Backgrounder

The General Assembly of the United Nations opens its sixty-second session on 18 September at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The annual general debate, which traditionally features statements by dozens of Heads of State and Government as well as Ministers, will begin on Tuesday, 25 September 2007.

Several major events will be featured during the sixty-second session, which runs through mid-September 2008. On 24 September there will be a high-level event, organized by the ­Secretary-General, entitled: "The Future in Our Hands: Addressing the Leadership's Challenge of Climate Change"; and following the general debate, on 4 and 5 October, the General Assembly will convene a High-level Dialogue on Interreligious and Intercultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace. In addition, a High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development will be held on 22 and 23 October, and a commemorative high-level plenary meeting devoted to the follow-up to the outcome of the twenty-seventh special session on children will be convened on 11 and 12 December. Among other key issues, the Assembly will also address the following:

  • Climate change;
  • Financing for development;
  • Implementation of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy;
  • Management reform;
  • Follow-up on measures to achieve the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals.

The Assembly will also continue to consider issues relating to Security Council reform, system-wide coherence, revitalization of the General Assembly, sustainable development and HIV/AIDS.

Forum for multilateral negotiation

Established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly occupies a central position as the chief deliberative, policy­making and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprising all 192 Members of the United Nations, it provides a forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter. It also plays a significant role in the process of standard-­setting and the codification of international law. The Assembly meets in regular session intensively from September to December each year, and thereafter as required.

Carrying on the work of the Assembly

  • The work of the United Nations derives largely from the decisions of the General Assembly and is carried out:
  • By committees and other bodies established by the Assembly to study and report on specific issues, such as disarmament, outer space, peacekeeping, economic development, the environment and human rights;
  • By the Secretariat of the United Nations—the Secretary-General and his staff of international civil servants.

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