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CHAPTER IV: THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

COMPOSITION
Article 9
The General Assembly shall consist of all the Members of the United Nations.
Each Member shall have not more than five representatives in the General Assembly.

FUNCTIONS and POWERS

Article 10
The General Assembly may discuss any questions or any matters within the scope of the present Charter or relating to the powers and functions of any UN Organs provided for in the present Charter, and, except as provided in Article 12 (Transitional Security Arrangements), may make recommendations to the Members of the United Nations or to the Security Council or to both on any such questions or matters.

Article 11
The General Assembly may consider the general principles of co-operation in the maintenance of international peace and security, including the UN Principles governing disarmament and the regulation of armaments, and may make recommendations with regard to such principles to the Members or to the Security Council or to both.
The General Assembly may discuss any questions relating to the maintenance of international peace and security brought before it by any Member of the United Nations, or by the Security Council, or by a state which is not a Member of the United Nations in accordance with Article 35 (PACIFIC SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES), paragraph 2, and, except as provided in Article 12, may make recommendations with regard to any such questions to the state or states concerned or to the Security Council or to both. Any such question on which action is necessary shall be referred to the Security Council by the General Assembly either before or after discussion.
The General Assembly may call the attention of the Security Council to situations which are likely to endanger international peace and security.
The powers of the General Assembly set forth in this Article shall not limit the general scope of Article 10.

Article 12
While the Security Council is exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation unless the Security Council so requests.
The Secretary-General, with the consent of the Security Council, shall notify the General Assembly at each session of any matters relative to the maintenance of international peace and security which are being dealt with by the Security Council and shall similarly notify the General Assembly, or the Members of the United Nations if the General Assembly is not in session, immediately the Security Council ceases to deal with such matters.

Article 13
The General Assembly shall initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of:
promoting international co-operation in the political field and encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification;
promoting international co-operation in the economic, social, cultural, educational, and health fields, and assisting in the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.
The further responsibilities, functions and powers of the General Assembly with respect to matters mentioned in paragraph 1 (b) above are set forth in Chapters IX (International Economic and Social Co-operation) and X (Economic and Social Council).

Article 14
Subject to the provisions of Article 12, the General Assembly may recommend measures for the peaceful adjustment of any situation, regardless of origin, which it deems likely to impair the general welfare or friendly relations among nations, including situations resulting from a violation of the provisions of the present Charter setting forth the UN Purposes and UN Principles of the United Nations.

Article 15
The General Assembly shall receive and consider annual and special reports from the Security Council; these reports shall include an account of the measures that the Security Council has decided upon or taken to maintain international peace and security.
The General Assembly shall receive and consider reports from the other UN Organs of the United Nations.

Article 16
The General Assembly shall perform such functions with respect to the International Trusteeship System as are assigned to it under Chapters XII (International Trusteeship System) and XIII (Trusteeship Council), including the approval of the trusteeship agreements for areas not designated as strategic.

Article 17
The General Assembly shall consider and approve the budget of the Organization.
The expenses of the Organization shall be borne by the Members as apportioned by the General Assembly.
The General Assembly shall consider and approve any financial and budgetary arrangements with specialized agencies referred to in INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CO-OPERATION Article 57 and shall examine the administrative budgets of such specialized agencies with a view to making recommendations to the agencies concerned.

VOTING

Article 18
Each member of the UN General Assembly shall have one vote.
Decisions of the General Assembly on important questions shall be made by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting.

These questions shall include:

  • recommendations with respect to the maintenance of international peace and security,
  • the election of the non-permanent members of the Security Council,
  • the election of the members of the Economic and Social Council,
  • the election of members of the Trusteeship Council in accordance with paragraph 1 (c) of Article 86 (of Trusteeship Council),
  • the admission of new Members to the United Nations,
  • the suspension of the rights and privileges of membership,
  • the expulsion of Members,
  • questions relating to the operation of the trusteeship system, and budgetary questions.

Decisions on other questions, including the determination of additional categories of questions to be decided by a two-thirds majority, shall be made by a majority of the members present and voting.

Article 19
A Member of the [[United Nations]]] which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organization shall have no vote in the UN General Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years. The UN General Assembly may, nevertheless, permit such a Member to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the Member.

PROCEDURE

Article 20
The UN General Assembly shall meet in regular annual sessions and in such special sessions as occasion may require. Special sessions shall be convoked by the Secretary-General at the request of the Security Council or of a majority of the Members of the United Nations.

Article 21
The UN General Assembly shall adopt its own rules of procedure. It shall elect its GA President for each session.

Article 22
The UN General Assembly may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS

The General Assembly is one of the six main organs of the United Nations, the only one in which all Member States have equal representation: one nation, one [[vote]]]. All 193 Member States of the United Nations are represented in this unique forum to discuss and work together on a wide array of international issues covered by the UN Charter, such as development, peace and security, international law, etc

Functions and powers of the General Assembly

Forum for multilateral negotiation

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 193 Members of the United Nations, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter. It also plays a significant role in the process of standard-setting and the codification of international law.

The Assembly meets from September to December each year, and thereafter from January to August, as required, including to take up outstanding reports from the Fourth and Fifth Committees. Also during the resumed part of the session, the Assembly considers current issues of critical importance to the international community in the form of High-level Thematic Debates organized by the GA President of the General Assembly in consultation with the membership.

During that period, the Assembly traditionally also conducts informal consultations on a wide range of substantive topics, including on UN reform-related matters.

Functions and powers of the General Assembly

The Assembly is empowered to make recommendations to States on international issues within its competence. It has also initiated actions—political, economic, humanitarian, social and legal—which have affected the lives of millions of people throughout the world. The landmark Millennium Declaration, adopted in 2000, and the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, reflect the commitment of Member States to reach specific goals to attain peace, security and disarmament along with development and poverty eradication; to safeguard human rights and promote the rule of law; to protect our common environment; to meet the special needs of Africa; and to strengthen the United Nations.

In September 2015, the Assembly agreed on a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, contained in the outcome document of the [United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda (the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development).

According to the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly may:

Consider and approve the United Nations budget and establish the financial assessments of Member States;
Elect the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the members of other United Nations councils and organs and, on the recommendation of the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General;
Consider and make recommendations on the general principles of cooperation for maintaining international peace and security, including disarmament;
Discuss any question relating to international peace and security and, except where a dispute or situation is currently being discussed by the Security Council, make recommendations on it;
Discuss, with the same exception, and make recommendations on any questions within the scope of the Charter or affecting the powers and functions of any organ of the United Nations;
Initiate studies and make recommendations to promote international political cooperation, the development and codification of international law, the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and international collaboration in the economic, social, humanitarian, cultural, educational and health fields;
Make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation that might impair friendly relations among countries;
Consider reports from the Security Council and other United Nations organs.
The Assembly may also take action in cases of a threat to the peace, breach of peace or act of aggression, when the Security Council has failed to act owing to the negative vote of a permanent member. In such instances, according to its “Uniting for peace” resolution of 3 November 1950, the Assembly may consider the matter immediately and recommend to its Members collective measures to maintain or restore international peace and security. (See “Special sessions" and "Emergency special sessions”.)

The search for consensus

Each of the 193 Member States in the Assembly has one [[[vote]]. Votes taken on designated important issues— such as recommendations on peace and security, the election of Security Council and Economic and Social Council members, and budgetary questions—require a two-thirds majority of Member [States, but other questions are decided by a simple majority.

In recent years, an effort has been made to achieve consensus on issues, rather than deciding by a formal vote, thus strengthening support for the Assembly’s decisions. The GA President, after having consulted and reached agreement with delegations, can propose that a resolution be adopted without a vote.

Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly

There has been a sustained effort to make the work of the General Assembly more focused and relevant. This was identified as a priority during the fiftyeighth session, and efforts continued at subsequent sessions to streamline the agenda, improve the practices and working methods of the Main Committees, enhance the role of the General Committee]]], strengthen the role and authority of the President and examine the Assembly’s role in the process of selecting the Secretary-General.

During the 69th and 70th sessions, the Assembly adopted two landmark resolutions on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (resolutions 69/321 and 71/305), which inter alia provided for informal dialogues to be held with candidates for the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations and established an oath of office and a code of ethics for the Presidents of the General Assembly.

The practice of convening high-level thematic interactive debates is also a direct outcome of the revitalization process.

It has become an established practice for the Secretary-General to brief Member States periodically, in informal meetings of the General Assembly, on his recent activities and travels. These briefings have provided a well-received opportunity for exchange between the Secretary-General and Member States and are likely to be continued at the 72nd session.

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