Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
Making its work more focused, efficient and relevant
Strengthening the work of the General Assembly can help ensure that this “chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations” (para. 149 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document) becomes a true, universal “parliament of nations”. Identified as a priority from the very outset of the Organization in 1946, (the outcomes of which are reflected, inter alia, in the annexes to the General Assembly’s Rules of Procedure) the General Assembly, at its 60th session and continuously since its 62nd session, has annually established an Ad Hoc Working Group on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (AHWG), in the context of which Member States consider the following broad thematic issues:
- Role and authority of the General Assembly
- Working methods
- Selection and appointment of the Secretary-General and other executive heads
- Strengthening the institutional memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly
Starting at its 62nd session, the AHWG elaborated an Inventory Chart reflecting the status of implementation of General Assembly revitalization resolutions (A/62/952/Add.1). This chart has subsequently been updated at the 63rd, 67th and 68th sessions (see documents A/63/959, A/67/936 and A/68/951 respectively) and continues to form a basis for the membership’s deliberations under this item.
Also based on the outcomes of the Assembly’s consideration of ways to revitalize its work, the Assembly encouraged the holding of informal interactive debates on current issues of critical importance to the international community and invited the President of the General Assembly to propose themes for these interactive debates.
During the 69th session, the President has announced a series of high-level events and thematic interactive debates on various aspects of the post-2015 development agenda in line with his theme "Delivering on and Implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda":
- High-level thematic debate on the means of implementation for the post-2015 development agenda (February 2015)
- High-level thematic debate on advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda (March 2015)
- High-Level Thematic debate on the peaceful settlement of disputes and strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations (April or May 2015)
- High-level event on combatting climate change (June 2015)
It has also become an established practice for the Secretary-General to brief Member States periodically, in informal meetings of the General Assembly, on his recent activities and travels. These briefings have provided a well-received opportunity for exchange between the Secretary-General and Member States.
As a result of the ongoing revitalization of its work, and pursuant to rule 30 of its rules of procedure, the General Assembly now elects its President, Vice Presidents and Chairs of the Main Committees at least three months in advance of the start of the new session in order to further strengthen coordination and preparation of work among the Main Committees and between the Committees and the Plenary. It has also come to adopt the proposed programme of work and timetable of five of its six Main Committees for the forthcoming session at the end of the main part of the session, thereby facilitating the planning and preparation of work for delegations, incoming chairs as well as the Secretariat.