United Nations General Assembly

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United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly

United Nations emblem

Meeting room of the General Assembly
Organization type Principal organ of the
United Nations
Abbreviation UNGA
management President
for the 76th session
Abdulla Shahid
status active
Founded 1945
Headquarters New York City , New York , United States
United StatesUnited States 
Upper organization United NationsU.N. United Nations
UN General Assembly website
A representative of a UN member state gives a speech to the General Assembly

The United Nations General Assembly (abbreviated UN General Assembly ), more rarely UN General Assembly ( English United Nations General Assembly - UNGA ), the General Assembly of the Member States of the United Nations . It meets annually in September at the UN headquarters in New York City . Each Member State may be represented by up to five people at a meeting. The assembly met for the first time on January 10, 1946, in London's Westminster Central Hall , at that time with envoys from 51 states .

The General Assembly examines and approves the budget of the United Nations (Art. 17 I UN Charter ). Her further tasks include the deliberation and the adoption of recommendatory resolutions . The General Assembly may deal with practically any question of international importance as long as it is not dealt with at the same time by the UN Security Council (Art. 12 Paragraph 1 UN Charter).

In contrast to the resolutions of the UN Security Council, those of the UN General Assembly are not binding under international law , but can have political weight because they represent a decision by a majority of the member states. That does not mean, however, that its decisions have to have no effect under international law: The UNGA resolutions can, under certain conditions, contribute to the development of binding customary international law . In addition, the decisions of the UNGA, which concern internal organizational matters such as administrative or budget matters (budget), are binding for the Secretariat .

In order to facilitate the work, the General Assembly has set up committees ( committees ) on various topics, which in turn can convene working groups .

Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir bin Mohamad addresses the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2003 in New York

Main committees

The main committees of the General Assembly are in detail:

  1. The Committee on Disarmament and International Security (Main Committee 1)
  2. The Economic and Financial Committee (Main Committee 2)
  3. The Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues (Main Committee 3)
  4. The Committee on Specific Political Issues and Decolonization (Main Committee 4)
  5. The Administrative and Budget Committee (Main Committee 5)
  6. The Legal Committee (Main Committee 6)


Each member state has one vote in the General Assembly (Article 18 of the UN Charter), which means that the vote of every state is equally valuable. Criteria such as size, population or economic strength are irrelevant. In the case of important questions, resolutions are passed with a majority of two thirds of the members present and voting. These include, for example:

  • Recommendations regarding the maintenance of world peace and security
  • the election of the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the other main bodies
  • the admission of new members
  • the suspension of a state's rights from membership
  • the exclusion of members
  • Budget issues

On other issues a resolution is passed with a simple majority.

When voting, approvals, votes against, abstentions and non-votes (mostly due to absenteeism) are recorded. Subsequent entries are sometimes also recorded.

Emergency meetings

According to Resolution 377A (V), which was adopted by the General Assembly on November 3, 1950, there is the possibility of calling emergency meetings within 24 hours if the UN Security Council is unable to take a decision or take action to take to maintain international peace and stability. The latter is usually the case when the Security Council is divided, i.e. blocked by a veto by one or more of its members. Such emergency meetings are called if at least seven representatives of the states represented on the UN Security Council or a majority of the UN member states so request. The plenary meeting called by emergency meeting can then decide on measures to resolve a crisis with a two-thirds majority of the members present. This also includes military measures.

There have been ten emergency meetings in the history of the United Nations:

Emergency meeting object Session (s)
First Suez crisis November 1st to 10th, 1956
Second Hungarian popular uprising November 4th to 10th, 1956
third Lebanon crisis 1958 August 8-21, 1958
Fourth Congo crisis September 17-19, 1960
Fifth Six Day War June 17-18, 1967
Sixth Soviet intervention in Afghanistan January 10-14, 1980
Seventh Israeli-Palestinian conflict July 22-29, 1980
April 20-28, 1982
June 25-26, 1982
August 16-19, 1982
September 24, 1982
Eighth South African rule in Namibia September 13-14, 1981
Ninth Israeli occupation and annexation of the Golan Heights January 29 to February 5, 1982
Tenth Israeli-Palestinian Conflict , Israeli Occupied Territories , East Jerusalem April 24 to 25, 1987, July 15, 1987, November 13, 1987
March 17, 1998
February 5 to 9, 1999
October 18 to 20, 2000
December 20, 2001
May 7, 2002, August 5, 2002
19. September 2003, October 20 to 21, 2003, December 8, 2003
July 16 to 20, 2004
November 17, 2006, December 15, 2006
January 15 to 16, 2009
December 21, 2017

Reform proposal

The UN General Assembly is not a parliament . It is an assembly of instructed, diplomatic officials of the governments of the UN member states without direct democratic legitimation through elections. The designation of the UN General Assembly as “world parliament” is therefore misleading.

In the course of reform efforts, it was proposed to add a parliamentary assembly at the United Nations to the nation system, which could consist of delegates . Such a body could be set up as a subsidiary body to the General Assembly in accordance with Article 22 of the UN Charter or as a main body in accordance with Article 108 of the same. The establishment of an international organization that would be linked to the United Nations through a cooperation agreement would also be conceivable .

See also

Web links

Commons : United Nations General Assembly  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. 75th Anniversary of the UN General Assembly , UNRIC January 11, 2021, accessed May 31, 2021
  2. More details on the rules of procedure for the General Assembly (PDF; 1.3 MB), Rule 98.
  3. ^ General Assembly Voting. In: research.un.org. June 19, 2019, accessed June 22, 2019 .
  4. ^ Uniting for Peace. United Nations, November 3, 1950, accessed January 7, 2018 .
  5. a b Emergency Special Sessions. UN General Assembly, accessed January 7, 2018 .
  6. More on this, Democratic Legitimation of the Activities of International Organizations (PDF; 899 kB), p. 20 ff.
  7. The implementation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly on UNPA Campaign, accessed on August 7, 2017