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DagDok

Your guide to UN and UN documents and reports

Role of the General Assembly

The General Assembly is the only organ to which the UN charter assigns the task of developing international law. The Sixth Committee is the primary forum for the consideration of legal questions in the General Assembly.

The General Assembly and international law

The General Assembly initiates studies and makes recommendations. It also prepares draft conventions and convenes international conferences with the task of discussing finalizing and adopting multilateral treaties. The Assembly is hereby supported by its subsidiary organs and special committees.

After their adaption, the conventions can be accepted by individual states by way of signing and ratifying.

The General Assembly also adopts declarations and resolutions. Although not legally binding, they are statements of principle. They are also a common standard of achievement with a strong moral and political value.

Conventions, Declarations and other Instruments Found in General Assembly Resolutions

The Legal Committee - Sixth Committee

The Sixth Committee is one of the main committees of the General Assembly. Entrusted with the consideration of legal matters, it submits reports to the General Assembly on items allocated to it. The Committee also transmits draft resolutions for adoption in plenary sessions.

More on UN, General Assembly and international law

Sixth Committee

  • Sixth Committee documents are identified as A/C.6.
  • Summary records of meetings from the Sixth Committee are issued as A/C.6/session number/SR.meeting number.
  • The Sixth Committee submits a separate report to the General Assembly on every agenda item allocated to it. The original symbol (C.6) of the Sixth Committee then disappears and the document is transformed into a session document of the General Assembly.
  • Resolutions drafted by the Sixth Committee can be retrieved from the General Assembly. Official Records. Supplement VII. Resolutions adopted of the reports of the Sixth Committee.
  • Sixth Committee website:
    • Information about present and previous sessions (from 1999 onwards).
    • An overview of the agenda items allocated to the Sixth Committee from 1999 onwards.
  • Press releases from the Sixth Committee carry the symbol: GA/L-.
  • The United Nations Documents Index (UN Digital Library) contains references to all documents from the Sixth Committee and the General Assembly.
  • Speeches held in the Sixth Committee can be found in:

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library. UN official documents and open access publications, UN maps, UN voting data and speeches.
  • UN iLibrary. UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS. 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 is 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

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