The General Assembly Powers and functions and Sessions


The General Assembly is one of the six main organs of the United Nations (UN). It is composed of all 193 member states of the UN, each of which has one vote. The General Assembly holds a central position in the UN system and serves as a forum for member states to discuss and coordinate on international issues.

Powers and Functions of the General Assembly:

  1. Deliberative Function: The General Assembly serves as a platform for member states to discuss and deliberate on various global issues. It allows representatives from all member states to express their views, present proposals, and engage in debates on matters of international significance.
  2. Decision-Making Function: The General Assembly has the power to make recommendations on general issues, as well as specific issues related to international peace and security, budgetary matters, and admission of new member states. Its resolutions are non-binding, but they carry significant political weight and can influence the actions of member states.
  3. Budgetary Function: The General Assembly approves the regular budget of the United Nations, which is funded by contributions from member states. It reviews and approves the budget proposed by the Secretary-General and allocates funds for the functioning of various UN programs and agencies.
  4. Oversight Function: The General Assembly exercises oversight over the other UN organs and specialized agencies. It receives reports from these bodies and can discuss their activities, policies, and performance. The General Assembly can also make recommendations for improving the functioning and efficiency of the UN system.
  5. International Law Function: The General Assembly plays a role in the development and codification of international law. It can initiate the creation of international conventions and treaties, as well as establish special committees or subsidiary bodies to study legal issues and propose measures for consideration.

Sessions of the General Assembly:
The General Assembly holds regular sessions, as well as special sessions when necessary. The regular sessions begin in September and usually last for several months, concluding in December. During these sessions, representatives from member states gather at the UN Headquarters in New York to discuss a wide range of global issues.

The General Assembly also convenes special sessions to address urgent matters or specific topics of concern. These special sessions can be initiated by the General Assembly itself, the Security Council, or upon the request of a majority of member states. Special sessions provide a focused platform for in-depth discussions and decision-making on specific issues.

Each member state is entitled to send a delegation to the General Assembly sessions, headed by its head of state, head of government, or foreign minister. The sessions are conducted according to a predetermined agenda, which is set by the General Committee—a subsidiary body of the General Assembly responsible for organizing the sessions and coordinating their work.

It is important to note that the General Assembly operates on the principle of sovereign equality, with each member state having an equal voice and vote. However, certain decisions, such as those related to peace and security issues, require a two-thirds majority, while others are determined by a simple majority.

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