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Backgrounder: UN General Assembly

2009-09-16 15:44 BJT

Special Report: Hu attends UN, G20 Summits |

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- The 64th session of the UN General Assembly opened on Tuesday at the UN's headquarter in New York City.

The following is a brief introduction to the UN General Assembly.

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

Comprising all 192 members of the UN, it 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 standard-setting and international law codifying. The Assembly meets in regular session under its president from September to December each year. The first session was convened on 10 January 1946 in London. Altogether, 63 GA sessions have been convened since its inception.

The GA presidency rotates annually between five geographic blocs. The current president of the GA is Dr. Ali Abdussalam Trekifrom Libya, who was inaugurated as the 64th GA sessions opened.

According to the UN Charter, the GA has the powers of overseeing the budget of UN, appointing the Secretary General, electing the non-permanent members of the Security Council, and making recommendations on the form of GA Resolutions.

It may also consider and make recommendations of cooperation for maintaining peace and security, realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as international efforts in the economic, social, humanitarian, and health fields.

Voting in the GA on important questions like recommendations on peace and security, expulsion of members and budgetary matters is by a two-thirds majority, while other issues are decided by a simple majority. Each member country has one vote.

Special sessions may be convened at the request of the UN Security Council, or a majority of UN members, or, if the majority concurs, of a single member. A special session was held in September 2000 to celebrate the millennium and put forward the Millennium Development Goals.