What to study?
For Prelims: Roles, functions, composition and objectives of UNGA.
For Mains: Significance and the need for reforms.
Context: The 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is currently on at the UN headquarters in New York.
What is UNGA?
Popularly known as the parliament of the world, where all the 193 UN member states are represented, the UNGA is the deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.
Roles and functions:
- Takes a decision on important matters such as peace and security, discusses various global issues and budgetary matters.
- Decides on matters such as the admission of new members.
- Decisions are taken through a vote. Admission of new members and budgetary matters require a two-thirds majority, while the decision on other issues are taken by a simple majority.
- Each sovereign state gets one vote and the votes are not binding on the membership, except in budgetary matters.
- The Assembly has no binding votes or veto powers like the UN Security Council.
- The UNGA can express world opinion, promote international cooperation in various fields and make recommendations to the UNSC and elect the Security Council’s non-permanent members.
Which countries are not a part of UNGA?
Among the world’s 196 countries, 193 are UN member states and three nations- Palestine, the Vatican City and Taiwan are not a part of the international organization as their country status is not recognized globally due to political and religious reasons.
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.
Sources: the Hindu.