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Rules of Procedure

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Introduction

1. At its first regular session, the General Assembly adopted provisional rules of procedure (A/71/Rev.1) based on a text contained in the report of the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations [PC/20, chap. I, sect. 3].

2. At the same session, the General Assembly, by resolution 102 (I) of 15 December 1946, established the Committee on Procedures and Organization, consisting of 15 Member States.

3. At its second session, the General Assembly considered the report of the Committee on Procedures and Organization [Official Records of the General Assembly, Second Session, Plenary Meetings, vol. II, annex IV, document A/388], which contained draft rules of procedure proposed by the Committee [See Official Records of the General Assembly, Set and Session, Plenary Meetings, document A/388, part III], and, by resolution 173 (II) of 17 November 1947, adopted its rules of procedure. These rules entered into force on 1 January 1948.

4. At the same session, the General Assembly, by resolution 116 (II) of 21 November 1947, decided to add new rules 113, 114, 116 and 117 [ See Rules 134, 135, 137 and 138 of the present rules of procedure], relating to the admission of new Members.

5. At its third session, the General Assembly, by resolution 262 (III) of 11 December 1948, decided to include Spanish among its working languages and to amend accordingly rules 44 to 48 [See Rules 51 to 55 of the present rules of procedure].

6. At the same session, the General Assembly, by resolution 271 (III) of 29 April 1949, established the Special Committee on Methods and Procedures of the General Assembly, consisting of 15 Member States.

7. At its fourth session, the General Assembly considered the recommendations contained in the report of the Special Committee on Methods and Procedures of the General Assembly [See Official Records of the General Assembly, Fourth Session, Supplement No. 12 (A/937)] and, by resolution 362 (IV) of 22 October 1949, decided:

By the same resolution, the General Assembly adopted several of the recommendations and suggestions of the Special Committee and requested the Secretary-General to prepare a document embodying these recommendations and suggestions in a convenient form for use by the General Committee and delegations of Member States in the Assembly. The text of these recommendations and suggestions is reproduced in annex I.

8. At the same session, the General Assembly, by resolution 366 (IV) of 3 December 1949, adopted rules for the calling by the Economic and Social Council, under Article 62, paragraph 4, of the Charter, of international conferences of States.

9. At its fifth session, the General Assembly, by resolution 377 A (V) of 3 November 1950, adopted several amendments and additions to its rules of procedure relating to the holding of emergency special sessions; by that resolution, the Assembly decided:

10. At the same session, the General Assembly, by resolution 475 (V) of 1 November 1950, adopted a new rule 84A [See Rule 84 of the present rules of procedure] concerning the majority required for decisions of the Assembly on amendments to proposals relating to important questions and on parts of such proposals put to the vote separately.

11. At the same session, the General Assembly, by resolution 479 (V) of 12 December 1950, adopted rules for the calling by the Economic and Social Council, under Article 62, paragraph 4, of the Charter, of non-governmental conferences.

12. At its sixth session, the General Assembly, by resolution 597 (VI) of 20 December 1951, established the Special Committee for the Consideration of the Methods and Procedures of the General Assembly for Dealing with Legal and Drafting Questions, consisting of 15 Member States.

13. At its seventh session, the General Assembly considered the report of the Special Committee for the Consideration of the Methods and Procedures of the General Assembly for Dealing with Legal and Drafting Questions [See Official Records of the General Assembly, Seventh Session, Annexes, agenda item 53, document A/2174] and, by resolution 684 (VII) of 6 November 1952, adopted certain recommendations contained in that report; the resolution also provided that:

14. At the same session, the General Assembly, by resolution 689 A (VII) of 21 December 1952, established the Special Committee on Measures to Limit the Duration of Regular Sessions of the General Assembly, consisting of 15 Member States. By resolution 689 B (VII) of the same date, the Assembly adopted an amendment to rule 2 whereby the Assembly would, at the beginning of each session, fix "a closing date for the session" rather than "a target date for the closing of the session".

15. At its eighth session, the General Assembly considered the report of the Special Committee on Measures to Limit the Duration of Regular Sessions of the General Assembly [See Official Records of the General Assembly, Eighth Session, Annexes, agenda item 54, document A/2402] and, by resolution 791 (VIII) of 23 October 1953, decided:

16. At its ninth session, the General Assembly, by resolution 844 (IX) of 11 October 1954, adopted six special rules designed to govern its procedure for the examination of reports and petitions relating to the Territory of South West Africa [By resolution 2372 (XXII) of 12 June 1968, the General Assembly decided that "South West Africa" would be known as "Namibia". See paragraph 42 below].

17. At its eleventh session, the General Assembly, at the 577th plenary meeting on 15 November 1956, decided:

At the same session, the General Assembly, by resolution 1104 (XI) of 18 December 1956, adopted consequential amendments to rules 31, 38, 39 and 101[See Rule 98 of the present rules of procedure].

18. At its twelfth session, the General Assembly, by resolution 1192 (XII) of 12 December 1957, decided to increase the number of Vice-Presidents of the Assembly from 8 to 13 and adopted consequential amendments to rules 31 and 38. In an annex to the resolution, the General Assembly approved the pattern according to which the Vice-Presidents should be elected.

19. At its sixteenth session, the General Assembly, by resolution 1659 (XVI) of 28 November 1961, decided to increase the membership of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions from 9 to 12 and adopted consequential amendments to rules 156 and 157 [See Rules 155 and 156 of the present rules of procedure].

20. At its seventeenth session, the General Assembly, at the 1162nd plenary meeting on 30 October 1962, established the Ad Hoc Committee on the Improvement of the Methods of Work of the General Assembly, consisting of 18 members. By resolution 1845 (XVII) of 19 December 1962, the Assembly decided to continue the Ad Hoc Committee.

21. At its eighteenth session, the General Assembly considered the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Improvement of the Methods of Work of the General Assembly [See Official Records of the General Assembly, Eighteenth Session, Annexes, agenda item 25, document A/5423] and, by resolution 1898 (XVIII) of 11 November 1963, took note of the observations contained in that report and approved the recommendations submitted by the Committee. The text of the resolution is reproduced in annex III.

22. At the same session, the General Assembly, by resolution 1990 (XVIII) of 17 December 1963, decided to increase the number of Vice-Presidents of the Assembly from 13 to 17 and adopted consequential amendments to rules 31 and 38. In an annex to the resolution, the Assembly approved the pattern according to which the President of the Assembly, the 17 Vice-Presidents of the Assembly and the 7 Chairmen of the Main Committees should be elected.

23. At its twentieth session, the General Assembly, by resolution 2046 (XX) of 8 December 1965, following the entry into force of the amendments to Articles 23, 27 and 61 of the Charter, amended its rules of procedure as follows:

The pattern for the election of the non-permanent members of the Security Council is reproduced in a footnote to rule 142.

24. At its twenty-second session, the General Assembly, by resolution 2323 (XXII) of 16 December 1967, decided to amend rules 89 and 128 [See Rules 87 and 127 of the present rules of procedure] by adding to each of these rules a new paragraph (b) to take into account the installation of mechanical means of voting.

25. At the same session, the General Assembly, at the 1629th plenary meeting on 13 December 1967, took note of a correction to the French version of rule 15 [See Official Records of the General Assembly, Twenty-second Session. Annexes, agenda item 8, document A/BUR/169] whereby the words "caractère d'importance ou d'urgence" in the first sentence of that rule were replaced by the words "caractère d'importance et d'urgence".

26. At its twenty-third session, the General Assembly, by resolution 2390 (XXIII) of 25 November 1968, decided to increase the membership of the Committee on Contributions from 10 to 12 and adopted a consequential amendment to rule 159 [See Rule 158 of the present rules of procedure].

27. At the same session, the General Assembly, by resolution 2479 (XXIII) of 21 December 1968, decided to include Russian among its working languages and to amend accordingly rule 51.

28. At its twenty-fourth session, the General Assembly, by resolution 2553 (XXIV) of 12 December 1969, adopted amendments to rules 52, 53 and 55 [See paragraph 34 above] consequent upon the amendment to rule 51 adopted at the twenty-third session.

29. At its twenty-fifth session, the General Assembly, by resolution 2632 (XXV) of 9 November 1970, established the Special Committee on the Rationalization of the Procedures and Organization of the General Assembly, consisting of 31 Member States.

30. At its twenty-sixth session, the General Assembly considered the report of the Special Committee on the Rationalization of the Procedures and Organization of the General Assembly [See Official Records of the General Assembly, Twenty-sixth Session, Supplement No. 26 (A/8426)] and, by resolution 2837 (XXVI) of 17 December 1971, decided:

By resolution 2837 (XXVI), the General Assembly also approved the conclusions of the Special Committee and decided that they should be annexed to the rules of procedure; these conclusions are reproduced in annex IV. In one of the recommendations [See Resolution 2837 (XXVI), annex II, para. 128], the Secretary-General was requested to undertake a comparative study of the versions of the rules of procedure in the various official languages in order to ensure their concordance; this request was complied with and the relevant editing changes were incorporated in the rules.

31. At the same session, the General Assembly, by resolution 2798 (XXVI) of 13 December 1971, decided to increase the membership of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions from 12 to 13 and adopted a consequential amendment to rule 157 [See Rule 155 of the present rules of procedure].

32. At the same session, the General Assembly, by resolution 2847 (XXVI) of 20 December 1971, decided to amend Article 61 of the Charter to increase from 27 to 54 the number of members of the Economic and Social Council. By that resolution, the Assembly also decided that, upon the entry into force of the amendment to the Charter, the word "nine" in rule 147 [See Rule 145 of the present rules of procedure] would be replaced by the word "eighteen". The amendment to the Charter entered into force on 24 September 1973. The pattern for the election of the members of the Economic and Social Council, as set forth in resolution 2847 (XXVI), is reproduced in a footnote to rule 145.

33. At its twenty-seventh session, the General Assembly, by resolution 2913 (XXVII) of 9 November 1972, decided to increase the membership of the Committee on Contributions from 12 to 13 and adopted a consequential amendment to rule 160 [See Rule 158 of the present rules of procedure].

34. At its twenty-eighth session, the General Assembly, by resolutions 3189 (XXVIII) and 3190 (XXVIII) of 18 December 1973, decided:

By resolution 3191 (XXVIII) of 18 December 1973, the Assembly adopted consequential amendments to its rules of procedure, whereby rules 51 to 59 were replaced by new rules 51 to 57, and rules 60 to 165 were renumbered accordingly.

35. At its thirty-first session, the General Assembly, by resolution 31/95 of 14 December 1976, decided to increase the membership of the Committee on Contributions from 13 to 18 and, by resolution 31/96 of the same date, adopted a consequential amendment to rule 158.

36. At its thirty-second session, the General Assembly, by resolution 32/103 of 14 December 1977, decided to increase the membership of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions from 13 to 16 and adopted a consequential amendment to rule 155. By the same resolution, the Assembly also decided:

37. At its thirty-third session, the General Assembly, by resolution 33/12 of 3 November 1978, adopted an amendment to rule 159 whereby the members of the Committee on Contributions would serve for a period of three years corresponding to "three calendar years" rather than "three financial years, as defined in the Financial Regulations of the United Nations".

38. At the same session, the General Assembly, by resolution 33/138 of 19 December 1978, decided to increase the number of Vice-Presidents of the Assembly from 17 to 21 and adopted consequential amendments to rules 30 and 38. In an annex to the resolution, which replaced the annex to resolution 1990 (XVIII) [See paragraph 22 above], the Assembly approved the pattern according to which the President of the Assembly, the 21 Vice-Presidents of the Assembly and the 7 Chairmen of the Main Committees should be elected; the text of that annex is reproduced in a footnote to rule 30.

39. At its thirty-fourth session, the General Assembly, by decision 34/401 of 21 September, 25 October, 29 November and 12 December 1979, adopted a number of provisions concerning the rationalization of the procedures and organization of the Assembly. Sections I to V of the decision are reproduced in annex V.

40. At its thirty-fifth session, the General Assembly, by resolutions 35/219 A and B of 17 December 1980, decided to include Arabic among the official and working languages of the subsidiary organs of the Assembly, no later than 1 January 1982, and adopted consequential amendments to rules 51, 52, 54 and 56.

41. At its thirty-ninth session, the General Assembly, by resolution 39/88 B of 13 December 1984, approved the conclusions of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization concerning the rationalization of the procedures of the Assembly and decided that they should be annexed to the rules of procedure; these conclusions are reproduced in annex VI.

42. As a result of the accession of Namibia (formerly the Territory of South West Africa) to independence on 21 March 1990, annex III to the rules of procedure (A/520/Rev.15), entitled "Procedure for the examination of reports and petitions relating to the Territory of South West Africa", is no longer applicable and has been removed. Subsequent annexes have been renumbered accordingly.

43. At its forty-fifth session, the General Assembly, by its resolution 45/45 of 28 November 1990, approved the conclusions of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization concerning the rationalization of existing United Nations procedures, and decided that they should be reproduced as an annex to its rules of procedure. These conclusions are reproduced in annex VII.

44. At its forty-seventh session, the General Assembly, by its resolution 47/233 of 17 August 1993, decided to rationalize the structure of the Main Committees of the Assembly and to amend accordingly rules 31 [See Rule 30 of the present rules of procedure], 38 and 98 of its rules of procedure.

45. At its forty-eighth session, the General Assembly, by its resolution 48/264 of 29 July 1994, adopted the Guidelines on the Rationalization of the Agenda of the General Assembly, set forth in annex I to the resolution, and decided that they should be annexed to its rules of procedure. The Guidelines are reproduced in annex VIII. By the same resolution, the Assembly approved the pattern of election of the six Chairmen of the Main Committees, set forth in annex II to the resolution. The text of that annex, which replaced paragraph 4 of the annex to resolution 33/138 of 19 December 1978, is reproduced in a footnote to rule 30.

46. At its fifty-second session, the General Assembly, by its resolution 52/163 of 15 December 1997, decided to amend the first sentence of rule 103 of the rules of procedure to increase the number of Vice-Chairmen of each Main Committee from two to three, as from the fifty-third session.

47. At its fifty-fifth session, the General Assembly, by its resolution 55/14 of 3 November 2000, amended rule 1 of the rules of procedure whereby the Assembly would meet every year in regular session commencing "on the Tuesday following the second Monday in September".

48. At its fifty-sixth session, the General Assembly, by its resolution 56/509 of 8 July 2002, decided:

49. At its fifty-seventh session, the General Assembly, by its resolution 57/301 of 13 March 2003, amended rule 1 of the rules of procedure whereby the Assembly would meet every year in regular session commencing on the Tuesday of the third week in September, counting from the first week that contains at least one working day.

50. At the same session, the General Assembly, by its resolution 57/301 of 13 March 2003, decided to change the opening date and length of the general debate and also decided to annex paragraph 2 of the resolution to the rules of procedure. The paragraph is reproduced in annex IX.

51. The present revised edition of the rules of procedure embodies all the amendments adopted by the General Assembly during the period up to and including its sixty-first session and incorporates the technical corrections in document A/520/Rev.16/Corr.1.

52. The previous versions of the rules of procedure and of the amendments and corrigenda thereto have been issued under the following symbols: