The General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention is the sovereign body of the Convention. The General Assembly meets in ordinary session every two years and may convene extraordinary sessions if it deems it necessary or at the request of either the Committee or of at least one-third of the States Parties.

The General Assembly gives strategic orientations for the implementation of the Convention and elects the 24 members of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Half of the Committee members are renewed every two years. In order to reflect the diversity of opinions and of safeguarding measures concerning intangible cultural heritage around the world, the General Assembly decided to apply the principle of equitable geographical distribution to the election of Committee members. The number of Committee members from each region proportionally depends on the number of States from that region that have already ratified the Convention.