Where the World Goes to Talk it Over: The UN General Assembly

September 6, 2017

This thoughtful essay in the September edition of Le Monde diplomatique by Anne-Cécile Robert and Romuald Sciora provides insight into recent developments at the General Assembly. It highlights the important role that the Assembly is playing in international affairs. 

The GA is the only representative body for the planet, yet it is not a world parliament: only elections could give it the legitimacy of a parliament in a democratic state and that is probably unrealistic. However, the GA is unique in its ability to reflect change in international relations (the surprise election of Thomson, the mobilisation of small states and China) and in its values, derived from the UN charter, harnessing the desire for power in the service of collective security. At a time when the redrawing of the geopolitical map is raising tensions, it is, despite imperfections, the only forum conducive to the establishment of a progressive international order.