THE EVOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
as told by its most cited resolutions
What is it?
An online open corpus containing the nearly 18 thousand resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) since 1946 and their network of over 77 thousand cross-references.
An interactive tool that allows users to navigate through the corpus texts, visualize its interconnections, and explore the evolution evidenced by the network of citations.
Why is it significant?
Though previous research has offered overviews of the evolution of the UN, this is the first to do so using large-scale citation analysis. We hold that in order to find which resolutions were the most important, we need only compute which ones were cited the most by later documents. Citation patterns can indicate document relevance, trends on the rise and fall of topics, and denser thematic clusters.
It also conveniently offers the archive of UNGA resolutions as fully cleaned and processed electronic text - even its oldest documents.
Who will benefit from it?
UN organs with specific mandates on UNGA revitalization and output, such as the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management.
Multiple stakeholders within and outside the UN interested in mapping the trajectory of a given theme in international norm-making.
What stage is it at?
We already compiled the full corpus, applied citation analysis, and derived network statistics. Through community detection algorithms, we identified 695 thematic clusters, being the largest ones on the subjects of: Human Rights, Decolonization, Development, and Peace and Security.
Prof. Rafael Mesquita, Ph. D.
Professor of International Relations at the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE)
Coordinator of the 2022-23 research project “Multilateralism and Global Challenges: Past, Present, and Future” https://multilateralism-challenges.github.io/