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United Nations General Assembly

The General Assembly is the main deliberative and representative organ of the United Nations, comprising all 193 Member States. 

In accordance with UNHCR’s Statute, the High Commissioner follows policy directives from the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Each year, during the summer, the High Commissioner reports orally to ECOSOC. In early November, he presents his annual report to the General Assembly through the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee, or the Third Committee.

The Third Committee also considers and adopts three resolutions related to UNHCR, namely:

  • The resolution on the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner, or omnibus resolution
  • The resolution on the Enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • The resolution on Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa

While the enlargement resolution to increase the membership of the Executive Committee is technical, the other two are discussed and negotiated on an annual basis by United Nations Member States and agreed upon by consensus. The negotiation process of the omnibus resolution is traditionally chaired by a representative of one of the Scandinavian Permanent Missions in Geneva, and the Africa resolution is managed by representatives of African countries.