The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the United Nations. It is a unique world forum and the only UN organ composed of representatives from all member states. The General Assembly has the right to discuss and make recommendations on all matters of concern to the Organization. Matters dealt with by other UN organs are often submitted to the General Assembly for discussions and voting on resolutions.
Structure of the General Assembly
Most member states are represented in the General Assembly by its UN delegation, composed by the staff of its Permanent Mission and members of legislature and NGOs as observers. UNA Sweden, for instance, is part of the Swedish delegation. The head of each mission is known as Permanent Representative to the United Nations and has the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
The President of the United Nations General Assembly is a position voted for by representatives in the United Nations General Assembly on a yearly basis.
Work of the General Assembly
The continuing work of the United Nations Organization rests upon the principles laid down by General Assembly resolutions. The work is organized through:
- committees and other organs created by the General Assembly designated to study and report about special questions, such as disarmament, outer space, peacekeeping activities and human rights.
- international conferences performed according to the decisions of the General Assembly.
- UN Secretariat - the Secretary-General and his staff of international civil servants.
More on General Assembly
The General Assembly documents are composed as follows:
As of the 31st session (1976), the General Assembly began to incorporate the session number into the symbols of its documents. Before that the documents were only given a current number from 1946 onwards, i.e. A/9601.
- The General Assembly website provides an overview of the composition and procedure of the General Assembly including full text documentation from the most recent sessions and links to recent press releases.
- Rules of procedure and comments. Rules of procedure of the General Assembly
- UN Documentation : General Assembly. Research guide of Dag Hammarskjöld Library (New York).
- Information om General Assembly in Swedish by UNA Sweden.
- FN globalt uppdrag. The chapter 'FN:s uppbyggnad' describes the structure and work of the General Assembly.
- Förenta Nationernas generalförsamling... Aktstycken utgivna av utrikesdepartementet. A summary of important issues and Sweden's position on these raised in the General Assembly. Published by the Swedish Foreign Ministry.
Key UN documents
UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases
- United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
- UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
- ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
- Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
- UNBIS Thesaurus a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
- Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
- a list of all documents
- a comprehensive subject index
- an index to speeches
- a voting chart of resolutions
- United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.
- All UN documents from 1993-.
- All resolutions of the Principal Organs from 1946-.
- All Security Council plenary documents from 1946- in English, French and Spanish.
- All supplements to the General Assembly Official Records (GAOR) from 1946-.
- All General Assembly plenary meeting records from 1946- in English, French and Spanish.
- Older documents are being scanned: Update on UN Digitization Programme.