General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Affairs Division
The General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Affairs Division is the conference management “brain trust” of the United Nations Secretariat, holding the institutional memory on the rules of procedure and best practices of the intergovernmental bodies that it supports. The Division services the General Assembly, its General, First, Second, Third and Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committees and various subsidiary organs and processes of the Assembly; the Economic and Social Council, including its subsidiary bodies and the high-level political forum on sustainable development; as well as special United Nations conferences and their preparatory processes.
The Division consists of three branches – General Assembly Affairs, Economic and Social Council Affairs, and Disarmament and Peace Affairs.
Staff members of the Division, in fulfilling the function of Committee Secretary, ensure that the presiding officer has a clear understanding of the powers and duties, and rights and responsibilities of the office and assist in the most effective exercise of them. As presiding officers often rotate, the institutional memory provided by the Division is an invaluable asset.
A team of staff members (the conference management secretariat) assists the Committee Secretary with specific responsibilities for all stages of work of the intergovernmental body, including:
- Compiling the agenda of the session and planning and adjusting the work programme
- Preparing the procedural notes for the presiding officer and the list of speakers for the agenda items
- Liaising with Member States and other categories of meeting participants, as well as with other Secretariat departments and offices, and United Nations agencies, funds and programmes
- Ensuring strict adherence to the rules of procedure of the body concerned and advising on established practice and precedent
- Arranging meetings of the bureau of the body and advising it on matters that affect both the overall organization and the daily operation of the session
- Carrying out advance planning and monitoring of documentation and meeting room requirements
- Ensuring that draft resolutions and decisions are submitted and issued in compliance with the rules and regulations
- Ensuring the smooth and procedurally correct conduct of votes, including secret ballots when elections are held
- Preparing the final report(s) of the body