General Assembly (World Assembly)
World Assembly General Assembly
Motto: Improving the world one resolution at a time
|Administrative center||WA Headquarters|
Held by the WA Secretariat
• GA Secretariat
|01 April 2008|
|06 April 2008|
The General Assembly of the World Assembly (General Assembly, GA, or WAGA) is the main deliberative chamber of the World Assembly, a voluntary word governing body and geopolitical organisation. Along with the Security Council, it is the principal organ of the World Assembly. It is the only part of the WA that can pass binding legislative resolutions for its member states. Through its legislative functions, it has established a number of subsidiary committees and agencies.
Its powers to pass, often very significant, pieces of legislation for its member states, make it one of the most powerful governing bodies in the world; of the two chambers of the World Assembly, it is considered by many to be the more powerful of the two. It has very few restrictions on its powers to legislate, with the limitations it does have self-imposed by its own leadership structure, the Secretariat.
Though the World Assembly is nominally led by a Secretary-General, the position has been in commission since the foundation of the body, with the Secretariat carrying out all the duties of the office. Within the General Assembly itself, a sub-committee of the Secretariat, called the General Assembly Secretariat acts as the rules committee for that body, though its powers are limited to solely determining legality of proposed resolutions; six member states currently serve on this sub-committee. Decorum, moderation, and regulation of members' admittance and removal remain under the sole purview of the Secretariat proper.
There are two tiers of membership in the General Assembly, as with the Security Council. The foundation tier are normal member states; by far the most populous tier. The second tier comprises of regional delegates; member states who are elected or appointed to represent the different regions in the world. These regional delegates have increased votes depending on the number of member states within their region, as well as a further responsibility in approving proposed legislation for vote.
Legislation, called resolutions, may be proposed by any member state, with the caveat that the member state in question must secure the endorsement of at least two other member states. Proposed resolutions are submitted through one of fifteen different committees, bar repeals which are submitted independently of any committee. Proposed resolutions are progressed in two stages; the first by regional delegates, and the second by vote of the body as a whole.
Membership in the body is regulated by the Secretariat and, due to the number of members plus the ease in which it is to attain and/or lose membership in the body, there is no accurate number of nations that are currently member states. June 2018 estimates, however, put the number of member states in the WA, and by extension the GA, at 27,900.
The World Assembly was established in April 2008 as a successor to the United Nations. Its duties were the same as the body it had replaced - to create, enact, and curate a body of law for its member states. All previous laws enacted by the UN were wiped clear, and the new WA was given the duty of refilling the books of international law. This attracted much criticism at the time, and many delegations resigned in protest. Many of these delegations, however, later rejoined the World Assembly once the period of shock was adjusted to.
In May 2009 further duties were assumed by the World Assembly, and the organisation was officially split into two chambers to accomodate the new powers. The Secretariat did not originally intend to split the World Assembly into two chambers, however there was significant backlash from a majority of delegations to the imposition, without discussion or consideration, of the proposed changes. After negotiations between the Secretariat and the member states, it was decided that the new powers would remain, but a separate chamber would be established to accomodate them.
As the new powers were given to the newly-created Security Council, the original chamber, intact with its original set of mandates and powers, was renamed the General Assembly. It is because of this that the GA is given the same establishment date as the World Assembly itself, whereas the SC is considered only created over a year later.
All members of the World Assembly are members of the General Assembly; June 2018 estimates put this number at 27,900. All member states have full voting rights, though there are some qualifications required before a member state may propose some legislation.
There are currently two tiers of membership in the WA:
- Regular member states: These nations are entitled to one vote in each chamber. They have no restriction on taking part in the floor debates or resolution drafting sessions.
- Regional delegates: These nations are member states in their own right, however they have the added responsibility of representing their home region. In recognition of this added responsibility, these nations have an increased vote share in both of the chambers of the World Assembly. This vote share amounts to [their own one vote]+[number of nations in their home region endorsing them]. Member states are not required to endorse, i.e. sign in a public register of support, their regional delegate. Regional delegates are chosen via internal means in their home regions, but are subject to the same Secretariat-set rules and regulations as any other member states.
Any member of the World Assembly may propose legislation provided that at least two other member states in their home region endorse, i.e. sign in a public register of support, their ability to do so. Legislation, referred to as proposed resolutions up until the point of passage, at which point they are Resolutions, must be submitted through one of fifteen committees; repeals of existing legislation are submitted independent of any committee.
Since the establishment of the World Assembly, there have been 432 Resolutions passed by the GA (as of 17 June 2018). A number of these have since been repealed.
Proposed legislation that does not meet the rules laid down by the GA Secretariat may be pulled from consideration by that body.
Listed below are the committees through which proposed resolutions must be submitted. A number of committees have sub-divisions, and these are also listed.
- Committee on Human Rights
- Committee on Moral Decency
- Environmental Committee
- Automotive Division
- Mining Division
- Logging Division
- Manufacturing Division
- Agriculture Division
- Fishing Division
- All Businesses Division
- Committee on Free Trade
- Committee on Social Justice
- Committee on the Furtherment of Democracy
- Committee on Political Stability
- Committee on Gun Control
- Committee on International Security
- Committee on Global Disarmament
- Committee on Gambling
- Committee on Recreational Drug Use
- Committee on the Advancement of Industry
- Environmental Deregulation Division
- Labor Deregulation Division
- Protective Tariffs Division
- Tort Reform Division
- Committee on Education and Creativity
- Artistic Division
- Educational Division
- Cultural Heritage Division
- Free Press Division
- Committee on Health
- Healthcare Division
- International Aid Division
- Research Division
- Bioethics Division
The Committee on Repeals also exists independent of those fifteen committees for any proposed resolution that seeks to repeal an existing resolution.
The Secretariat is frequently lobbied by delegations seeking to change fundamental workings of the General Assembly. A significant debate is reform of the two tier membership, with the aim of reducing the vote share that regional delegates are allocated. With many regional delegates carrying votes in the triple figures, the amount of influence they wield on votes has been the subject of complaints to the Secretariat on many occasions. To date, while the Secretariat has been open to dialogue with member states on possible changes, no firm recommendations have been proposed.
Another target of frequent criticisms is the committee structure through which proposals must be submitted, with delegations suggesting that the scope of certain committees are too narrow; it has been suggested that instead of one overarching committee on certain subjects, like Advancement of Industry or Human Rights, there should be a multitude of committees. Other delegations suggest removing the committee structure altogether and propose that legislation should be submitted through one committee-of-the-whole type body.