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United Nations: An Introduction

This LibGuide was created for the purpose of providing users with a basic understanding of the United Nations, its structure, and to provide users with access to resources available online and at FIU’s Green Library.

The General Assembly

The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the UN and is composed of representatives of all Member States. The work of the United Nations year-round derives largely from the mandates given by the General Assembly.  The General Assembly is comprised of 192 Member States.  The General Assembly contains a number of subsidiary bodies, including committees, working groups, and other boards and councils that also produce a number of important documents.

Potential research topics can vary as the General Assembly discusses many different topics and issues.  The GA is an excellent resource for aid efforts regarding contemporary and popular issues, for example the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan.

The subsidiary organs of the General Assembly are divided into categories:

After discussing the items on the agenda, seeking where possible to harmonize the various approaches of States, the subsidiary organs present their recommendations, usually in the form of draft resolutions and decisions, to a plenary meeting of the Assembly for its consideration. (Information taken from About the General Assembly page of

The General Assembly documents are composed as follows:


General Assembly


Session number


Current number



As of the 31st session (1976), the General Assembly began to incorporate the session number into the symbols of its documents. Before that the documents were only given a current number from 1946 onwards, i.e. A/9601. (This chart was taken from the Dag Hammarskjold Library guide to UN documentation.)

Click here to access the General Assembly's documents.