General Assembly is the supreme organ of the
Organization of American States. It has as its
principal powers, in addition to such others as are
assigned to it by the Charter, the following:
To decide the general action and
policy of the Organization, determine the structure
and functions of its organs, and consider any matter
relating to friendly relations among the American
To establish measures for
coordinating the activities of the organs, agencies,
and entities of the Organization among themselves,
and such activities with those of the other
institutions of the inter-American system;
To strengthen and coordinate
cooperation with the United Nations and its
To promote collaboration, especially
in the economic, social, and cultural fields, with
other international organizations whose purposes are
similar to those of the Organization of American
To approve the program-budget of the
Organization and determine the quotas of the member
To consider the reports of the
Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign
Affairs and the observations and recommendations
presented by the Permanent Council with regard to
the reports that should be presented by the other
organs and entities, in accordance with the
provisions of Article 91.f, as well as the reports
of any organ which may be required by the General
To adopt general standards to govern
the operations of the General Secretariat; and
To adopt its own rules of procedure
and, by a two-thirds vote, its agenda.
General Assembly exercises its powers in accordance
with the provisions of the Charter and of other
General Assembly is composed of the delegations
accredited by the governments of the member states.
All member states have the right to be represented
in the General Assembly. Each state has the right
to one vote.
delegations of the member states are composed of the
representatives, advisers, and other members
accredited by the governments. Each delegation
shall have a head of delegation, who may delegate
his duties to any other member of his delegation.
President and vice president
head of the delegation indicated by the order of
precedence previously established by the Preparatory
Committee of the General Assembly shall serve as
provisional president until the General Assembly
elects its president at the first plenary session.
The election shall be by the vote of a majority of
the member states.
heads of delegation shall be vice presidents ex
officio of the Assembly and shall replace the
president in the event of his or her disability, in
accordance with the order of precedence.
Secretariat to the General Assembly, the Meeting of
Consultation, and the Permanent Council comes under
the Office of the Assistant Secretary General. The
Assistant Secretary General’s Chief of Staff is the
Director of that Secretariat.
Preparatory Committee and the General Committee are
committees of the General Assembly. They may
establish such subcommittees and working groups as
they deem necessary.
General Assembly by resolution AG/RES. 939
(XVIII-O/88) has recommended that the first Monday
in June each year be set as the opening date for the
regular session of the General Assembly. At each regular session, it shall
determine the place and date of the next regular
session, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure.
In special circumstances and with the approval of
two thirds of the member states, the Permanent
Council may convoke a special session of the General
General Assembly shall hold an inaugural session,
the necessary plenary sessions, and a closing
session. In the case of a special session, the
inaugural session may be eliminated. These sessions
shall be public, unless the respective body decides
otherwise. In accordance with Article 8, only the
delegations of the member states, necessary
Secretariat personnel, and the permanent observers
may attend closed sessions.
private dialogue of heads of delegation is held
prior to the inaugural session. The permanent
observers and civil society representatives meet
informally with the heads of delegation before the
opening of the General Assembly.
chairs, presidents, or representatives of the
following organs or agencies of the inter-American
system may attend General Assembly sessions with the
right to speak:
The Inter-American Juridical
The Inter-American Commission on
The Inter-American Court of Human
The Permanent Executive Committee of
the Inter-American Council for Integral Development;
The Inter-American specialized
Secretary-General of the United Nations, or his
representative, may attend the sessions of the
General Assembly and may speak if he so desires.
Permanent observers or their respective alternates
may attend the public sessions of the plenary
Assembly and public meetings of the General
Committee. They may likewise attend any closed
meetings when invited by the corresponding presiding
officer. Permanent observers may also request the
floor and the corresponding presiding officer shall
decide on the request.
following may also send observers to the General
Governments of American states that
are not members of the Organization, with the
authorization of the Permanent Council;
Governments of non-American states
that are members of the United Nations or of its
specialized agencies, when they express an interest
in attending, with the authorization of the
Inter-American regional or
subregional governmental entities or agencies that
are not included among the organs or agencies of the
Organization, with the authorization of the
Permanent Council; and
Specialized agencies of the United
Nations and other international agencies and
organizations defined as such under agreements in
force entered into with the Organization.
observers referred to in this article may request to
speak at sessions or meetings, and the corresponding
presiding officer shall decide on the request.
the authorization of the Permanent Council and the
consent of the government of the country in which
the Assembly session is to be held, representatives
of the specialized agencies of the United Nations
and other governmental or nongovernmental
international agencies and organizations may attend
as special guests.
Requests to attend as special guests shall be
presented to the General Secretariat of the
Organization at least 30 days in advance of the
opening of the Assembly session.