General Studies IIImportant International InstitutionsInternational OrganizationsINTERNATIONAL RELATION

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

About United Nations General Assembly (UNGA): 

  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN).
  • It serving as the main deliberative, policy-making, and representative organ of the UN. Its powers, composition, functions, and procedures are set out in Chapter IV of the United Nations Charter.
  • The UNGA is responsible for the UN budget, appointing the non-permanent members to the Security Council, appointing the Secretary-General of the United Nations, receiving reports from other parts of the UN system, and making recommendations through resolutions.
  • It also establishes numerous subsidiary organs to advance or assist in its broad mandate.
  • The UNGA is the only UN organ wherein all member states have equal representation.
  • It has 193 members (all the UN member countries).
  • The resolutions passed by the General Assembly do not have the binding forces over the member nations.
  • The General Assembly meets under its president or the UN Secretary-General in annual sessions at UN headquarters in New York City
  • The first session was convened on 10 January 1946 in the Methodist Central Hall in London and included representatives of the 51 founding nations.
  • The Assembly may also take action if the Security Council fails to act, owing to the negative vote of a permanent member, in a case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression. The Assembly can consider the matter immediately with a view to making recommendations to Members for collective measures to maintain or restore international peace and security.

History United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

The first session of the UN General Assembly was convened on 10 January 1946 in the Methodist Central Hall in London and included representatives of 51 nations.The next few annual sessions were held in different cities: the second session in New York City, and the third in Paris. It moved to the permanent Headquarters of the United Nations in New York City at the start of its seventh regular annual session, on 14 October 1952. In December 1988, in order to hear Yasser Arafat, the General Assembly organized its 29th session in the Palace of Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland.


Voting in the General Assembly on certain important questions—namely recommendations on peace and security; budgetary concerns; and the election, admission, suspension or expulsion of members—is by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting. Other questions are decided by a simple majority. Each member country has one vote. Apart from the approval of budgetary matters, including the adoption of a scale of assessment, Assembly resolutions are not binding on the members. The Assembly may make recommendations on any matters within the scope of the UN, except matters of peace and security under the Security Council consideration.

Functions and powers of the General Assembly

The Assembly is empowered to make recommendations to States on international issues within its competence. It has also initiated actions – political, economic, humanitarian, social and legal – which have benefitted the lives of millions of people throughout the world. The landmark Millennium Declaration, adopted in 2000, and the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, reflect the commitment of Member States to reach specific goals to attain peace, security and disarmament, along with development and poverty eradication; to safeguard human rights and promote the rule of law; to protect our common environment; to meet the special needs of Africa; and to strengthen the United Nations. In September 2015, the Assembly agreed on a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, contained in the outcome document of the United Nations Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda (resolution 70/1: “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development). 

According to the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly may:
•    Consider and approve the United Nations budget and establish the financial assessments of Member States

•    Elect the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the members of other United Nations councils and organs and, on the recommendation of the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General
•    Consider and make recommendations on the general principles of cooperation for maintaining international peace and security, including disarmament
•    Discuss any question relating to international peace and security and, except where a dispute or situation is currently being discussed by the Security Council, make recommendations on it
•    Discuss, with the same exception, and make recommendations on any questions within the scope of the Charter or affecting the powers and functions of any organ of the United Nations
•    Initiate studies and make recommendations to promote international political cooperation, the development and codification of international law, the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and international collaboration in the economic, social, humanitarian, cultural, educational and health fields
•    Make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation that might impair friendly relations among countries
•    Consider reports from the Security Council and other United Nations organs

The Assembly may also take action in cases of a threat to the peace, breach of peace or act of aggression, when the Security Council has failed to act owing to the negative vote of a permanent member. In such instances, according to its “Uniting for peace” resolution of 3 November 1950, the Assembly may consider the matter immediately and recommend to its Members collective measures to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Subsidiary organs

Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

  • It is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as implementation of internationally agreed development goals.
  • It has 54 Members, elected by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms.
  • It is the United Nations’ central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on sustainable development.
  • Each year, ECOSOC structures its work around an annual theme of global importance to sustainable development. This ensures focused attention, among ECOSOC’s array of partners, and throughout the UN development system.
  • It coordinates the work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, ten functional commissions and five regional commissions, receives reports from nine UN funds and programmes and issues policy recommendations to the UN system and to Member States.

UN bodies within the purview of the ECOSOC:

Specialized agencies
International labour Organization (ILO)

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

World Health Organization (WHO)

World Bank Group

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

World Tourism Organization (WTO)

Functional commissions

Statistical Commission
Commission on Population and Development
Commission for Social Development
Commission on Human Rights
Commission on the Status of Women
Commission on Narcotic Drugs
Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
Commission on Science and Technology for Development
Commission on Sustainable Development
United Nations Forum on Forests

Regional Commissions
Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)

Standing Committees
Committee for Programme and Coordination
Commission on Human Settlements
Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations
Committee on Negotiations with Intergovernmental Agencies
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Ad hoc bodies
Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Informatics
Expert bodies composed of governmental experts
Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.

United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names

Expert bodies composed of members serving in their personal capacity

Committee for Development Policy
Meeting of Experts on the United Nations Programme in Public Administration and Finance

Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for Development

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Related bodies

International Narcotics Control Board

Board of Trustees of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women

Committee for the United Nations Population Award

Programme Coordination Board of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS

Funds and programmes which send reports to ECOSOC

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

United Nations Development Fund for WomenUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP)

World Food Programme (WFP)UN-HABITAT


Trusteeship Council

  • It was established in 1945 by the UN Charter, under Chapter XIII.
  • Trust territory is a non-self-governing territory placed under an administrative authority by the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations.
  • A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League of Nations.
  • United Nations trust territories were the successors of the remaining League of Nations mandates, and came into being when the League of Nations ceased to exist in 1946.
  • It had to provide international supervision for 11 Trust Territories that had been placed under the administration of seven Member States, and ensure that adequate steps were taken to prepare the Territories for self-government and independence.
  • By 1994, all Trust Territories had attained self-government or independence. The Trusteeship Council suspended operation on 1 November 1994.

Also Read

Important International Institutions

Other news and institutions related to United Nations

Leave a Reply

Open chat
Hello Dear Aspirant,
Join our whatsapp group here to get Daily Newspapers, Magazines, Monthly, Question Banks and much more..
Just ping us your Name..
See you then..!!!