Improving the efficiency of the General Assembly

The President wishes to draw attention to the following decisions already taken by the General Assembly to improve its work and that of its main Committees, as contained in resolutions 51/241 plus Annex of 22 August 1997 and resolution 48/264 plus Annex of 29 July 1994.


·Despite some successes in the rationalization and streamlining of its agenda, the General Assembly has not achieved a reduction of its overall workload. The total number of items on the agenda increased from 164 at the forty-ninth session to 179 at the beginning of the present session.

· The number of resolutions adopted by the General Assembly has increased, from 328 at the forty-ninth session to 341 at the fifty-fourth session.

· Work has already been undertaken by the Main Committees to review their respective agendas, and this should continue.

The General Assembly should take further steps to rationalize and streamline its agenda and in particular should make greater use of clustering, biennialization or triennialization of agenda items. (see the Annex to resolution 51/241)

There should be periodic reviews of the agenda in order to ascertain whether it is possible to delete any item on which no action has been taken for a period of time. (see the Annex to resolution 48/264)

The Main Committees are encouraged to continue with the review of their respective agendas, taking into account the following:

(a) Agenda items concerning issues of closely related substance could be merged within a single agenda title or be incorporated as sub-items where this is possible without loss of focus on the items/sub-items concerned;

(b) Items that cover related matters or issues could be considered in clusters;

(c) Biennialization and triennialization of items on the agenda of the Main Committees could be considered in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly;

(d) The existing broad division of work among the Main Committees should be maintained.


· Although the number of reports requested of the Secretary-General has decreased slightly, from 283 at the forty-ninth session to 272 at the fifty -fourth session five years later, work must continue to streamline the reports and rationalize their issuance.

The number of reports requested should be rationalized where possible to permit more focused consideration of issues, bearing in mind the desirability of reducing the number of reports. All bodies shall exercise restraint in making requests for new reports and should consider integrating, biennializing or triennializing the presentation of reports. (see resolutions 51/241 and 48/264 and their Annexes)

Reports should be made available in all official languages in a timely manner in accordance with the rules of procedure of the General Assembly so delegations can consider the substance of the reports more thoroughly in advance of meetings. (see resolution 48/264)


For the Secretariat to operate efficiently in fulfilling mandates, micromanagement of the Secretariat by the General Assembly should be avoided. (see Annex of resolution 51/241)

the full text of resolution 51/241

the full text of Annex of resolution 51/241

the full text of resolution 48/264 and its Annexes