United Nations General Assembly

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA/GA) is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation. Its powers are to oversee the budget of the United Nations, appoint the non-permanent members to the Security Council, receive reports from other parts of the United Nations and make recommendations in the form of General Assembly Resolutions. [1] It has also established a wide number of subsidiary organs. 2] The General Assembly meets under its president or Secretary-General in regular yearly sessions the main part of which lasts from September to December and resumed part from January until all issues are addressed (which often is just before the next session’s start). It can also reconvene for special and emergency special sessions. Its composition, functions, powers, voting, and procedures are set out in Chapter IV of the United Nations Charter. The first session was convened on 10 January 1946 in the Westminster Central Hall in London and included representatives of 51 nations.

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Voting in the General Assembly on important questions – recommendations on peace and security; election of members to organs; admission, suspension, and expulsion of members; budgetary matters – is by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting. Other questions are decided by majority vote. Each member country has one vote. Apart from approval of budgetary matters, including adoption of a scale of assessment, Assembly resolutions are not binding on the members. The Assembly may make recommendations on any matters within the scope of the UN, except matters of peace and security under Security Council consideration.

The one state, one vote power structure theoretically allows states comprising just eight percent of the world population to pass a resolution by a two-thirds vote. During the 1980s, the Assembly became a forum for the North-South dialogue – the discussion of issues between industrialized nations and developing countries. These issues came to the fore because of the phenomenal growth and changing makeup of the UN membership. In 1945, the UN had 51 members. It now has 193, of which more than two-thirds are developing countries.

Because of their numbers, developing countries are often able to determine the agenda of the Assembly (using coordinating groups like the G77), the character of its debates, and the nature of its decisions. For many developing countries, the UN is the source of much of their diplomatic influence and the principal outlet for their foreign relations initiatives. Contents [hide] 1 Agenda 2 Resolutions 2. 1 UN budget 2. 2 Resolution numbering scheme 3 Elections 4 Special sessions 5 Emergency special sessions 6 Subsidiary organs . 1 Committees 6. 1. 1 Main committees 6. 1. 2 Other committees 6. 2 Commissions 6. 3 Boards 6. 4 Councils and panels 6. 5 Working Groups and other 7 Seating in the General Assembly 8 General Assembly reform and UNPA 9 See also 10 Notes 11 External links [edit]Agenda The agenda for each session is planned up to seven months in advance and begins with the release of a preliminary list of items to be included in the provisional agenda. [3] This is refined into a provisional agenda 60 days before the opening of the session.

After the session begins, the final agenda is adopted in a plenary meeting which allocates the work to the various Main Committees who later submit reports back to the Assembly for adoption by consensus or by vote. Westminster Central Hall, the location of the first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946 Items on the agenda are numbered. Regular plenary sessions of the General Assembly in recent years have initially been scheduled to be held over the course of just three months, however additional work loads have extended these sessions to last on through just short of the next session.

The routinely scheduled portions of the sessions are normally scheduled to commence on “the Tuesday of the third week in September, counting from the first week that contains at least one working day,” as per the UN Rules of Procedure. [4] The last two of these Regular sessions were routinely scheduled to recess exactly three months afterwards[5] in early December, but were resumed in January and extended on until just before the beginning of the following sessions. [6] [edit]Resolutions

See also: United Nations General Assembly resolution and United Nations Document Codes Russian President Dmitry Medvedev addresses the 64th session of the UN General Assembly on 24 September 2009. The General Assembly votes on many resolutions brought forth by sponsoring states. These are generally statements symbolizing the sense of the international community about an array of world issues. Most General Assembly resolutions are not enforceable as a legal or practical matter, because the General Assembly lacks enforcement powers with respect to most issues.

The General Assembly has authority to make final decisions in some areas such as the United Nations budget. General Assembly Resolutions are generally non-binding on member states, but carry considerable political weight, and are legally binding towards the operations of the General Assembly. The General Assembly can also refer an issue to the Security Council to put in place a binding resolution. [edit]UN budget The General Assembly also approves the budget of the United Nations, and decides how much money each member state must pay to run the organization. 7] [edit]Resolution numbering scheme From the First to the Thirtieth General Assembly sessions, all General Assembly resolutions were numbered consecutively, with the resolution number followed by the session number in Roman numbers (for example, Resolution 1514 (XV), which was the 1514th numbered resolution adopted by the Assembly, and was adopted at the Fifteenth Regular Session (1960)). Beginning with the Thirty-First Session, resolutions are numbered by individual session (for example Resolution 41/10 represents the 10th resolution adopted at the Forty-First Session).