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What is United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and it's recent developments

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

Recently, the UNGA 77th session took place in New York. Lots of updates took place and lot of statements went viral on the internet of the representatives of different countries. But first what is the UNGA? How this is related to world politics and it's significance?

(Image source - un.org)

What is UNGA?

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) is the main policy-making organ of the Organization out of 6 organs. It is comprised of all the member states and the largest assembly of the world where all the nations get a chance to speak on all the different spectrum of issues that are covered under the UN charter. The important aspect is that each UN member has one vote that is all 193 countries has their equal say unlike the other organs of United Nations such as the UNSC.

The assembly meets each year from September to December and discuss specific issues through dedicated agenda which leads to adoption of the resolutions.


For admission of new members, budgetary matters, and peace and security issues. a two-thirds majority is required rest matters are sorted with simple majority.


Other important tasks of UNGA are:

  • appointing the Secretary-General on the recommendation of the Security Council.

  • electing the non-permanent members of the Security Council.

  • approving the UN budget.

Also, sitting arrangements in the General Assembly Hall change for each session. During the 77th Session (2022 - 2023), Belize occupied the first seat in the Hall, including in the Main Committees (followed by all the other countries, in English alphabetical order).


Just after the advent of COVID 19, the UNGA is holding sessions virtually and also taking e-voting to get things going.



History and functions of UNGA


The first session of UNGA took place in London on 10 January 1946 , which was attended by 51 countries. There were 192 members later by 2006. there are also some observer stat us members of the UNGA, these are mainly the states, organizations, and other entities. These includes:

  • The Vatican

  • African Union

  • International committee of the Red cross

  • Palestine

The primary role of UNGA is to discuss issues and make recommendations but it has no power to enforce its resolutions or compel state action as the most powerful body of UN is the UNSC which has USA, UK, china, France and Russia as it's permanent members.

It's functions include admitting new members and:

  • Selecting members of the Economic and Social Council, the nonpermanent members of the Security Council, and the Trusteeship Council.

  • Supervising the activities of the other UN organs, from which the General Assembly receives reports.

  • Participating in the election of judges to the International Court of Justice and the selection of the secretary-general.

  • At the beginning of each regular session, the General Assembly holds a general debate, in which all members participate and may raise any issue of international concern.



It has six main committees which does all the work, Committees are generally referred to by their number. Thus, the Disarmament and International Security Committee is known as the First Committee:

  • Disarmament and International Security

  • Economic and Financial

  • Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural

  • Special Political and Decolonization

  • Administrative and Budgetary

  • Legal

All 6 organs of the UN, out of which 5 are based in New York:

  • The General Assembly

  • The Security Council

  • The Economic and Social Council

  • The Trusteeship Council

  • The Secretariat

  • International Court of Justice, is located at The Hague in the Netherlands.

Recent developments at the UNGA 77th sessions:

This year’s theme was, “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges”, acknowledges the shared roots of crises such as COVID-19, climate change and conflict, and the need for solutions that build global sustainability and resilience.


  • India was praised by different nations for helping them with the vaccines during the COVID and received support for permanent UNSC membership, which includes the Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Guyana, Jamaica and Portugal among others.

  • The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also acknowledged the key role India can play in the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and French President Emmanuel Macron have referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's India in a positive light.

  • India received backing from the Russia also for permanent membership of UNSC, that is most powerful body of UN.

Antonio Guterres "Looking ahead, India, home to the largest youth generation in history will be decisive in the success of the Sustainable Development Goals, and reiterating Prime Minister Modi - as you reform, the world transforms,"

The Foreign Minister of India, S Jaishankar said that there has been a "shift" on the issue of UN reforms among the international community that was seen this week.

"In respect of UN reform, every General Assembly (session) you revisit that issue, but this time something has shifted. You can see that, you can sense that,"


Hopefully the reforms in the UN come soon , India has been long rallying for it also now it is for the world to realize the importance India holds in geopolitics, it is important for India to be part of all the organs and play an active role.


stay tuned for more..


 


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