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UN General Assembly Documentation

Main Committees

There are six Main Committees of the General Assembly.

Each committee deals with a particular topic and is allocated agenda items according to the topic. A report is issued to the plenary for each item allocated to a Main Committee.

All are committees of the whole: all UN member states participate in them.

They are all entitled to meeting record coverage.

From the 1st session (1946) through the 30th session (1975), General Assembly meetings and documents were consecutively numbered. At the 31st session, the symbols began to include the session number.

First Committee

 

The First Committee, one of the six Main Committees of the General Assembly, is allocated agenda items related to disarmament and international security.

The First Committee submits a separate report to the plenary on every agenda item allocated to it. Each report:

  • indicates the meetings at which the item was considered
  • summarizes the committee's consideration of the item
  • identifies the sponsors of draft resolutions
  • reports the vote, if any, of Member States on draft texts
  • transmits the final version of draft resolutions and/or decisions recommended to the plenary for adoption
  • symbol pattern

The plenary considers each report and votes on the draft resolutions or decisions it contains.

For example, the General Assembly adopted resolutions 69/68, 69/69, 69/70, 69/71, 69/72, 69/7369/74 and 69/75 based on the report of the First Committee (A/69/441).

Available translations:

Second Committee

The Second Committee, one of the six Main Committees of the General Assembly, is allocated agenda items related to economic and financial matters.

  • Document series symbol for working documents
  • Summary records
  • Press release series symbol

The Second Committee submits a separate report to the plenary on every agenda item allocated to it. Each report:

  • indicates the meetings at which the item was considered
  • summarizes the committee's consideration of the item
  • Identifies the sponsors of draft resolutions
  • reports the vote, if any, of Member States on draft texts
  • transmits the final version of draft resolutions and/or decisions recommended to the plenary for adoption
  • symbol pattern

The plenary considers each report and votes on the draft resolutions or decisions it contains.

For example, the General Assembly adopted resolutions 69/209, 69/210, 69/211, 69/212 and 69/213 based on the report of the Second Committee (A/69/468).

Available translations:

Third Committee

 

The Third Committee, one of the six Main Committees of the General Assembly, is allocated agenda items related to social, humanitarian and cultural matters, including human rights.

  • Document series symbol for working documents
  • Summary records
  • Press release series symbol

The Third Committee submits a separate report to the plenary on every agenda item allocated to it. Each report:

  • indicates the meetings at which the item was considered
  • summarizes the committee's consideration of the item
  • identifies the sponsors of draft resolutions
  • reports the vote, if any, of Member States on draft texts
  • transmits the final version of draft resolutions and/or decisions recommended to the plenary for adoption
  • symbol pattern

The plenary considers each report and votes on the draft resolutions or decisions it contains.

For example, the General Assembly adopted resolutions 69/163, 69/164 and 69/165 based on the report of the Third Committee (A/69/487).

Available translations:

Fourth Committee

The Fourth Committee, one of the six Main Committees of the General Assembly, is allocated agenda items related to special political and decolonization matters, including peacekeeping.

  • Document series symbol for working documents
  • Summary records
  • Press release series symbol

The Fourth Committee submits a separate report to the plenary on every agenda item allocated to it, including the item "comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations".

Each report:

  • indicates the meetings at which the item was considered
  • summarizes the committee's consideration of the item
  • identifies the sponsors of draft resolutions
  • reports the vote, if any, of Member States on draft texts
  • transmits the final version of draft resolutions and/or decisions recommended to the plenary for adoption
  • symbol pattern

The plenary considers each report and votes on the draft resolutions or decisions it contains.

For example, the General Assembly adopted resolution 70/92 based on the report of the Fourth Committee (A/70/499).

Historical note

Prior to the 48th session (1993), the Fourth Committee handled only decolonization questions. An additional Main Committee, the Special Political Committee (SPC), handled political questions.

  • symbol pattern: A/SPC/-
  • press release series symbol: GA/SPC/-

Until 1993, the SPC was listed in UN documents and publications after the First Committee. When the SPC and the Fourth Committee merged in accordance with General Assembly resolution 47/233, the Fourth Committee moved to the second spot. Today, in some publications such as the Journal, the order of the Committees is: First, Fourth, Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth.

Related Research Guides:

Available translations:

Fifth Committee

 

The Fifth Committee, one of the six Main Committees of the General Assembly, is allocated agenda items related to administrative and budgetary matters.

  • Chapter IV, Article 17 of the UN Charter concerns the budget and finances;
  • General Assembly resolution 45/248 B, Sect. VI, reaffirmed the Fifth Committee's role in administrative and budgetary matters;
  • The Fifth Committee meets in 3 sessions throughout the year:

    • from September - December, during the General Assembly main session
    • in March of the following year in resumed session
    • in May for its second resumed session:
      • while the Committee may consider urgent matters relating to the financing of a peacekeeping mission authorized by the Security Council at any of its sessions, the second resumed session deals exclusively with administrative and budgetary aspects of UN peacekeeping
    • reviews reports of Secretary-General, ACABQ, and other bodies regarding budget and finances and reports to the plenary
    • the Links and Resources section of the website has useful information about the budget process and peacekeeping financing
  • Document series symbol for working documents
  • Summary records
  • Press release series symbol 

The Fifth Committee submits a separate report to the plenary on every agenda item allocated to it. Each report:

  • indicates the meetings at which the item was considered
  • summarizes the committee's consideration of the item
  • identifies the sponsors of draft resolutions
  • reports the vote, if any, of Member States on draft texts
  • transmits the final version of draft resolutions and/or decisions recommended to the plenary for adoption
  • symbol pattern

The plenary considers each report and votes on the draft resolutions or decisions it contains.

For example, the General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/72/266 A based on the report of the Fifth Committee (A/72/682).

Available translations:

Sixth Committee

 

The Sixth Committee, one of the six Main Committees of the General Assembly, is allocated agenda items related to legal matters.

  • Document series symbol for working documents
  • Summary records
  • Press release series symbol 

The Sixth Committee submits a separate report to the plenary on every agenda item allocated to it. Each report:

  • indicates the meetings at which the item was considered
  • summarizes the committee's consideration of the item
  • identifies the sponsors of draft resolutions
  • reports the vote, if any, of Member States on draft texts
  • transmits the final version of draft resolutions and/or decisions recommended to the plenary for adoption
  • symbol pattern

The plenary considers each report and votes on the draft resolutions or decisions it contains.

For example, the General Assembly adopted resolution 69/123 based on the report of the Sixth Committee (A/69/502).

Available translations:

First Committee images

UN Photo UN7673880. The First Committee voting on a separate resolution, calling for the Soviet Union's participation in the Conference
UN Photo UN7750681. Choi Young-jin (second from left, first row), Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations and Chairman of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), speaking when the Committee met to begin its general debate on all disarmament and international security agenda items. 1985
UN Photo UN7715572. The UN General Assembly's First (Political and Security) Committee debates on the question of disarmament. The Hon. Howard C. Green (front row), Canada's Secretary of State for External Affairs, addressing the afternoon meeting.
UN Photo UN7716837. Before a meeting of the Assembly's First (Political and Security) Committee, a group of delegates from Middle Eastern countries having an informal discussion on the Cyprus question. They are (left to right): Dr. Karim Azkoul and Mr. Edward Rizk, both from Lebanon; General Mahmoud Riad, of Egypt; Mr. Ata Abdul Wahab, of Iraq; Mr. Omar Loutfi and Mr. Ismail Fahmy, both of Egypt; Mr. Ahmed Shukairi, of Syria; and Dr. Charles Malik, of Lebanon. December 1954.
UN Photo UN7771066. The First (Political and Security) Committee of the General Assembly.  Pictured are: (front row, left to right): Dr. L. Vitetti (Italy); Mr. Abba Eban (Israel); Mr. Frank Aiken (Ireland - Minister for External Affairs); Mr. H. Jawad (Iraq); and Dr. D. Abdoh (Iran). October 1958.
UN Photo UN7692614. Ambassador Danilo Lekic (right) of Yugoslavia is seen here addressing the First Committee. At the table with him is Ambassador Abdul Rahman Pazhwak of Afghanistan. November 1963.

Second Committee images

UN Photo UN7123162. Dian Triansyah Djani (shown on screens), Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the UN and Chair of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) of the General Assembly, chairs the Committee's first meeting during the seventy-first session of the Assembly. September 2016.
UN Photo UN7776626. Second Committee Meets to Elect Bureau and Consider Work for Fifty-Eighth Session of General Assembly. October 2003.
UN Photo UN7321037. George Wilfred Talbot (right), Permanent Representative of Guyana to the UN and Chair of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) for the General Assembly’s sixty-seventh session, addresses the Committee's meeting on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of UN system operational activities for development. At left is Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. October 2012.
UN Photo UN7687371. The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) began discussion of the item on operational activities for development, which includes the activities of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Victor Hoo, UN Commissioner for Technical Cooperation, is seen making a statement.  At the table, from left: Paul G. Hoffman, Administrator of UNDP; Michael Potrubatch, Director and Deputy to the USG for Economic and Social Affairs; Richard Maximilian Akwei (Ghana), Chairman of the Committee; Al Noor Kassum, Committee Secretary; Mr. Hoo; and Kjell K. Christiansen (Norway), Rapporteur. November 1968.
UN Photo UN7460360. Seen here from left to right, at a meeting of the Assembly’s 2nd (Economic and Financial) Committee, (front desk) Mr. Nicolo Di Bernardo of Italy; Mr. Zeev Argaman, of Israel; Mr. E.L. Kennedy, of Ireland; and Mr. Abbas Ghloi Ardalan, of Iran. (rear desk) Mr. Archibald M. Benn, of Australia; Mr. Raul Migone, of Argentina; Mr. Nesti Nase, of Albania; and Mr. Janvid Flere, of Yugoslavia. November 1956.

Third Committee images

UN Photo UN7770153. The Bureau of the Third Committee, as seen at today's meeting, consists of, from left, Chairman Ivan Garvalov (Bulgaria), Secretary Pilar Santander Downing, and Rapporteur Olajumoke Oladayo Obafemi (Nigeria). October 1980.
UN Photo UN7776543. A general view of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) meeting to elect Vice-Chairmen and a Rapporteur, and to consider its proposed organization of work. September 2003.
UN Photo UN7320299. Wide view of the conference room as the General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) holds its first meeting of the Assembly’s sixty-seventh session. October 2012.
UN Photo UN7320302. A view of the conference room as the General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) holds its first meeting of the Assembly’s sixty-seventh session. October 2012.

Fourth Committee images

UN Photo UN7772975. Fourth Committee Discusses UNRWA and Report of Special Committee on Israeli Practices in Occupied Palestinian Territories. November 2003.
UN Photo UN7708918. The UN General Assembly's Fourth (Trusteeship) Committee takes up the question of the future of Ruanda-Urundi and heard statements by a representative of Belgium and by a petitioner from that trust territory. November 1960.
UN Photo UN7589983. Reverend G. Michael Scott of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation speaking as petitioner on the question of Namibia. November 1982.
UN Photo UN7693114. The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met today to conclude its general debate on decolonization issues and to begin its considerations of the effect of atomic radiation. Machivenyika Tobias Mapuranga (left) (Zimbabwe), Committee Chairman, presides over the meeting of the Fourth Committee. On the right is Mohammad Sattar, Committee Secretary. October 1997.
UN Photo UN7690952. Salim Hansour (at centre table), representative of the Polisario, is seen making a statement to the Fourth Committee. At the table in the background are Tom Eric Vraalsen (left) of Norway, Chairman of the Committee, and Najmuddine Rifai, Committee Secretary. November 1976.
UN Photo UN7585067. Mari Alkatiri, Secretary for External Relations of the Revolutionary Front for Independence of East Timor (Fretilin),speaking as a petitioner before the Fourth Committee. October 1980.
UN Photo UN7641753. Mr. Enoch Dumbutshena (right) petitioner from Southern Rhodesia, is seen as he replied to questions put to him by a number of the members of the Fourth Committee. October 1962.

Fifth Committee images

UN Photo UN7957918. Secretary-General António Guterres (centre at dais and on screens) makes remarks to the formal meeting of the Fifth Committee on the proposed programme budget for 2023. October 2022.
UN Photo UN7928840. A wide shot of the ECOSOC Chamber while Mher Margaryan (centre), Chair of the Fifth Committee and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations, speaks during the meeting on the closure of the work of the Fifth Committee during the first part of the resumed seventy-sixth session of the General Assembly. March 2022.
UN Photo UN7928831. Mher Margaryan (centre), Chair of the Fifth Committee and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations, speaks during the meeting on the closure of the work of the Fifth Committee during the first part of the resumed seventy-sixth session of the General Assembly. On his right is Chandramouli Ramanathan, Controller, Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Finance and Budget in the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance. March 2022.
UN Photo UN7346254. Stacks of documents distributed to delegates in a meeting of the General Assembly’s Administrative and Budgetary (Fifth) Committee on the UN 2012-2013 proprosed programme budget, presented by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. October 2011.
UN Photo UN7320179. A view of the podium as the General Assembly Administrative and Budgetary (Fifth) Committee holds its Third Formal Meeting. October 2012.
UN Photo UN7662251. Shown here at a meeting of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) during the discussion on the UN budget are: Thomas A. Stone (centre), of Canada, Chairman; Dr. Miguel Albornoz (left), of Ecuador, Vice-Chairman; and Rafik Asha, of Syria, Rapporteur. November 1951.
UN Photo UN7722338. Fifth Committee Discusses Secretariat Reorganization and Subsidy for International School. Shown: (left to right): Mr. Harry Morris (Liberia), Chairman; Mr. Walter Hoffman, Committee Secretary; Julia Henderson, Associate Commissioner for Technical Cooperation; Mr. Brian J. Lynch (New Zealand), Committee Rapporteur. December 1967.

Sixth Committee images

UN Photo UN7772899. Sixth Committee (Legal) Postpones Debate on Competing Human Cloning Resolutions for Two Years. November 2003.
UN Photo UN7676610. A view of a section of the conference room during a meeting of the Sixth Committee.  Seated at the desk in the foreground are (left to right) Hashim Khalil, of Iraq; Ahmad Eghbal, of Iran; and Imron Rosjadi, of Indonesia.  November 1957.
UN Photo UN7676237. Legal Committee Resumes Consideration of Aerial Hijacking, Role of International Court, and International Watercourse. Olivier Deleau (France) addressing the Committee.  November 1970.
UN Photo UN7676225. Legal Committee Recommends Extension of Mandate of Special Committee on Defining Aggression. A partial view of the Committee in session, at the presiding table from left to right are: Gheorghe Secarin (Romania), Rapporteur; Anatoly P. Movchan, Committee Secretary; K. Krishna Rao (India), Chairman of the Legal Committee; and Constantin Stavropoulos, United Nations Legal Counsel, addressing the Committee. November 1968.
UN Photo UN7675711. The Bureau of the Sixth Committee are from left, UN Legal Counsel Erik Suy; Committee Chairman Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone), Committee Secretary Valentin A. Romanov, Senior Legal Officer Jacqueline Dauchy, and Rapporteur Wolfgang Hampe (GDR). November 1980.
UN Photo UN7550567. George O. Lamptey (centre) (Ghana), Chairman), addressing a meeting of the Sixth Committee. October 1994.