The United Nations General Assembly is the main deliberative body of the United Nations, composed of all 193 member states. It is responsible for setting the agenda for the UN, discussing global issues, and coordinating international cooperation.
The General Assembly meets annually in a regular session, starting in September and lasting for several weeks. During the session, member states gather at the UN headquarters in New York City to discuss and debate issues of global importance. Each member state has one vote in the General Assembly, and decisions are made by a two-thirds majority of the member states present and voting.
The General Assembly has a broad mandate, covering issues such as international peace and security, development, human rights, and the rule of law. It also has the power to approve the UN budget, elect members of the UN Security Council and other UN bodies, and admit new member states to the UN.
The General Assembly has several main functions:
- Setting the agenda: The General Assembly decides which issues to address and in what order, through the adoption of resolutions and decisions.
- Debating global issues: Member states have the opportunity to discuss global issues and share their perspectives on matters of international concern. The General Assembly also holds high-level meetings and special sessions to focus on specific issues, such as climate change, poverty reduction, and sustainable development.
- Coordinating international cooperation: The General Assembly fosters international cooperation by promoting partnerships among member states, civil society, and the private sector. It also works to strengthen multilateralism, the idea that global challenges require global solutions.
- Making decisions: The General Assembly adopts resolutions and decisions on a wide range of issues, such as peacekeeping, human rights, and disarmament. These decisions are non-binding, but they can carry significant political weight and influence the policies of member states and other UN bodies.
- Overseeing the work of the UN: The General Assembly reviews the work of other UN bodies and agencies, such as the Security Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat.
In addition to the regular session, the General Assembly also holds a special session on the follow-up to major international conferences and summits, such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Overall, the General Assembly is an important forum for member states to come together, discuss global issues, and work towards a more peaceful, prosperous, and equitable world. Its decisions and resolutions reflect the collective will of the international community and provide guidance for the work of the UN and its specialized agencies.