United Nations General Assembly

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; French: Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), the only one in which all member nations have equal representation, and the main deliberative, policy-making, and representative organ of the UN. Its powers are to oversee the budget of the UN, appoint the non-permanent members to the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General of the United Nations, receive reports from other parts of the UN, and make recommendations in the form of General Assembly Resolutions.[1] It has also established numerous subsidiary organs.[2]

The General Assembly currently meets under its president or secretary-general in annual sessions at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City, the main part of which lasts from September[3] to December and part of 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 Methodist Central Hall in London and included representatives of 51 nations.

Voting in the General Assembly on certain important questions, namely, recommendations on peace and security, budgetary concerns, and the election, admission, suspension or expulsion of members is by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting. Other questions are decided by a straightforward majority. 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.[4] The one state, one vote power structure potentially allows states comprising just five percent of the world population to pass a resolution by a two-thirds vote.[5]

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.

Although the resolutions passed by the General Assembly do not have the binding forces over the member nations (apart from budgetary measures), pursuant to its Uniting for Peace resolution of November 1950 (resolution 377 (V)), the Assembly may also take action if the Security Council fails to act, owing to the negative vote of a permanent member, in a case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression. The Assembly can consider the matter immediately with a view to making recommendations to Members for collective measures to maintain or restore international peace and security.[4]

United Nations General Assembly
Emblem of the United Nations
UN General Assembly hall
United Nations (UN) General Assembly hall at the UN Headquarters, New York City
Abbreviation
  • GA
  • UNGA
  • AG
Formation1945
TypePrincipal organ
Legal statusActive
Head
President: María Fernanda Espinosa
Parent organization
United Nations
Websiteun.org/ga
Membership and participation

For two articles dealing with membership of and participation in the General Assembly, see:

History

Methodist.central.hall.london.arp
Methodist Central Hall, London, the location of the first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946.[6]

The first session of the UN General Assembly was convened on 10 January 1946 in the Methodist Central Hall in London and included representatives of 51 nations. The next few annual sessions were held in different cities: the second session in New York City, and the third in Paris. It moved to the permanent Headquarters of the United Nations in New York City at the start of its seventh regular annual session, on 14 October 1952. In December 1988, in order to hear Yasser Arafat, the General Assembly organized its 29th session in the Palace of Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland.[7]

Membership

All 193 members of the United Nations are members of the General Assembly, with the addition of Holy See and Palestine as observer states. Further, the United Nations General Assembly may grant observer status to an international organization or entity, which entitles the entity to participate in the work of the United Nations General Assembly, though with limitations.

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.[8] 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.

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 until just short of the next session. The routinely scheduled portions of the sessions normally commence on "the Tuesday of the third week in September, counting from the first week that contains at least one working day", per the UN Rules of Procedure.[9] The last two of these Regular sessions were routinely scheduled to recess exactly three months afterwards[10] in early December, but were resumed in January and extended until just before the beginning of the following sessions.[11]

Resolutions

Dmitry Medvedev in the United States 24 September 2009-5
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.[12]

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.[13]

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 in 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).

UNGA 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.[5]

The Charter of the United Nations gives responsibility for approving the budget to the General Assembly (Chapter IV, Article 17) and for preparing the budget to the Secretary-General, as "chief administrative officer" (Chapter XV, Article 97). The Charter also addresses the non-payment of assessed contributions (Chapter IV, Article 19). The planning, programming, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation cycle of the United Nations has evolved over the years; major resolutions on the process include General Assembly resolutions: 41/213 of 19 December 1986, 42/211 of 21 December 1987, and 45/248 of 21 December 1990.[14]

The budget covers the costs of United Nations programmes in areas such as political affairs, international justice and law, international cooperation for development, public information, human rights, and humanitarian affairs.

The main source of funds for the regular budget is the contributions of member states. The scale of assessments is based on the capacity of countries to pay. This is determined by considering their relative shares of total gross national product, adjusted to take into account a number of factors, including their per capita incomes.

In addition to the regular budget, member states are assessed for the costs of the international tribunals and, in accordance with a modified version of the basic scale, for the costs of peacekeeping operations.[15]

Elections

United National General Assembly
Division of the General Assembly by membership in the five United Nations Regional Groups.
  The African Group
  The Asia-Pacific Group
   The Middle and Eastern European Group
  The Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC)
  The Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
  No group

The General Assembly votes in elections for the ten non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council;[16] the most recent such election was on 2 June 2017. These elections take place every year, and member states serve two-year terms, with five replaced each year. The candidates are selected by their regional groups. The General Assembly also elects members of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It also elects members of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and some members of the United Nations Trusteeship Council. The General Assembly appoints the Secretary-General of the United Nations on recommendation of the Security Council, and adopts rules governing the administration of the Secretariat. Along with the Security Council, the General Assembly elects Judges for the International Court of Justice in The Hague.[17]

Special sessions (UNGASS)

General Assembly of the United Nations
Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero addressing the General Assembly in New York, 20 September 2005

Special sessions may be convened at the request of the United Nations Security Council, or a majority of UN members,[18] or, if the majority concurs, of a single member. A special session was held on October 1995 at the head of government level to commemorate the UN's 50th anniversary. Another special session was held in September 2000 to celebrate the millennium; it put forward the Millennium Development Goals. A special session was again held to discuss and admit proposals for the HIV/AIDS crisis in 2001.[19] A further special session (2005 World Summit) was held in September 2005 to commemorate the UN's 60th anniversary; it assessed progress on the Millennium Development Goals, and discussed Kofi Annan's In Larger Freedom proposals. Another special session was held in 2014 to discuss Population and Development, following the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action.[20]

UNGASS 2016

A special session was held in 2016 to discuss the War on Drugs and proposals to reconsider international drug treaties like the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as well as how to deal with drug treatment, rehabilitation, and related matters.[21] This was the first UN gathering on the subject in 20 years. In 2016, while "some European and South American countries as well as the U.S. favored softer approaches[,] ... countries such as China and Russia and most Muslim nations like Iran, Indonesia and Pakistan remained staunchly opposed" to any move beyond prohibition. One group favouring reform, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and some attendees, expressed disappointment with the "status quo" outcome.[22]

Presenters included Russel Simmons, Michael Skolnik, Che Rhymefest Smith, who screened the film WARonUS, directed by Queen Muhammad Ali and Hakeem Khaaliq.[23][24]

Rousseff UN General Debate
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff delivers the opening speech at the 66th Session of the General Assembly on 21 September 2011, marking the first time a woman opened a United Nations session.[25]

Other special sessions

At the first Special Session of the UN General Assembly held in 1947, Osvaldo Aranha, then president of the Special Session, began a tradition that has remained until today whereby the first speaker at this major international forum is always a Brazilian.[26]

If the Security Council fails to act to maintain international peace and security due to a disagreement between its permanent members, the General Assembly has the power to convene an emergency special session and act to ensure peace and security under United Nations General Assembly Resolution 377.

General Debates

Annually, Heads of State, Government or heads of delegations speak at the opening of the new session of the General Assembly during the "General Debate".[27][28][29]

Emergency special sessions

The General Assembly may take action on maintaining international peace and security if the United Nations Security Council is unable, usually due to disagreement among the permanent members, to exercise its primary responsibility. If not in session at the time, the General Assembly may meet in emergency special session[30] within 24 hours of the request. Such emergency special sessions are to be called if requested by the UN Security Council on the vote of any seven members, or by a majority of the Members of the United Nations.

The "Uniting for Peace" resolution, adopted 3 November 1950, empowered the Assembly to convene in emergency special session in order to recommend collective measures, including the use of armed force, in the event of a breach of the peace or an act of aggression. As with all Assembly resolutions, two-thirds of UN Members "present and voting" must approve any such recommendation before it can be formally adopted by the Assembly. Emergency special sessions have been convened under this procedure on ten occasions. The two most recent, in 1982 and 1997–2017, were about the status of the territories occupied[31] by the State of Israel.

Subsidiary organs

UN General Assembly building
The United Nations General Assembly building
Panorama of the United Nations General Assembly, Oct 2012
Panorama of the UNGA

The General Assembly subsidiary organs are divided into five categories: committees (30 total, six main), commissions (six), boards (seven), councils (four) and panels (one), working groups, and "other".

Committees

Main committees

The main committees are ordinally numbered, 1–6:[32]

The roles of many of the main committees have changed over time. Until the late 1970s, the First Committee was the Political and Security Committee (POLISEC) and there was also a sufficient number of additional "political" matters that an additional, unnumbered main committee, called the Special Political Committee, also sat. The Fourth Committee formerly handled Trusteeship and Decolonization matters. With the decreasing number of such matters to be addressed as the trust territories attained independence and the decolonization movement progressed, the functions of the Special Political Committee were merged into the Fourth Committee during the 1990s.

Each main committee consists of all the members of the General Assembly. Each elects a chairman, three vice chairmen, and a rapporteur at the outset of each regular General Assembly session.

Other committees

RIAN archive 828797 Mikhail Gorbachev addressing UN General Assembly session
Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev addresses the UN General Assembly in December 1988

These are not numbered. According to the General Assembly website, the most important are: [32]

  • Credentials Committee – This committee is charged with ensuring that the diplomatic credentials of all UN representatives are in order. The Credentials Committee consists of nine Member States elected early in each regular General Assembly session.
  • General Committee – This is a supervisory committee entrusted with ensuring that the whole meeting of the Assembly goes smoothly. The General Committee consists of the president and vice presidents of the current General Assembly session and the chairman of each of the six Main Committees.

Other committees of the General Assembly are enumerated.[33]

Commissions

There are six commissions: [34]

Despite its name, the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) was actually a subsidiary body of ECOSOC.

Boards

There are seven boards which are categorized into two groups: a) Executive Boards and b) Boards [35]

Executive Boards

  1. Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Fund, established by GA Resolution 57 (I) and 48/162
  2. Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme and of the United Nations Population Fund, established by GA Resolution 2029 (XX) and 48/162
  3. Executive Board of the World Food Programme, established by GA Resolution 50/8

Boards

  1. Board of Auditors, established by GA Resolution 74 (I)
  2. Trade and Development Board, established by GA Resolution 1995 (XIX)
  3. United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board, established by GA Resolution 248 (III)
  4. Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, established by GA Resolution 37/99 K

Councils and panels

The newest council is the United Nations Human Rights Council, which replaced the aforementioned UNCHR in March 2006.

There are a total of four councils and one panel.[36]

Working Groups and other

There is a varied group of working groups and other subsidiary bodies.[37]

Seating

Countries are seated alphabetically in the General Assembly according to English translations of the countries' names. The country which occupies the front-most left position is determined annually by the Secretary-General via ballot draw. The remaining countries follow alphabetically after it.[38]

Reform and UNPA

On 21 March 2005, Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented a report, In Larger Freedom, that criticized the General Assembly for focusing so much on consensus that it was passing watered-down resolutions reflecting "the lowest common denominator of widely different opinions".[39] He also criticized the Assembly for trying to address too broad an agenda, instead of focusing on "the major substantive issues of the day, such as international migration and the long-debated comprehensive convention on terrorism". Annan recommended streamlining the General Assembly's agenda, committee structure, and procedures; strengthening the role and authority of its president; enhancing the role of civil society; and establishing a mechanism to review the decisions of its committees, in order to minimize unfunded mandates and micromanagement of the United Nations Secretariat. Annan reminded UN members of their responsibility to implement reforms, if they expect to realize improvements in UN effectiveness.[40]

The reform proposals were not taken up by the United Nations World Summit in September 2005. Instead, the Summit solely affirmed the central position of the General Assembly as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations, as well as the advisory role of the Assembly in the process of standard-setting and the codification of international law. The Summit also called for strengthening the relationship between the General Assembly and the other principal organs to ensure better coordination on topical issues that required coordinated action by the United Nations, in accordance with their respective mandates.

A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, or United Nations People's Assembly (UNPA), is a proposed addition to the United Nations System that eventually could allow for direct election of UN parliament members by citizens all over the world.

In the General Debate of the 65th General Assembly, Jorge Valero, representing Venezuela, said "The United Nations has exhausted its model and it is not simply a matter of proceeding with reform, the twenty-first century demands deep changes that are only possible with a rebuilding of this organisation." He pointed to the futility of resolutions concerning the Cuban embargo and the Middle East conflict as reasons for the UN model having failed. Venezuela also called for the suspension of veto rights in the Security Council because it was a "remnant of the Second World War [it] is incompatible with the principle of sovereign equality of States".[41]

Reform of the United Nations General Assembly includes proposals to change the powers and composition of the U.N. General Assembly. This could include, for example, tasking the Assembly with evaluating how well member states implement UNGA resolutions,[42] increasing the power of the assembly vis-à-vis the United Nations Security Council, or making debates more constructive and less repetitive.[43]

Sidelines of the General Assembly

The annual session of the United Nations General Assembly is accompanied by independent meetings between world leaders, better known as meetings taking place on the sidelines of the Assembly meeting. The diplomatic congregation has also since evolved into a week attracting wealthy and influential individuals from around the world to New York City to address various agendas, ranging from humanitarian and environmental to business and political.[44]

See also

References

  1. ^ CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS: Chapter IV Archived 12 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine. United Nations.
  2. ^ General Assembly: Subsidiary organs at UN.org.
  3. ^ United Nations Official Document. "The annual session convenes on Tuesday of the third week in September per Resolution 57/301, Para. 1. The opening debate begins the following Tuesday". www.un.org.
  4. ^ a b General Assembly of the United Nations. United Nations. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  5. ^ a b Population, total | Data | Table. World Bank. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  6. ^ "History of United Nations 1941 – 1950". United Nations. Archived from the original on 12 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  7. ^ (in French) "Genève renoue avec sa tradition de ville de paix", Le Temps, Thursday 16 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Research Guide: General Assembly". United Nations. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013.
  9. ^ "General Assembly of the United Nations".
  10. ^ General Assembly Adopts Work Programme for Sixty-Fourth Session, UN General Assembly Adopts Work Programme for Sixty-Fourth Session
  11. ^ UN Plenary Meetings of the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly, General Assembly of the UN
  12. ^ "Article 17 (1) of Charter of the United Nations".
  13. ^ "Articles 11 (2) and 11 (3) of Charter of the United Nations".
  14. ^ UN Security Council : Resolutions, Presidential Statements, Meeting Records, SC Press Releases Archived 2 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine. United Nations. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  15. ^ United Nations Department of Management. United Nations. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Articles 18 (2) and 23 (1) of Charter of the United Nations".
  17. ^ Grolier: The New Book of Knowledge (Encyclopedia), book U/V, Article: United Nations (pg. 65), article by Leland Goodrich
  18. ^ "Article 20 of Charter of the United Nations".
  19. ^ "UN GA Special Session on HIV/AIDS". United Nations. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  20. ^ "Event: Special Session of the General Assembly on the Follow-Up to the Programme of Action of the ICPD | Sustainable Development Policy & Practice | IISD Reporting Services". sd.iisd.org. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  21. ^ "Special Session of the General Assembly UNGASS 2016". unodc.org. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  22. ^ Fassihi, Farnaz, "U.N. Conference on Drugs Ends Without Shift in Policy", Wall Street Journal, 22 April 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  23. ^ Belk, Joey (19 March 2016). "How to travel in one of the most dangerous cities in the world and still be fresh". Nation19 Magazine / APDTA. Nation19 Magazine / APDTA. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  24. ^ "The Museum of Drug Policy Wants You to Speak Your Truth | Mass Appeal". Mass Appeal. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  25. ^ "Brazil's President Rousseff to be First Woman to Open United Nations". Fox News Channel. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  26. ^ "Historical Personalities and Diplomats: Oswaldo Aranha". Brazilian Ministry of External Relations.
  27. ^ "Thailand's name picked to set seating arrangement for General Assembly session". United Nations. 2 August 2005.
  28. ^ "UN: King Felipe VI of Spain and Ban Ki-moon Discuss Western Sahara". Morocco World News. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  29. ^ "In U.N. Speech, Obama Vows to Fight ISIS 'Network of Death'". The New York Times. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  30. ^ UNGA Emergency Special Sessions. United Nations.
  31. ^ Tenth Emergency Special Session. United Nations. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  32. ^ a b "Main Committees". United Nations General Assembly. United Nations. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  33. ^ "Subsidiary Organs of the General Assembly: Committees". United Nations General Assembly. United Nations. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  34. ^ "Subsidiary Organs of the General Assembly: Commissions". United Nations General Assembly. United Nations. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  35. ^ "Subsidiary Organs of the General Assembly: Boards". United Nations General Assembly. United Nations. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  36. ^ "Subsidiary Organs of the General Assembly: Assemblies and Councils". United Nations General Assembly. United Nations. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  37. ^ "Subsidiary Organs of the General Assembly: Working Groups". United Nations General Assembly. United Nations. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  38. ^ The PGA Handbook: A practical guide to the United Nations General Assembly (PDF). Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations. 2011. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-615-49660-3.
  39. ^ "Report of the Secretary-General in Larger Freedom towards development, security and human rights for all".
  40. ^ "In Larger Freedom, Chapter 5". United Nations.
  41. ^ Assembly, General. "Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of H.E. Mr. Jorge Valero Briceño, Chairman of the Delegation". www.un.org.
  42. ^ "REVITALIZATION OF THE WORK OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY" (PDF). Globalpolicy.org. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  43. ^ "The Role of the UN General Assembly". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  44. ^ David Gelles (21 September 2017). "It's the U.N.'s Week, but Executives Make It a High-Minded Mingle". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 September 2017.

External links

2016 United Nations General Assembly presidential election

An indirect presidential election was held to choose the President of the United Nations General Assembly on 13 June 2016 to replace Mogens Lykketoft and preside over the Seventy-first session of the United Nations General Assembly. It was the rotational turn of the Asia-Pacific Group to preside over the session. Peter Thomson was elected with 94 votes for and 90 votes against. This was the first time since 2012 that there was no consensus candidate from the regional groupings, thus invoking a secret ballot vote. His tenure begins on 13 September 2016.

Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples

The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, also known as the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514, was a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly during its fifteenth session, that affirmed that the resolution also provided for the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples.

It was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 14, 1960. 89 countries voted in favour, none voted against, and nine abstained: Australia, Belgium, Dominican Republic, France, Portugal, Spain, Union of South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States. Except for the Dominican Republic, the rest of those countries that abstained were colonial powers.

The Declaration also cited by International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Inter-Parliamentary Union

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU; French: Union Interparlementaire [UIP]) is a global inter-parliamentary institution established in 1889 by Frédéric Passy (France) and William Randal Cremer (United Kingdom). It was the first permanent forum for political multilateral negotiations. Initially, the organization was for individual parliamentarians, but has since transformed into an international organization of the parliaments of sovereign states. The national parliaments of 178 countries (the last three member countries are Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vanuatu; Memberships were given during its 137th conference) are members of the IPU, and 12 regional parliamentary assemblies are associate members. The IPU has permanent observer status at the United Nations General Assembly.

List of resolutions at the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly

This is a list of United Nations General Assembly resolutions at the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly.

List of resolutions at the sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly

This is a list of United Nations General Assembly resolutions at the sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Member states of the United Nations

The United Nations member states are the 193 sovereign states that are members of the United Nations (UN) and have equal representation in the UN General Assembly. The UN is the world's largest intergovernmental organization.

The criteria for admission of new members to the UN are set out in Chapter II, Article 4 of the UN Charter:

Membership in the United Nations is open to all peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgement of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.

The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.A recommendation for admission from the Security Council requires affirmative votes from at least nine of the council's fifteen members, with none of the five permanent members using their veto power. The Security Council's recommendation must then be approved in the General Assembly by a two-thirds majority vote.In principle, only sovereign states can become UN members, and currently all UN members are sovereign states. Although five members were not sovereign when they joined the UN, all subsequently became fully independent between 1946 and 1991. Because a state can only be admitted to membership in the UN by the approval of the Security Council and the General Assembly, a number of states that are considered sovereign according to the Montevideo Convention are not members of the UN. This is because the UN does not consider them to possess sovereignty, mainly due to the lack of international recognition or due to opposition from one of the permanent members.

In addition to the member states, the UN also invites non-member states to become observers at the UN General Assembly (currently two: the Holy See and Palestine), allowing them to participate and speak in General Assembly meetings, but not vote. Observers are generally intergovernmental organizations and international organizations and entities whose statehood or sovereignty is not precisely defined.

President of the United Nations General Assembly

The President of the United Nations General Assembly is a position voted for by representatives in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on a yearly basis. The President presides over the sessions of the General Assembly.

María Fernanda Espinosa of Ecuador has been elected as the UNGA President of its 73rd session beginning in September 2018.

Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice

The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, often referred to as the Beijing Rules, is a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly regarding the treatment of juvenile prisoners and offenders in member nations.

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) (French Commission des Nations Unies pour le droit commercial international (CNUDCI)) was established by the United Nations General Assembly by its Resolution 2205 (XXI) of 17 December 1966 "to promote the progressive harmonization and unification of international trade law".

UNCITRAL carries out its work at annual sessions held alternately in New York City and Vienna.

United Nations Day

United Nations Day is devoted to making known to people of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations Organization. United Nations Day is part of United Nations Week, which runs from 20 to 26 October.

In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly declared 24 October, the anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations, as which "shall be devoted to making known to the people of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations and to gaining their support for" its work.In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a further resolution (United Nations Resolution 2782) declaring that United Nations Day shall be an international observance or international holiday and recommended that it should be observed as a public holiday by United Nations member states.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 was adopted on December 11, 1948, near the end of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. The Resolution defined principles for reaching a final settlement and returning Palestine refugees to their homes. It resolved that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.” (Article 11)The resolution also called for the establishment of the United Nations Conciliation Commission to facilitate peace between Israel and Arab states, continuing the efforts of UN Mediator Folke Bernadotte, following his assassination.Of the 58 members of the United Nations at that time, the resolution was adopted by a majority of 35 countries, with 15 voting against and 8 abstaining. Significantly, all six Arab League countries then represented at the UN – Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen, all of which were parties to the conflict in question – voted against the resolution. The other significant group which voted against comprised the Communist bloc member countries: Byelorrusian SSR, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Ukrainian SSR, USSR, Yugoslavia, all of which had already recognised Israel as a de jure state. Israel was not a member of the United Nations at the time, and objected to many of the resolution's articles. The Palestinians were not directly consulted.

The resolution, especially Article 11, has been cited in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 establishing the UNRWA and other UN resolutions. It has also been invoked in support of claims of Palestinian right of return, claims which have been rejected by Israeli governments.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758

The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 was passed in response to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1668 that required any change in China's representation in the UN be determined by a two-thirds vote referring to Article 18 of the UN Charter. The resolution, passed on 25 October 1971, recognized the People's Republic of China (PRC) as "the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations" and removed the collective representatives of Chiang Kai-shek and the Republic of China from the United Nations.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, adopted on 10 November 1975 by a vote of 72 to 35 (with 32 abstentions), "determine[d] that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination". The vote took place approximately one year after UNGA 3237 granted the PLO "observer status", following PLO president Yasser Arafat's "olive branch" speech to the General Assembly in November 1974. The resolution was passed with the support of the Soviet bloc, in addition to the Arab- and Muslim-majority countries, many African countries, and a few others.

The determination that "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination", contained in the resolution, was revoked in 1991 with UN General Assembly Resolution 46/86.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 62/243

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 62/243, titled "The Situation in the Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan", is a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly about the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, which was adopted on March 14, 2008 at the 62nd session of the General Assembly. It became the fifth United Nations document concerning Nagorno-Karabakh and the first United Nations General Assembly document on it.

The resolution reaffirmed "continued respect and support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Azerbaijan "within its internationally recognized borders", demanded the "immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan", and emphasized that "no state shall render aid or assistance" to maintain the occupation of Azerbaijani territories. The resolution was adopted shortly after 2008 Mardakert skirmishes, which at the time had been the heaviest ceasefire violation between Armenia and Azerbaijan since the end of Nagorno-Karabakh War.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 65/265

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 65/265 is a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly which suspended the right of Libya to take part in the Human Rights Council. Adopted on March 1, 2011, the resolution was passed in response to Muammar Gaddafi's treatment of protesters in the 2011 Libyan civil war.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/262

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/262 was adopted on March 27, 2014 by the sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly in response to the Russian annexation of Crimea and entitled "Territorial integrity of Ukraine". The non-binding resolution, which was supported by 100 United Nations member states, affirmed the General Assembly's commitment to the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and underscored the invalidity of the 2014 Crimean referendum. Eleven nations voted against the resolution, while 58 abstained, and a further 24 states were absent when the vote took place.

The resolution was introduced by Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. The adoption of the resolution was preceded by the unsuccessful attempts of the United Nations Security Council, which convened seven sessions to address the Crimean crisis, only to face a Russian veto of draft resolution S/2014/189, sponsored by 42 countries.

United Nations General Assembly observers

In addition to its 193 member states, the United Nations General Assembly may grant observer status to an international organization, entity or non-member state, which entitles the entity to participate in the work of the United Nations General Assembly, though with limitations. The General Assembly may determine what privileges it grants with the observer status, such as a right to speak at General Assembly meetings, vote on procedural matters, serve as signatories on working papers, and sign resolutions, but not to sponsor resolutions or vote on resolutions of substantive matters. Exceptionally, the EU was granted in 2011 the right to speak in debates, to submit proposals and amendments, the right of reply, to raise points of order and to circulate documents, etc. As of May 2011, the EU was the only international organisation to hold these enhanced rights, which has been likened to the rights of full membership, short of the right to vote.

Observer status may be granted by a United Nations General Assembly resolution. The status of a permanent observer is based purely on practice of the General Assembly, and there are no provisions for it in the United Nations Charter. A distinction has been made between state and non-state observers. Non-member states, which are members of one or more specialized agencies, can apply for the status of permanent observer state. Non-state observers are the international organizations and other entities.

United Nations General Assembly resolution

A United Nations General Assembly Resolution is voted on by all member states of the United Nations in the General Assembly.

General Assembly resolutions usually require a simple majority (50 percent of all votes plus one) to pass. However, if the General Assembly determines that the issue is an "important question" by a simple majority vote, then a two-thirds majority is required; "important questions" are those that deal significantly with maintenance of international peace and security, admission of new members to the United Nations, suspension of the rights and privileges of membership, expulsion of members, operation of the trusteeship system, or budgetary questions.

Although General Assembly resolutions are generally non-binding towards member states, internal resolutions may be binding on the operation of the General Assembly itself, for example with regard to budgetary and procedural matters.

United Nations Millennium Declaration

On 8 September 2000, following a three-day Millennium Summit of world leaders gathered in New York at the headquarters of the United Nations, the UN General Assembly

adopted some 60 goals regarding peace; development; environment; human rights; the vulnerable, hungry, and poor; Africa; and the United Nations which is called Millennium Declaration (Resolution 55/2). A follow-up outcome of the resolution was passed by the General Assembly on 14 December 2000 to guide its implementation. Progress on implementation of the Declaration was reviewed at the 2005 World Summit of leaders. The Declaration includes 8 chapters and 32 paragraphs.

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