United Nations General Assembly
In this article, we shall discuss the United Nations General Assembly. We shall examine its makeup, its functions, and the powers of states in the United Nations General Assembly. We will also discuss the relationship between the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council.
The General Assembly is critical component to the United Nations. There are currently 193 members in the United Nations, all of them having a seat in the UN General Assembly. The United Nations General Assembly is the organ of the United Nations were states can discuss and debate policies in relation to international issues, and is focused on a number of issue that include but are not limited to security, human rights, development, the environment, etc… (CFR, 2014). The United Nations General Assembly was an original part of the United Nations. It held its first meeting in 1946 in Westminster, London, England, with 51 countries, and held its first meeting in New York City on October 14th, 1952 (UN, 2011).
The United Nations General Assembly Mandate
The United Nations General Assembly also has a mandate from the United Nations Charter. In its mandate, it “may consider any issue within the scope of the Charter but may not take decisions on international situations or disputes that the Security Council is considering…[it]may discuss the powers or functions of any UN organ established by the Charter and of any of the subsidiary bodies of the GA…[it] receives and discusses reports issued by the other principal organs established under the Charter as well as reports issued by its own subsidiary bodies…[The General Assembly] approves the budget of the UN and decides on the scales of assessment, i.e., each Member State’s share of the budget elects and appoints its own officers, the members of the other principal organs, the members of some of its subsidiary bodies and — based on the recommendation of the Security Council —the Secretary-General (see section 3.7) (United Nations, 2011: 13).
In order to have something approved, states will need to vote in the affirmation on an issue. Now, the number of votes in the affirmative actually depends on the issue begin voted on in the United Nations General Assembly. So for example, “Recommendations on peace and security, the election of members to organs, the admission, suspension, and expulsion of members, and budgetary matters require a two-thirds majority of those present and voting to pass. Resolutions on other matters only require a simple majority. Aside from budgetary matters, resolutions are non-binding on member states” (UN Foundation, 2012). Along with the different UN General Assembly Committees, there are also different councils under the UNGA. For example, there is a Human Rights Council, as well as a Committee on Rights of the Child (among other committees). There are also various working groups on different issues (UN Foundation, 2012).
The Operations of the United Nations General Assembly
The United Nations General Assembly begins during the third week of September, with the initial General Debate lasting one week. This begins the year long UNGA session (UN, 2011). As the United Nations (2011) explains,
Since its 44th session (1989–90), the GA has been formally regarded as being “in session” for the entire year. There are two distinct parts of a session. The time from mid-September to the Christmas break in December is called the “main part of the GA” and is the most intense period of work. It includes the general debate and the bulk of the work of the Main Committees. The period from January to September is called the “resumed part of the GA.” Most thematic debates, PGA-led consultation processes, and working group meetings take place during that period. The PGA Handbook refers to the regular annual session simply as “the GA session”” (UN, 2011: 14). The General Assembly can also hold special sessions throughout the year (which are usually concentrated on one specific topic), but the session can only come about if the United Nations Security Council votes for one, or if the majority of states in the UNGA vote for a special session (UN, 2011). There are also emergency special sessions in cases of some grave threat to international security or threats against the peace and stability of the world (UN, 2011).
In terms of the United Nations General Assembly schedule, again, session begins during the third week of September. It is during this week that the agenda is set for the year. Then, following this week, there begins general debate on various global affairs. Here, the General Assembly President usually chooses a specific issue/topic as it relates to international relations (UN, 2011), although state leaders usually speak on any issue that they believe is worth discussing during their remarks to the General Assembly.
During General Assembly meetings, states will discuss a number of issues that were introduced by other states, which were organized by the Secretary General (UN, 2011). Thus, for example, in the United Nations General Assembly, states can debate a proposal or resolution, and then vote on said resolution (There are over 300 resolutions passed a year (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2014)). The United Nations General Assembly, often through these resolutions, can also recommend actions to be taken (UN, 2011). However, United Nations General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, and thus, some have criticized just how much power such resolutions, and in turn, the United Nations General Assembly has.
Along with these actions, the United Nations General Assembly also chooses which non-permanent veto member states will be a part of the United Nations Security Council (CFR, 2014), which would need a two-thirds majority for a state to be selected by the General Assembly (UN, 2011) (are are often based on regions (5 from Africa and Asia, two from Western Europe, one from Eastern Europe, and two from the Caribbean and Latin American countries) (it should be noted that “According to the U.N. Charter, the G.A. is instructed to pay “due regard… to the contribution of Members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization” (Article 23(1)). In practice, this has meant that regional powers like Japan and Brazil tend to serve more frequently than less influential states such as Laos or Paraguay” (Kuziemko & Werker, 2006: 5).
Moreover, they select states for other UN organizations such as the Human Rights Council (CFR, 2014), appoints the Secretary-General (although the UNSC can use its veto if they dislike the choice) (UN, 2011), as well as selecting “the members of ECOSOC and, jointly with the Security Council, the members of the International Court of Justice” (UN, 2011: 69). Moreover, “[i]t considers reports from the other four organs of the United Nations, assesses the financial situations of member states, and approves the UN budget—its most concrete role. The Assembly also works with the Security Council to elect the judges of the International Court of Justice” (CFR, 2014). In fact, Goldstein & Pevehouse (2011) argue that “[t]he General Assembly’s main power lies in its control of finances for UN programs and operations, including peacekeeping” (252).
There are six committees within the United Nations General Assembly. These committees are: the Disarmament and International Security committee, the Economic and Financial committee; the Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian committee, the Special Political and Decolonization committee, the Administrative and Budgetary Committee, as well as the Legal committee (UN Foundation, 2012).
What Enforcement and Punishment Capabilities does the United Nations General Assembly Have?
Compared to the United Nations Security Council, which has the ability to use economic and military actions against a state who is believed to be violating principles of the United Nations Charter, the United Nations General Assembly has relatively fewer enforcement capabilities if a state were to violate a principle of the United Nations. There have been a few instances of the General Assembly censuring states, however. For example, they did this to South Africa’s apartheid regime, as well as Serbia (from the former Yugoslavia). However, Serbia was given a seat, but under Yugoslavia (CFR, 2014). In addition, other states such as Israel have also been attempted to be punished through the UN General Assembly. For example, “Israel was barred for many years from serving on UN commissions and panels because the slots were allotted according to geographical membership in one of the UN’s five regional groups… Israel was not a member of any of them because the Arab states blocked its membership to the Asia group, in which it would normally belong. This changed in 2000 when it was permitted to become a temporary member of the Western European and Others regional group, helped by the efforts of the United States and a number of European countries” (CFR, 2014). Two other recent case where the United Nations General Assembly has tried to limit state behavior in the General Assembly were in 2012 with regards to Bashar al-Assad’s crimes against his citizens in Syria, and in March 2014, where the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution speaking out against Russia’s claim to Crimea (CFR, 2014).
United Nations Voting Blocs
International relations scholars have attempted empirically analyze the sorts of voting blocs that have developed within the United Nations General Assembly. For example, MM Ball (1951) published work in 1951 on whether bloc voting existed in the General Assembly. In this piece, she argues that “The spectra of bloc voting has haunted the United Nations since the Charter was first debated at San Francisco. Since then, the influence of certain groups of states in affecting the outcome of elections has occasioned considerable comment, and it has been suggested that the same groups have been inordinately powerful in deciding substantive issues” (3). In fact, there have also been several studies on questions related to voting blocks within the United Nations General Assembly. One of the earlier studies is the work by Alker (1964), who looked at voting blocs and was able to see a pattern of “East-West and North-South” states (in Kim & Russett, 1996). From there came a number of other studies on these voting blocs, along with other voting alignment questions within the United Nations General Assembly. These questions thus have centered on whether there groups are voting in blocs, whether it is on certain issues, and whether there are additional relationships of voting with an ally, and the political and economic effects (benefits and penalties) of doing so.
For example, in a 1980 paper, Kul B. Rai (1980), in looking at foreign aid and voting in the UNGA (with particular attention to the United States and the Soviet Union), finds “that the American aid is more effective as an inducement and the Soviet aid is more effective as a reward or a punishment. The former has a closer association with the General Assembly votes from 1967-73 than in later years. Economic aid is increasingly used by the United States more to serve its security interests in the Middle East than for any other purpose, and it is possible that not so much of a return for the American aid is expected in the UN as was the case earlier” (269). A later study by Dreher, Nunnenkamp, & Thiele (2008) also look at US aid and how states vote in the United Nations General Assembly, and argue that their “results provide strong evidence that US aid has indeed bought voting compliance. More specifically, the results suggest that general budget support and grants are the major aid categories with which recipients have been induced to vote in line with the United States. When replicating the results for the other G7 countries, however, we did not find a similar pattern” (157).
In a 1990 paper entitled Forty Years of United Nations General Assembly Voting,” Steven Holloway found that there were a few large voting blocks with regards to the UNGA. He found that the most aligned bloc was related to states in the Warsaw Pact, “close to which was located a small grouping of radical Third World states including Cuba, Afghanistan, Vietnam and Syria” (296). The second most cohesive group was the Non-Aligned Movement group, in relation to the Group of 77. He saw the third block, the Western states, as being further from the other two blocks, and having their vote positions more varied from one another (296).
For example, there are a group of states who are called the “Group of 77 (G-77)”. This “Group of 77 (G-77) was established on 15 June 1964 by seventy-seven developing countries signatories of the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Developing Countries” issued at the end of the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. Beginning with the first “Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 in Algiers (Algeria) on 10 – 25 October 1967, which adopted the Charter of Algiers”, a permanent institutional structure gradually developed which led to the creation of Chapters of the Group of 77 with Liaison offices in Geneva (UNCTAD), Nairobi (UNEP), Paris (UNESCO), Rome (FAO/IFAD), Vienna (UNIDO), and the Group of 24 (G-24) in Washington, D.C. (IMF and World Bank). Although the members of the G-77 have increased to 134 countries, the original name was retained due to its historic significance” (G77, 2014). It is primarily seen as the key voting bloc for the Global South. The group itself explains that the G77 is an avenue in “which [it] provides the means for the countries of the South to articulate and promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues within the United Nations system, and promote South-South cooperation for development” (G77, 2014). This Group of 77 is more than merely informal agreements before votes. Rather, they have a Chairperson, and the position alternates based on regions (Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia-Pacific (G77, 2014)). I addition, there is also a yearly meeting of the various Foreign Affairs ministers of the countries within the G77 (G77, 2014).
For example, one stream of literature within the UNGA voting bloc umbrella has been whether European Union states vote similarly within the United Nations General Assembly. For example, Helen Young and Nicholas Rees (2005) find that there was increased cohesion on most issues within the EU and the United Nations from the period of 1990-2002. And in another study on the European Union as a voting bloc in the United Nations General Assembly, Hosli, van Kampen, Meijerink, & Tennis (2010), examine United Nations General Assembly voting patterns of states in the Europan Commission and the European Union from 1952-2005 on a host of issues (such as human rights, the Middle East, etc…). They find “that, in spite of successive rounds of EU enlargement – and the resulting increase in political opinions – EC (and EU) cohesion levels were higher than those measured for the full UNGA membership, with EC cohesion levels notably strengthening from the mid-1980s onwards, when European political cooperation became increasingly effective” (3). Thus, cohesion is prevalent, but only in the past few decades. Moreover, cohesion depended on the issue, with more cohesion on issues related to the Middle East, compared to other issues. In addition, they also found that on “high politics” issues, voting actually was more aligned within the different members of the EC/EU than if the issue was a “low politics” issue (26), and that EU states have more cohesion in their positions on issues in the United Nations General Assembly compared to the General Assembly at large (Holsi, van Kampen, Meijerink, & Tennis, 2010: 26). Lastly, they also find that “EU cohesion levels on contested votes in the UNGA are higher than cohesion levels for the remaining UNGA membership” (27).
However, more recent studies looking at EU voting cohesion at the United Nations General Assembly from 2007-2011 have found a reduction in voting cohesion, and that there is a belief that is could possibly be due to the financial crisis. Speaking on this issue, Perrson (2012) explains that “[t]he hypothesis about the financial crisis was the one closest to the empirical findings since it predicted that the EU cohesion would decrease in the analyzed period. However, the hypothesis failed to predict when the decrease would be the greatest and therefore it cannot be said to have been supported by the empirical findings. On the other hand, if it is assumed that the euro crisis that emerged in 2009 had more disruptive effects than the initial phase of the financial crisis, then there seems to be a correlation with the decreased voting cohesion” (69). Persson (2012) goes on to say that “[t]his last assumption is, however, of a speculative nature and must be studied further” (69). And Burmester & Jankowski (2013), also looking at EU voting, find that “…although one could expect that the EU has one of the highest levels of voting cohesion, the opposite is the case. I.e., the voting cohesion of other regional organizations like ASEAN, AU, AL, CARICOM and Mercosur is significantly higher. However, the EU’s major strength is not that it votes cohesively in every single vote, but that it holds its level of voting cohesion even when there is overall major disagreement within the UNGA.”
(For other works on issues of voting in the United Nations General Assembly, see Hug, 2012).
How does one become a member of the United Nations General Assembly?
In order for a state to be recognized in the United Nations, they must go through a particular process that begins by applying to the United Nations, through the Secretary General of the General Assembly. Then, this application becomes known to other members of the United Nations, and then gets directly discussed by the United Nations Security Council. In order for a applicant to be accepted into the United Nations, the UN Security Council must vote to accept the state. There must be a majority of 9 affirmative votes in the UNSC. In addition to a 9+ vote, there can be no veto power member voting against that state’s application. If one of the veto power states votes “no”, even if 14 of the other states vote in the affirmative, then that applicant will not be a member of the United Nations. However, if it does pass in the United Nations Security Council, then it goes to the General Assembly, where 2/3rds of the members must vote in the affirmative (UN, 2011).
However, one can still be a part of the United Nations in other capacities, even if it is not supported to become a full member of the United Nations General Assembly. For example, a state can apply for observer status. Observer status is an element of the United Nations that has developed as the international organization has evolved. There are four types of observers:
“• non-Member States with a Permanent Observer Mission at UN Headquarters in New York…
• entities, with a Permanent Observer Mission at the UN in New York…
• intergovernmental organizations. There are approximately 70 intergovernmental organizations with observer status, about 20 of which maintain permanent offices in NY.
• other entities with permanent offices at the UN. There are currently five such entities including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)” (UN, 2011: 30).
The two primary states that have observer status are the Holy See and Palestine. These states are able to do what every other state does in the General Assembly, except that they are not able to vote on issues, and cannot table resolutions. They are however able to co-sponsor resolutions in the General Assembly (UN, 2011: 30). Now, if an entity is not a full observer, then they are only allowed to participate in open meeting, as opposed to closed meetings. In addition, they are not able to cosponsor resolutions (UN, 2011).
In addition, other non-state members can also have a role in the United Nations General Assembly. For example, non-governmental organizations can be present in formal and non-formal meetings, and can speak, but only on committees for the formal meetings, and while theoretically possible at the non formal meetings, it is usually state representatives that speak, other than if invited (UN, 2011).
Criticisms of the United Nations General Assembly
According to many scholars and policymakers, there are questions about the effectiveness of the UNGA. One of the over aching criticisms of the international organization is that the United Nations General Assembly is not functioning at an optimal point, and thus, changes should occur. Organizations such as the Center for UN Reform (2014) have a number of articles on how the United Nations can be reformed, and in the case of the GA, “revitalizing” the United Nations General Assembly.
For example, on October 1st, 2014, Chris Doyle wrote an opinion article entitled Does the U.N. General Assembly Actually Achieve Anything?, which was published in Al Arabiya. In the opinion piece he argued that the GA meeting is a place for leaders to speak against one another, often using the podium for messages that are sure to receive local support, or to make a political statement. Or, as he mentioned, leaders make statements about human rights and international law, when in reality many are quite hypocritical with regards to their own actions (Doyle, 2014). However, despite these issues, and the criticisms of the need to reform the United Nations during this year’s General Assembly speeches, he argues that the General Assembly does allow for the ability for states to work on issues through diplomacy. However, he doesn’t emphasize the public meetings between leaders, but rather the private meetings, saying that “All the private bilateral sessions hopefully make it worthwhile as the behind the scenes talks are where the serious business gets done.” Yet having said this, he ends his piece by pointing out a negative with regards to the United Nations General Assembly, saying that “The worst thing the U.N. General Assembly does is occasionally grant leaders a global platform and mass media attention, the irresistible temptation of a television camera. Brilliant statesmen might use the occasion to shape world politics for a better horizon but I struggle to name one. Instead it is a festival of hypocrisy, blame games and self-justification that shines darkness on the world’s problems and betrays the very charter of the body that hosts them.”
Others have also expressed other concerns with regards to the United Nations General Assembly. For example, “[i]n 2005, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented a report that criticized the assembly for focusing excessively on consensus and passing resolutions that reflected “the lowest common denominator” of opinions” (CFR, 2014). Some others, such as Michael Doyle, have also argued that the United Nations General Assembly does not have a clear objective in terms of what it exactly should do, particularly with regards to more efficiently deliberating and debating international relations topics. And he has suggested that the General Assembly invite experts into their sessions to testify on the various issues discussed (CFR, 2014). And the UNGA has recognized the need for a more clarified approach to its work (UN, 2005, in CFR, 2014). And other states such as the Holy See recently iterated the point that the UN become “revitalized” in a way that places human lives ahead of state interests (Vatican Radio, 2014). Cardinal Pedro Parolin, speaking at the General Assembly, was quoted as saying that “the international community has been characterized by contradictory voices and even by silence with regards to the conflicts in Syria, the Middle East and Ukraine. It is paramount that there be a unity of action for the common good, avoiding the cross-fire of vetoes” (Vatican Radio, 2014). He also referenced the “Responsibility to Protect” and the importance of the United Nations to follow this doctrine (Vatican Radio, 2014).
Moreover, there have also been concerns about how the United Nations General Assembly decides on the international organizations’ budget for the year. For example, some countries who contribute greater amounts of money to the UN budget have called for more openness in the budgetary process. Furthermore, they have also spoken out about what they feel is the need for better use of the resources (Troszczynska-Van Genderen, 2015). A specific criticism of some EU voices has been that while the United Nations’ primary emphasis is on matters of international peace, “UN Member States’ level of engagement in peace support operations has been rather uneven: the nations of the ‘global south’ have provided most peacekeeping operations’ personnel, while the ‘global north’ countries have reduced their personnel contributions, while continuing to provide generous financial support. Furthermore, there have been additional arguments that “The UN has experienced some gaps in core military and civilian capabilities (both in terms of properly trained staff and high-quality equipment) known as the ‘strategic enablers’ – those elements necessary for conducting missions, including crucial transport and communication capabilities” (Troszczynska-Van Genderen, 2015: 6).
United Nations General Assembly Reform
Because of the various criticism levied at the UNGA, there have been calls for reforming the United Nations General Assembly. Some of the reforms are mentioned above, which include better use of existing resources, more efficiency and effectiveness in dealing with human rights issues, as well as better approaches to United Nations Peacekeeping (Troszczynska-Van Genderen, 2015). Additional calls for United Nations General Assembly Reform have as much to do with the power of the United Nations Security Council; there is a genuine concern that the UNSC has much more power and authority than the UNGA. For these reasons, some of the UNGA reforms include an overall push for more power in the United Nations General Assembly. There is a belief not only that the UNGA can actually do little compared to the power of the UNSC (which again, includes binding resolutions, the ability to vote members in the UN, as well as the ability to send peacekeepers, to issues sanctions, or to carry out interventions), but also that the UNSC has overreached its bounds on issues that might be much more aligned with matters the UNGA deals with (Center for UN Reform, 2014).
In addition, if we recall, the United Nations Security Council has the power to select the UN Secretary General. This has been a point of issue for many UN states (who are not veto members, or regular members on the UNSC). For this reason, another reform has called for granting the United Nations General Assembly additional power on this issue, which would include the possibility of the UN Security Council sending more than a single candidate’s name to the General Assembly. Other calls have included changing the time period of service (from the possibility of repeat five year appointments to a single appointment period of seven years) (Center for UN Reform, 2014).
One of the other reforms has been related to the Office of the President of the General Assembly (OPGA). As the Center for UN Reform (2014) notes, “One of the major issues considered…is funding for the OPGA and the provision of adequate staff. Historically, funding for the OPGA has been largely provided by the President’s country of origin, which can make it difficult for the nationals of less wealthy countries to seek the post. This has in part been addressed by the establishment of a Trust Fund for the Office, but contributions to the fund have been minimal.”
United Nations General Assembly References
Alker, H.R. Jr. (1964). Dimensions of conflict in the General Assembly. American Political Science Review. Vol. 58, pages 642-57.
Ball, M.M. (1951). Bloc Voting in the General Assembly. International Organization. Vol. 5, No. 1, pages 3-31.
Burmester, N. & Jankowski, M. (2013). The EU in the United Nations General Assembly: A Comparative Perspective. Paper Prepared for the 4th European Union in International Affairs Conference, May 22nd-May 24th, Brussels, Belgium, pages 1-26. Available Online: http://pure.au.dk/portal/files/81268927/Burmester_Jankowski_EUIA_2014.pdf
Center for UN Reform (2014). Available Online: http://www.centerforunreform.org
Center for UN Reform (2014). Revitalizing the General Assembly. Available Online: http://www.centerforunreform.org/?q=node/34
Council on Foreign Relations (2014). The Role of the UN General Assembly. Council on Foreign Relations. September 19, 2014. Available Online: http://www.cfr.org/international-organizations-and-alliances/role-un-general-assembly/p13490
Doyle, C. (2014). Does the U.N. General Assembly Achieve Anything? October 1st, 2014. Al Arabiya News. Available Online: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/world/2014/10/01/Does-the-United-Nations-General-Assembly-achieve-anything-.html
Dreher, A., Nunnenkamp, P., & Thiele, R. (2008). Does UN aid buy UN general assembly votes? A disaggregated analysis. Public Choice, Vol. 136, pages 139-164.
Encyclopedia Britannica (2014). United Nations General Assembly. Available Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/228351/United-Nations-General-Assembly
Foot, R. (1979). The European Community’s Voting Behaviour At The United Nations General Assembly. Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. XVII, No. 4, pages 350-360.
Goldstein, J.S. & Pevehouse, J.C. (2011). International Relations, 10/E. New York, New York. Pearson.
Group of 77 (2014). About the Group of 77. The Group of 77 at the United Nations. Available Online: http://www.g77.org/doc/
Holloway, S. (1990). Forty Years of United Nations General Assembly Voting. Canadian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 23, No. 2, pages 279-296.
Holsi,M., van Kampen, E., Meijerink, F., & Tennis, K. (2010). Voting Cohesion in the United Nations General Assembly: The Case of the European Union. “Paper to be presented at the ECPR Fifth Pan-European Conference. 24-26 June 2010, Porto”. Available Online: http://www.jhubc.it/ecpr-porto/virtualpaperroom/082.pdf
Hug, S. (2012). What’s in a Vote? “Paper prepared for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, New Orleans, August 30-September 2, 2012, pages 1-26. Available Online: http://www.unige.ch/ses/spo/static/simonhug/wiav/wiav.pdf
Kim, S.Y. & Russett, B. (1996). The New Politics of Voting Alignments in the United Nations General Assembly. International Organization, Vol. 50, No. 4, pages 629-652.
Kuziemko, I. & Werker, E. (2006). How Much Is a Seat on the Security Council Worth? Foreign Aid and Bribery at the United Nations. Working Paper, June 2006. Available Online: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/06-029.pdf
Persson, J.A. (2012). Cohesion or Cacophony? An Analysis of EU Voting Behavior in the United Nations General Assembly From the 62nd Until the 65th Session. CFE Working Paper Series No. 48, pages 1-87. Available Online: http://www.cfe.lu.se/upload/LUPDF/CentrumforEuropaforskning/CFEWP48.pdf
Rai, K.B. (1980). Foreign Aid and Voting in the UN General Assembly, 1967-1976. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 17, No. 3, pages 269-277.
Troszczynska-Van Genderen, W. (2015). Reforming the United Nations: State of Play, Ways Forward. European Parliament. Directorate-General for External Policies. Policy Department, pages 1-43. Available Online: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2015/536435/EXPO_STU(2015)536435_EN.pdf
United Nations (2005). Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly. United Nations General Assembly 61st Session: President. Available Online: http://www.un.org/ga/president/61/presskit/revitalization.shtml
United Nations (2011). The PGA Handbook: A Practical Guide to the United Nations General Assembly. Available Online: http://www.unitar.org/ny/sites/unitar.org.ny/files/UN_PGA_Handbook.pdf
United Nations Foundation (2012). General Assembly. Available Online: http://www.unfoundation.org/what-we-do/issues/united-nations/the-general-assembly.html
Vatican City (2014). Holy See: World Needs a Revitalized United Nations Capable of Action in Syria, Iraq. 10-01-2014. Available Online: http://www.news.va/en/news/holy-see-world-needs-a-revitalized-united-nations
Young, H. & Rees, N. (2005). EU Voting Behavior in the UN General Assembly, 1990-2002: The EU’s Europeanizing Tendencies. Irish Studies in International Affairs, Vol. 16, (2005), pages 193-207.