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UN Documentation: General Assembly

Reports of Principal Organs to the General Assembly

The principal organs report to the General Assembly every year on their work during the past year, as mandated by Article 15 of the UN Charter.

The annual reports of the Secretary-General, Security Council, Economic and Social Council and International Court of Justice offer excellent starting points for research.

These reports are supplements to the General Assembly Official Records (GAOR) for each session.

  • Supplement 1: Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization
    • symbol pattern: A/session/1
    • example: A/71/1
    • summarizes major activities of the UN around the world
    • cites to other reports with more in-depth information
  • Supplement 2:  Report of the Security Council
    • symbol pattern: A/session/2
    • example: A/70/2
    • gives an overview of all Security Council actions
      • on procedural matters
      • on regional-, country-, or subject-specific topics
    • cites key resolutions related to peacekeeping
  • Supplement 3: Report of the Economic and Social Council
    • symbol pattern: A/session/3
    • example: A/71/3
    • includes recommendations to the General Assembly, usually draft resolutions for General Assembly consideration
    • summarizes high-level and thematic segments of substantive session, as well as organization sessions
    • lists actions on drafts before the Council, including vote, but not the full text of resolutions
  • Supplement 4: Report of the International Court of Justice
    • symbol pattern: A/session/4
    • example: A/70/4
    • Summarizes Court activities for the year
    • Includes information about
      • Contentious cases
      • Advisory proceedings
      • Administrative activities
  • The Trusteeship Council is no longer active
    • The last report of the Trusteeship Council included as a supplement to the GAOR was in the 30th session, covering 1974-1975.
    • full list of symbols in UN-I-QUE

Prior to the 31st session, documents were sequentially numbered. The supplements to the Official Records were renumbered for each session. 

  • For example, document A/9601, the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the organization, was Supplement 1 to the Official Records of the 29th session. 

Reports of Subsidiary Bodies

There are many subsidiary bodies of the General Assembly that work on particular topics.

Chart of the UN showing subsidiary bodies

Some of these subsidiaries work closely with the Main Committees:

  • Advisory Committee on administrative and budgetary questions (ACABQ) works with the Fifth Committee
  • International Law Commission (ILC) works with the Sixth Committee
  • Committee on Information (COI) works with the Fourth Committee

Reports of subsidiary bodies of the General Assembly are issued as supplements to the General Assembly Official Records (GAOR). They have a regular symbol pattern that corresponds to the supplement number for the body.

Each report includes:

  • dates of session(s) covered by the report
  • how many meetings were held
  • list of Member States that participated
  • summary of topics discussed
  • any resolutions or decisions adopted by the body

The report of a subsidiary may forward draft resolutions or decisions recommended for adoption by the General Assembly.

Prior to the 31st session, documents were sequentially numbered. However, the supplements to the Official Records were renumbered for each session. For example, document A/10011, the report of the Committee on Contributions, was Supplement 11 to the Official Records of the 30th session. 

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