Role of the General Assembly
The General Assembly plays a key role in the financing of peacekeeping. The sixty-seventh session opened on 18 September 2012.
UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the opening of the general debate.
The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprising all 193 Member States of the UN, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues. This includes international peace and security matters.
Sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly
The sixty-seventh session opened on 18 September 2012 with the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Vuk Jeremić, stating:
'I will urge the Assembly to strengthen the role of UN peacekeeping. I would like to engage with the membership on how we can more decisively support those who serve under the UN flag in conflict-ridden areas throughout the world.
'The presence of the United Nations on the ground is an indispensable instrument of peace. For many decades, it has greatly contributed to reducing hostilities between belligerents, while helping create an atmosphere more conducive to the settlement of disputes by peaceful means.'
General Debate 2012: Member States contributing to peace
The annual general debate where the world assembly hears statements by Heads of State and Ministers begins on 25 September. This year's theme for the general debate is "Bringing about adjustment or settlement of international disputes of situations by peaceful means."
During this year's general debate, we are highlighting the difference made to the lives of the people we are serving in countries all over the world through the contribution of Member States. Each of the images below tells an individual story, click to find out more. To reset the wall, click "show all".
You can also view our global map showing all military and police contributions to our peacekeeping operations by country.
While not normally directly involved in political decisions on establishing or terminating UN Peacekeeping operations, the General Assembly does play a key role in peacekeeping financing.
As all UN Member States share the costs of peacekeeping, the Assembly apportions these expenses based on a special scale of assessments, taking into account the relative economic wealth of Member States, with the permanent members of the Security Council required to pay a larger share because of their special responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
The General Assembly, through its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) approves and oversees the peacekeeping budget. This includes how specific field operations are funded and equipped, based on detailed submissions provided to it by the UN Secretary-General.
Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations
The General Assembly monitors the performance of UN Peacekeeping through its Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. It was established in 1965 to conduct a comprehensive review of all issues relating to peacekeeping. The Committee reports on its work to the General Assembly through its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization).
"Uniting for Peace" resolution
Despite the UN Charter's provision limiting the General Assembly's powers with regard to peace and security matters, there may be cases when the Assembly can take action.
In accordance with the General Assembly's "Uniting for Peace" resolution of November 1950 [resolution 377 (V)] , if the Security Council fails to act, owing to the negative vote of a permanent member, then the General Assembly may act. This would happen in the case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression. The General Assembly can consider the matter with a view to making recommendations to Members for collective measures to maintain or restore international peace and security.
This resolution was invoked only once in UN peacekeeping history, when in 1956 the General Assembly established the First UN Emergency Force (UNEF I) in the Middle East.
In June 2010, the General Assembly held a first-ever thematic debate on peacekeeping entitled "UN Peacekeeping: looking into the future". The debate was organized on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Brahimi Report.