United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) - UPSC Notes

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is one of the six principal organs of the  United Nations. The UNGA is an important topic for the IAS exam since it is the chief policymaking and representative body of the United Nations.

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

UNGA - UPSC Prelims Facts

The UNGA is a principal component of the United Nations. It is the main governing body of the organisation and is also the most representative body in the UN. 

  • All the members of the UN are represented in the UNGA, which is sometimes referred to as simply the GA. Hence, it has 193 members (all the UN member countries).
  • It meets annually in its headquarters in New York City, generally in the month of September. It can also meet at other times according to the need.
  • The UNGA is headed by its President, who is elected for a term of one year.
  • It is sometimes called the parliament of the world.
  • The UNGA deliberates and decides on important matters such as peace and security, and other international issues.
  • It also decides on the admission of new members.
  • Decisions are taken by voting. Generally, a simple majority is considered but in case of important decisions, a two-thirds majority is considered. Each member has one vote.
  • Unlike the Security Council, there is no veto power bestowed to anyone.
  • In 1953, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit became the eight President of the UNGA, the only Indian GA President to date.

UNGA UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

Functions and Powers of UNGA

The functions and powers of the UNGA are described below:

  • Considering and approving the UN budget and establishing the financial assessments of member countries.
  • Considering and making recommendations on the general principles of cooperation to maintain global peace & security, including disarmament.
  • Electing the non-permanent members of the UNSC and the members of other UN councils and organs and, appointing the Secretary-General, as per the UNSC’s recommendations.
  • Discussing questions concerning international peace & security and making recommendations on it (unless the matter is currently being discussed by the Security Council).
  • Initiating studies and making recommendations to boost international political cooperation, developing and codifying international law, realizing fundamental freedoms and human rights, and creating global collaboration in the social, economic, humanitarian, educational, cultural and health domains.
  • Making recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation that could hamper friendly relations among nations.
  • The UNGA also considers reports from the UNSC and other organs of the UN.
  • In case of threats to peace, and where the UNSC has failed to take action because of the negative vote (veto) of a permanent member, the GA can consider the matter and recommend actions to its members.

To know more about Important Headquarters of International Organizations, check the linked article.

UNGA Subsidiary Organs

The UNGA has many subsidiary organs, in the form of commissions, committees, boards, councils and working groups.

The commissions of the UNGA are:

  • Disarmament Commission
  • International Law Commission
  • International Civil Service Commission
  • United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine
  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)
  • United Nations Peacebuilding Commission

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