The UN General Assembly Hall. 
Photo: UN Photo/Sophia Paris.The UN General Assembly Hall. Photo: UN Photo/Sophia Paris

The General Assembly

Established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly occupies a central position as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations.

Comprising all 192 Members of the United Nations, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter.

Each Member State has one vote. Decisions on key issues such as international peace and security, admitting new members and the UN budget are decided by two-thirds majority. Other matters are decided by simple majority.

While the decisions of the Assembly have no legally binding force for Governments, they carry the weight of world opinion on major international issues, as well as the moral authority of the world community.

Many issues are also addressed by international conferences called for by the Assembly; and by the Secretariat of the United Nations – the Secretary-General and his staff of international civil servants.

The Main Committees

The work of the United Nations year-round derives largely from the decisions of the General Assembly – that is to say, the will of the majority of the Members as expressed in resolutions adopted by the Assembly. Much of this work is carried out in six main committees established by the Assembly to study and report on specific issues.

The General Assembly's regular session begins each year on the third Tuesday in September and continues usually until the third week of December. In recent years, the Assembly has been in session throughout the year. At the start of each regular session, the Assembly elects a new president,  21 Vice-Presidents and the Chairmen of the Main Committees.

The Assembly also holds a general debate, a high level segment of the GA, in which Member States express their views on a wide range of matters of international concern.

To ensure equitable geographical representation, the presidency of the Assembly rotates each year among five groups of States: African, Asian, Eastern European, Latin American and Caribbean, and Western European and other States.


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