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United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), President, Composition, Powers, and Key Functions

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA): The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is an essential organ of the United Nations (UN), serving as a platform for all member states to come together and discuss vital global issues. As the principal deliberative and policymaking body of the UN, the UNGA plays a crucial role in promoting international cooperation, addressing pressing challenges, and fostering peace and development worldwide. United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is also important for UPSC Prelims Exam and UPSC Mains Exam (GS Paper 2- International Relations, International Organizations).

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in News

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi expressed his joy as the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution for the establishment of a new Memorial Wall dedicated to fallen Peacekeepers, which was initiated by India. The Prime Minister took to Twitter to share his delight, stating that the resolution received an unprecedented 190 co-sponsorships. He expressed his gratitude for the support received from all quarters.

United Nations General Assembly, Key Points

Established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations, the UN General Assembly occupies a central position as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations.

  • UNGA President: The UNGA is headed by its President, who is elected for a term of one year.
  • Composition: United Nations General Assembly comprises all 193 Members of the United Nations.
  • Mandate: provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter.
    • It also plays a significant role in the process of standard-setting and the codification of international law.

United Nations Security Council: Composition, Functioning and Indian Engagement at UNSC

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) President

The 193 UN Member States, elected a veteran diplomat from Trinidad and Tobago, Dennis Francis as the President of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. Francis, who has had a nearly 40-year-career, will take the helm of the UN’s main policy-making body, starting in September. Csaba Kőrösi has been serving as the current President of the United Nations General Assembly since September 13, 2022. Every year, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) selects a president from its member states.

Decision making in UNGA

Each of the 193 Member States of the United Nations has an equal vote. It makes the following key decisions for the UN –

  • Appointing the Secretary-General on the recommendation of the Security Council
  • Electing the non-permanent members of the Security Council
  • Approving the UN budget

UNGA Sessions

The Assembly meets in regular sessions from September to December each year, and thereafter as required. It discusses specific issues through dedicated agenda items or sub-items, which lead to the adoption of resolutions. Generally, a simple majority is considered but in case of important decisions, a two-thirds majority is considered. Each member has one vote. Unlike UN Security Council (UNSC), no member state enjoys a veto in the UNGA.

United Nations General Assembly, Key Functions

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.

It 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, the Assembly may consider the matter immediately and recommend to its Members collective measures to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Achievements and Impact of UNGA

Throughout its existence, the UNGA has achieved notable milestones and played a critical role in shaping global affairs. Some key achievements include:

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights: The UNGA adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, establishing fundamental principles for the protection of human rights worldwide.
  • Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): The UNGA played a pivotal role in formulating the MDGs, a set of eight global targets aimed at eradicating poverty, promoting education, gender equality, and environmental sustainability. These goals guided international development efforts from 2000 to 2015.
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Building upon the MDGs, the UNGA adopted the SDGs in 2015, outlining a comprehensive agenda for sustainable development by 2030. The SDGs encompass 17 goals, addressing issues such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and peace and justice.


The United Nations General Assembly stands as a testament to the power of international cooperation and dialogue. It serves as a forum for diverse nations to come together, exchange ideas, and collaborate on shared challenges. With its focus on peace, development, and human rights, the UNGA plays a pivotal role in shaping global policies and striving towards a more just and sustainable world.

UN Security Council, Enhancing Maritime Security

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