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Posts Tagged ‘United Nations General Assembly’

First Meeting of the UN General Assembly: January 10, 1946

“The whole basis of the United Nations is the right of all nations–
great or small–to have weight, to have a vote, to be attended to…”

–US Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965)

Representatives of 26 Allied nations fighting against the Axis Powers meet
in Washington, D.C. to sign the Declaration by United Nations, January 1, 1942.
via Library of Congress [public domain]

 

On this date in 1946, the first General Assembly of the United Nations met at Central Hall Westminster in London. Delegations from 51 nations were present. The General Assembly adopted its first resolution on January 24 of that year, which called for the “control of atomic energy to ensure its use only for peaceful purposes” and “the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction. ” It is interesting that many of the issues considered in the first meeting are still relevant today. Among them were food security, refugees, peacekeeping and nuclear weapons. View a collection of photos from the first meeting of the UN General Assembly here.

The Charter of the United Nations outlines the functions of the General Assembly, which are to discuss, debate, and make recommendations on subjects pertaining to international peace and security, including development, disarmament, human rights, international law, and the peaceful arbitration of disputes between nations.

The General Assembly is the main decision-making and representative assembly in the UN and is responsible for upholding the principles of the UN through its policies and recommendations. It is the only one of the six bodies in the UN where all member states have equal representation: one nation, one vote. Led by a president elected from the member states, it meets from September to December each year, and in special sessions as needed. From its 51 original members, the UN has grown to include 193 member states in 2018, each with a vote in the General Assembly. Today’s United Nations is actively involved in a wide range of areas, which include peacekeeping, peacebuilding, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance.

Flags at United Nations by Naoki Nakashima from New York, USA
via Wikipedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

Notable Actions

Three of the General Assembly’s most notable actions are listed below:

1948: Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document contains thirty articles that outline the global standards for human rights, and includes the basic rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled.

1950: ‘Uniting for Peace’ Resolution. The United States initiated the landmark measure that states in the event that the Security Council cannot maintain international peace, a matter can be taken up by the General Assembly.

2000: Millennium Declaration. World leaders came together to commit to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty, by setting eight targets to be achieved by 2015. They have become known as the Millennium Development Goals.

Screen Cap from SIRS Issues Researcher United Nations Leading Issue

 

SIRS Issues Researcher provides student researchers insight into the United Nations through its Leading Issues feature. Each Leading Issue includes a topic overview, a timeline of key events, statistics, articles that present the global impact of the problem, and primary source documents that foster an understanding of the history, evolution and continuing impact of the United Nations. Related Leading Issues like Diplomacy, Ethnic Relations, Genocide, Globalization, Sovereignty, Universal Human Rights, U.S. Foreign Aid, and others are also covered in-depth.

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