Who is the first speaker in the annual general debate of the General Assembly?
Last Updated: Sep 21, 2016     Views: 812

The general debate is held at the beginning of each session of the General Assembly, usually in September in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and A/RES/57/301.

Often Member States are represented by their Heads of State or Government during the general debate. Not all Member States participate every session.

The general debate provides an opportunity for Member States to raise any topic and statements often reflect issues of importance to the Member State.

Theme of General Debate

In recent years, the President of the General Assembly has announced a theme for the general debate.

For more information see our FAQ What have been the themes of the general debate of the United Nations General Assembly?

Order of Speakers

Over time, certain customs have emerged during the general debate, including the custom of the order of the first few speakers.

In current practice, after the opening of the meeting by the President of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General makes a statement, followed by the President of the General Assembly and then the representatives of Brazil and the United States.

  • Since the 10th session in 1955, Brazil has spoken first and the United States has spoken second, with a few exceptions.
  • At the 38th (1983) and 39th (1984) sessions, the United States spoke first and Brazil spoke second.
  • At the 71st session, on 20 September 2016, Chad spoke second due to the delay in arrival of the President of the United States (meeting record to be issued).

The list of the first and second speakers for the first 10 sessions are set out below.

Table of first and second speakers in the General Debate
Session  Date Meeting Record 1st speaker 2nd speaker
1 24 October 1946 A/PV.35 & A/PV.36 Mexico Belgium
2 17 September 1947 A/PV.82 Mexico United States
3 23 September 1948   A/PV.139 Philippines United States
4 21 September 1949 A/PV.222 Brazil United States
5 20 September 1950 A/PV.279 Brazil United States
6 8 November 1951 A/PV.335 Brazil Netherlands
7 16 October 1952 A/PV.379 Cuba Sweden
8 17-18 September 1953 A/PV.434 & A/PV.436 United States Chile
9 23 September 1954 A/PV.475 Canada Chile
10 22 September 1955 A/PV.518 Brazil United States

 

Additional Resources

Additional thematic high-level meetings are often organized around the time of the general debate; there are also many informal events organized at this time. The Journal is a good source of official information about these activities.

We have additional FAQs listing the general debate statements for each Member State, just search Ask DAG for the country name.

In addition, general debate statements are included in the online Index to Speeches.


General Assembly General Debate, 1946 - present

Session

Date Meeting Record Index to Speeches search

1

24-31 Oct. 1946

A/PV.35-45

1946 General Debate

2

17-23 Sept. 1947

A/PV.82-90

1947 General Debate

3

23-29 Sept. 1948

A/PV.139-148

1948 General Debate

4

21-26 Sept. 1949

A/PV.222-229

1949 General Debate

5

20-28 Sept. 1950

A/PV.279-289

1950 General Debate

6

8-16 Nov. 1951

A/PV.335-348

1951 General Debate

7

16 Oct.-25 Nov. 1952

A/PV.379-398

1952 General Debate

8

17-29 Sept. 1953

A/PV.434-449

1953 General Debate

9

23 Sept.-6 Oct. 1954

A/PV.475-492

1954 General Debate

10

22 Sept.-4 Oct. 1955

A/PV.518-533

1955 General Debate

11

16 Nov.-6 Dec. 1956

A/PV.581-611

1956 General Debate

12

19 Sept.-8 Oct. 1957

A/PV.680-703

1957 General Debate

13

18 Sept.-7 Oct. 1958

A/PV.749-774

1958 General Debate

14

17 Sept.-7 Oct. 1959

A/PV.797-824

1959 General Debate

15

22 Sept.-17 Oct. 1960

A/PV.868-907

1960 General Debate

16

22 Sept.-18 Oct. 1961

A/PV.1011-1039

1961 General Debate

17

20 Sept.-18 Oct. 1962

A/PV.1125-1155

1962 General Debate

18

19 Sept.-14 Oct. 1963

A/PV.1208-1240

1963 General Debate

19

3 Dec. 1964-
27 Jan. 1965

A/PV.1289-1325

19th sess. General Debate

20

23 Sept.-15 Oct. 1965

A/PV.1334-1364

1965 General Debate

21

22 Sept.-18 Oct. 1966  A/PV.1412-1447 1966 General Debate

22

21 Sept.-13 Oct. 1967 A/PV.1562-1591 1967 General Debate

23

2-25 Oct. 1968 A/PV.1677-1707 1968 General Debate

24

18 Sept.-8 Oct. 1969 A/PV.1755-1784 1969 General Debate
25 17 Sept.-2 Oct. 1970 A/PV.1841-1859 1970 General Debate
26 27 Sept.-13 Oct. 1971  A/PV.1940-1965 1971 General Debate
27 25 Sept.-11 Oct. 1972  A/PV.2038-2063 1972 General Debate
28 24 Sept.-11 Oct. 1973  A/PV.2124-2150 1973 General Debate
29 23 Sept.-10 Oct. 1974  A/PV.2238-2265 1974 General Debate
30 22 Sept.-9 Oct. 1975 A/PV.2355-2382 1975 General Debate
31 27 Sept.-14 Oct. 1976 A/31/PV.5-32 1976 General Debate
32 26 Sept.-13 Oct. 1977 A/32/PV.6-33 1977 General Debate
33 25 Sept.-13 Oct. 1978 A/33/PV.6-34 1978 General Debate
34 24 Sept.-12 Oct. 1979 A/34/PV.5-32 1979 General Debate
35 22 Sept.-10 Oct. 1980 A/35/PV.4-33 1980 General Debate
36 21 Sept.-9 Oct. 1981 A/36/PV.5-33 1981 General Debate
37 27 Sept.-15 Oct. 1982 A/37/PV.5-34 1982 General Debate
38 26 Sept.-14 Oct. 1983 A/38/PV.5-33 1983 General Debate
39 24 Sept.-11 Oct. 1984 A/39/PV.4-31 1984 General Debate
40 23 Sept.-11 Oct. 1985 A/40/PV.4-33 1985 General Debate
41 22 Sept.-10 Oct. 1986 A/41/PV.4-32 1986 General Debate
42 21 Sept.-9 Oct. 1987 A/42/PV.4-33 1987 General Debate
43 26 Sept.-13 Oct. 1988 A/43/PV.4-31 1988 General Debate
44 25 Sept.-12 Oct. 1989 A/44/PV.4-31 1989 General Debate
45 24 Sept.-10 Oct. 1990 A/45/PV.4-29 1990 General Debate
46 23 Sept.-10 Oct. 1991 A/46/PV.4-30 1991 General Debate
47 21 Sept.-8 Oct. 1992 A/47/PV.4-30 1992 General Debate
48 27 Sept.-13 Oct. 1993 A/48/PV.4-29 1993 General Debate
49 26 Sept.-12 Oct. 1994 A/49/PV.4-28 1994 General Debate
50 25 Sept.-11 Oct. 1995 A/50/PV.4-29 1995 General Debate
51 23 Sept.-10 Oct. 1996 A/51/PV.4-30 1996 General Debate
52 22 Sept.-7 Oct. 1997 A/52/PV.5-28 1997 General Debate
53 21 Sept.-2 Oct. 1998 A/53/PV.7-26 1998​ General Debate
54 20 Sept.-2 Oct. 1999 A/54/PV.4-22 1999 General Debate
55 12-22 Sept. 2000 A/55/PV.10-28 2000 General Debate
56 10-16 Nov. 2001 A/56/PV.44-57 2001 General Debate
57 12-20 Sept. 2002 A/57/PV.2-19 2002 General Debate
58 23 Sept.-2, 17 Oct. 2003 A/58/PV.7-20, 36 2003 General Debate
59 21-30 Sept. 2004 A/59/PV.3-17 2004 General Debate
60 16-23 Sept. 2005 A/60/PV.9-23 2005 General Debate
61 19-27 Sept. 2006 A/61/PV.10-23 2006 General Debate
62 25 Sept.-3 Oct. 2007 A/62/PV.4-16 2007 General Debate
63 23-29 Sept. 2008 A/63/PV.5-16 2008 General Debate
64 23-26 & 28-29 Sept. 2009 A/64/PV.3-13 2009 General Debate
65 23-25 & 27-30 Sept. 2010 A/65/PV.11-12, 14-17, 19-24 2010 General Debate
66 21-24 & 26-27 Sept. 2011 A/66/PV.11-13, 15-16, 18-30 2011 General Debate
67 25-28 Sept. & 1-3 Oct. 2012 A/67/PV.6- A/67/PV.21 2012 General Debate
68 24 Sept.-1 Oct. 2013 A/68/PV.5-10, 12-23 2013 General Debate
69 24-30 Sept. 2014 A/69/PV.6-20 2014 General Debate
70 28 Sept. - 3 Oct. 2015 A/70/PV.13-28 2015 General Debate
71 20-26 Sept. 2016 to be issued 2016 General Debate

Last Updated: Sep 21, 2016     Views: 812

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Disclaimer: answers are prepared by library staff using resources available at the time of writing. This site may include links and references to third-party databases, websites, books and articles, this does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.

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