Лекция: The General Assembly


7. If the UNSC is where the UN usually reacts to the many conflicts around the globe, the General Assembly (GA) is the forum where each of the 193 member states can make its case heard. As the main deliberative organ of the United Nations, it is in many ways akin to a national parliament. Each member state, regardless of its size, has one vote.

8. The very size of the GA means that its effectiveness is limited. The annual meetings—or regular sessions—that usually open in September have become ritualistic and tend to make news only in connection with a possible high-profile appearance, by the U.S. president, for instance.

9. Its very inclusiveness is the GA's greatest weakness: with so many members represented, contentious issues have little chance of being affirmatively decided. This is particularly so because decisions on key questions—on peace and security, admission of new members, and budgetary matters—require a two-thirds majority (decisions on other questions are by simple majority). On questions of international security the GA is ultimately subservient to the Security Council and, hence, dependent on consensus among the P-5.

10. In many ways, the General Assembly functions like a national parliament. It has a president and twenty-one vice presidents. Unlike most national parliaments with their political parties, however, the GA is divided along regional lines. The presidency, for example, rotates each year among five groups of states: African, Asian, Eastern European, Latin American and the Caribbean, and Western European and other states (for example, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand).


Secretary-General: «the most difficult job on earth»?


11. The UN Secretariat serves the other principal organs of the United Nations and administers the programs and policies laid down by them. At its head is the Secretary-General, who is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council for a renewable five-year term.

12. The role of the Secretariat is multifaceted. It advocates various UN causes, engages in crisis diplomacy and oversees the work of UN peacekeeping forces in the trouble spots of the world. This relatively small body of civil servants who are, after all, citizens of the member states have found it difficult to perform these tasks while under pressure from the member states. The work of the Secretariat is under constant pressure from nation-state imperatives and universal goals. Can one expect that a national of a given country will not use his or her position as a UN functionary to push certain policies that would have a positive impact on his or her native country?


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