Economic and Social Council

Under Article 7 of the United Nations Charter, The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was created in 1946. The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is one of the principal organs of the United Nations, responsible for coordinating the economic, social and environmental issues and the related work of 14 UN specialized agencies, their functional commissions and five regional commissions. It is also responsible for the implementation of the internationally agreed development goals.

The ECOSOC consists of 54 Member States, elected by the General Assembly for a three-year time and serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and the United Nations system. Seats on the Council are allocated based on geographical representation with 14 places allocated to African States, 11 to Asian States, 6 to Eastern European States, 13 to Western European and 10 to Latin America. USA, the Russian Federation, the UK, France and China are represented on a permanent basis.

The ECOSOC coordinates the work of the 20 UN specialized agencies such as, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Educational, the Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 9 functional commissions such as the Commission on Social Development, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, 5 regional commissions, 4 Standing Committees and 1 Ad hoc Body (the Ad Hoc Open- ended Working Group on Informatics). It also receives reports from 14 UN funds and programs and issues policy recommendations to the UN system and the Member States.

The ECOSOC engages a wide variety of stakeholders – policymakers, parliamentarians, academics, major groups, foundations, business sector representatives and 3,200+ registered non-governmental organizations – in a productive dialogue on sustainable development through a programmatic cycle of meetings. The work of the Council is guided by an issue-based approach, and there is an annual theme that accompanies each programmatic cycle, ensuring a sustained and focused discussion among multiple stakeholders.

Its highest responsibilities are to promote better standards of living, full employment, economic and social progress, identification of solutions to the international economic, social and health problems, and to facilitate international cultural and educational cooperation. Its role in encouraging the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms was also remarkable.

ECOSOC’s contemporary role is considered to be highly crucial, by taking into consideration the efforts for a new economic order and for international social stability. Its role is also important since it constitutes the link between United Nations and specialized agencies.

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