On the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC): https://www.un.org/ecosoc/en/

The United Nations Economic and Social Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations.

Since the establishment of the United Nations (UN) in 1945, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has been subject to over a dozen proposals for reforms.

UN ECOSOC includes five regional commissions:

UN ECOSOC includes nine functional commissions:

To coordinate the economic and social work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, the nine functional commissions and five regional commissions.

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 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. It is responsible for:

  • promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress;
  • identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems;
  • facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation; and
  • encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.


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.

UN ECOSOC has the power to make or initiate studies and reports on the issues for which is responsible. It also has the power to assist the preparations and organization of major international conferences in the economic and social and related fields and to facilitate a coordinated follow-up to these conferences.

Following the adoption of the 2005 World Summit Outcome (September 20050 and resolution 61/16 on the “Strengthening of the Economic and Social Council” by the General Assembly on 20 November 2006 ECOSOC is mandated to:

  • To hold annual ministerial substantive reviews (AMR) to assess the progress made in the implementation of the outcomes of the major UN conferences and summits of the past fifteen years, including the internationally agreed development goals.
  • To serve as a quality platform of engagement on global policies and trends in the economic, social, environmental and humanitarian field and to hold a biennial Development Cooperation Forum to review trends in international development co-operation.
  • To hold a biennial Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) to review trends and progress in international development cooperation, i.e., issues of aid quality and quantity, and give policy guidance on practical measures and policy options on how to enhance its coherence and effectiveness.

In carrying out its mandate, ECOSOC consults with academics, business sector representatives and more than 2,100 registered non-governmental organizations.

The Council holds a four-week substantive session each July, alternating between New York and Geneva. The session consists of the High-level Segment, Coordination Segment, Operational Activities Segment, Humanitarian Affairs Segment and the General Segment.

The High-level segment serves as a forum for Ministers and executive heads of international institutions and high-ranking officials, as well as civil society and private sector representatives to discuss key issues on the international agenda in the area of economic, social and environmental development. A new feature of the ECOSOC, mandated by the 2005 World Summit, are the Annual Ministerial Review and the Development Cooperation Forum. At the end of the High-level segment, a Ministerial declaration is adopted, which provides policy guidance and recommendations for action.

Multistakeholder dialogues on Implementing Sustainable Development
(e-discussions, details at http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/csd/csd_csd18.shtml)

See the Chapter on ECOSOC Reform - Strengthening the Council at http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/about/index.shtml

The Fringes

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