Each Member Nation has one vote in the General Assembly. Some decisions are reached by a simple majority. Decisions of the General Assembly on important questions shall, however, be made by two-thirds majority of the members present and voting. These questions include
- recommendations on peace and security
- election of members to organs
- admission, suspension, and expulsion of members
- budgetary matters.
A detailed description of the voting procedure can be found in the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly.
The Assembly may make recommendations on any matters within the scope of the UN but the resolutions are not binding on the member states. They carry, however, the weight of world opinion as well as the moral authority of the world community.
Decisions taken by the General Assembly are binding. They are dealing with matters internal to the United Nations such as budgetary questions, and the apportioning of contributions of member states to the UN regular budget.
General Assembly resolutions carry the following document symbols:
For the period before 1976 the resolutions were consecutively numbered. After that they are counted from number 1- within each session.
N.B. The year is not given.
A/ General Assembly
Ex. A/RES/52/15 General Assembly resolution, 52nd session, number 15
General Assembly resolutions are published in different versions.
- Supplements to the Official Records of the General Assembly
- The official text is published after each session as the last number in the series of supplements.
- Texts of resolutions and/or decisions of committees, commissions and other subsidiary bodies are included in their annual/sessional reports to the parent body included in the series.
- General Assembly resolutions.
- The Voting Records database provides access to voting information for General Assembly resolutions adopted.
- Declaration and Conventions Contained in General Assembly resolutions. This database contains links to declarations, conventions and other instruments, the text of which appear in resolutions of the General Assembly or their annexes from 1946.
- Dag Hammarskjöld Library, New York, has created research guides:
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.