Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

(Non Ad Hoc)

The ECOSOC is as well as the Security Council and the GA one of the main bodies of the United Nations. It was established in 1945 under the United Nations Charter, to assist the General Assembly in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development. ECOSOC coordinates the 14 UN specialized agencies, functional commissions and five regional commissions. Apart from coordinating specialized bodies, ECOSOC’s functions include information gathering, advising member nations, and making recommendations. In addition, ECOSOC is well-positioned to provide policy coherence and coordinate the overlapping functions of the UN’s subsidiary bodies and it is in these roles that it is most active. With its broad mandate the Council’s purview extends to over 70 per cent of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system.

The ECOSOC’s responsibilities include:

  1. Promoting higher standards of living, full employment, economic and social progress.
  2. Identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems.
  3. Facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation and encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The ECOSOC has 54 members, all of whom are elected by the General Assembly for a three-year term. The list with the current member states can be found here.

Since 2000, NGO’s may have input into ECOSOC’s deliberations including public meetings, to place items on the agendas of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, and to present statements to governments. A newfunction of the Economic and Social Council is the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR). This was the result of the 2005 World Summit attended by Heads of State and Government. Through this review, the ECOSOC will assess progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals, and also the implementation of the other goals and targets agreed at the major UN conferences and summits over the past 15 years.