exercises due: calendar week 45 (Wednesday). As I'm old and forget things, it's Clemens' job to remind me to check the homework. If you fail to remind me, you'll have to sing karaoke (or so.) :D Evil? Yes. That's my middle name.



Describe the function and the power of the UN general assembly (Generalversammlung), the security council (Sicherheitsrat) and the Secretary-General (Generalsekretär) by extracting the relevant information from M1 - M3.



  • When you talk about function, talk about how the three institutions consist of and what they are there for.
  • When you talk about power, think of both, "hard" power (so being able to use force, sanctions etc.) and "soft" power (public pressure, naming and shaming, diplomacy, etc.)


If you write more than three quarters of a page (in normal handwriting...), you have too many details. If you have less than half a page, you certainly missed some relevant facts.


The General Assembly


Established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly occupies a central position as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprised of all 193 Members of the United Nations, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter. It also plays a significant role in the process of standard-setting and the codification of international law.


The Assembly is empowered to make recommendations to States on international issues within its competence. It has also initiated actions – political, economic, humanitarian, social and legal – which have benefitted the lives of millions of people throughout the world.


According to the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly may (amongst others):
•    Consider and approve the United Nations budget and establish the financial assessments of Member States
•    Elect the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the members of other United Nations councils and organs and, on the recommendation of the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General
•    Consider and make recommendations on the general principles of cooperation for maintaining international peace and security, including disarmament
•    Discuss any question relating to international peace and security and, except where a dispute or situation is currently being discussed by the Security Council, make recommendations on it
•    Make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation that might impair friendly relations among countries


Each of the 193 Member States in the Assembly has one vote. Votes taken on designated important issues – such as recommendations on peace and security, the election of Security Council and Economic and Social Council members, and budgetary questions – require a two-thirds majority of Member States, but other questions are decided by a simple majority.
In recent years, an effort has been made to achieve consensus on issues, rather than deciding by a formal vote, thus strengthening support for the Assembly’s decisions. The President, after having consulted and reached agreement with delegations, can propose that a resolution be adopted without a vote.

(source: https://www.un.org/en/ga/about/background.shtml (shortened))

The UN security council

The Secretary-General


The Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly, on the recommendation of the Security Council. The Secretary-General's selection is therefore subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members of the Security Council.


Equal parts diplomat and advocate, civil servant and CEO, the Secretary-General is a symbol of United Nations ideals and a spokesperson for the interests of the world's peoples, in particular the poor and vulnerable among them. The current Secretary-General, and the ninth occupant of the post, is Mr. António Guterres of Portugal, who took office on 1 January 2017.


The Charter describes the Secretary-General as "chief administrative officer" of the Organization, who shall act in that capacity and perform "such other functions as are entrusted" to them by the Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and other United Nations organs. The Charter also empowers the Secretary-General to bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in their opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security. These guidelines both define the powers of the office and grant it considerable scope for action.


One of the most vital roles played by the Secretary-General is the use of their "good offices" -- steps taken publicly and in private, drawing upon their independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.
(sources: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/the-role-of-the-secretary-general; https://www.un.org/sg/en/appointment.shtml (shortened))