Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
Over the past years, there has been a sustained effort to make the work of the General Assembly more focused and relevant. At the fifty-eighth session, this became a major priority and efforts continued at subsequent sessions of the General Assembly to streamline the agenda, improve the practices and working methods of the Main Committees, enhance the role of the General Committee, strengthen the role and authority of the President and examine the Assembly's role in the process to select the Secretary-General.
At its sixtieth session, the Assembly adopted a text, annexed to resolution 60/286 of 8 September 2006, which, among other things, encouraged the holding of informal interactive debates on current issues of critical importance to the international community. The text, which had been recommended by the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly, also invited the President of the General Assembly to propose themes for these interactive debates. During the sixty-first session, four informal thematic interactive debates were convened on: partnerships towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals; gender equality and the empowerment of women; civilizations and the challenge for peace; and climate change as a global challenge.
Elections for the President and Vice-Presidents of the General Assembly and Chairs of Main Committees
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.
The General Committee—composed of the President and 21 Vice-Presidents of the Assembly, as well as the Chairs of the six Main Committees—makes recommendations to the Assembly about adoption of the agenda, allocation of agenda items and organization of its work.
The role of the General Committee has been further strengthened over the past few sessions with the holding of informal meetings and briefings, open to all Member States, on specific issues under consideration by or pertaining to the work of the Assembly.
The Credentials Committee, appointed by the General Assembly at each session, reports to the Assembly on the credentials of representatives.