charter".


The full text of the UN Charter can be found on the United Nations website.

A digitised copy of the Charter can be viewed on the US National Archives website, with the original held in Washington DC.

Other general resources

Basic facts about the United Nations, Department of Public Information, print issues are held to 2000. The latest edition is available through the Library's subscription to UNiLibrary. You can access UNiLibrary by visiting our eResources portal and searching for this resource under the Browse eResources tab.

The Yearbook of the United Nations provides comprehensive coverage of the current activities of the UN and related organisations. The latest print issue is in the Main Reading Room, and online access is available at

The Journal of the United Nations is available in print at the Library, 1957 to 1993 and online from 2005 at the United Nations website.


Site plan for the United Nations headquarters

United Nations, Planning the permanent headquarters of the United Nations: a short summary

The library holds an overview of site plans and cost estimates for the United Nations headquarters in New York, which has also been digitised for online access.

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