United Nations Economic and Social Council

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United Nations Economic and Social Council
Emblem of the United Nations.svg
United Nations Economic and Social Council chamber New York City 2.JPG
United Nations Economic and Social Council chamber at United Nations headquarters
Formation1945;74 years ago (1945)
TypePrincipal organ of the United Nations
Legal statusActive
Headquarters New York, United States
Flag of Norway.svg Mona Juul
Parent organization
United Nations
Website www.un.org/ecosoc
United Nations Economic and Social Council Membership.svg
  African States (14)

  Asia-Pacific States (11)

  Eastern European States (6)

  Latin American and Caribbean States (10)

  Western European and Other States (13)

Terra.png International relationsportal

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC; French : Conseil économique et social des Nations unies, CESNU) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, responsible for coordinating the economic and social fields of the organisation, specifically in regards to the 15 specialised agencies, the eight functional commissions and the five regional commissions under its jurisdiction.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

United Nations Intergovernmental organization

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization responsible for maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, achieving international cooperation, and being a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. It is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. The UN is headquartered on international territory in New York City; other main offices are in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna and The Hague.


The Council serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues and formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and the United Nations system. [1] A number of non-governmental organisations have been granted consultative status to the Council to participate in the work of the United Nations.

The consultative status is a phrase whose use can be traced to the founding of the United Nations and is used within the UN community to refer to "Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council". Also some international organizations could grant Consultative Status to NGOs. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) could grant Consultative Status in the form of "Researcher-in-residence programme" : accredited representatives of national and international NGOs are granted access to all records and to numerous topical compilations related to OSCE field activities.

It holds one four-week session each year in July, and since 1998, it has also held an annual meeting in April with finance ministers heading key committees of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The World Bank Group (WBG) is a family of five international organizations that make leveraged loans to developing countries. It is the largest and most well-known development bank in the world and is an observer at the United Nations Development Group. The bank is headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States. It provided around $61 billion in loans and assistance to "developing" and transition countries in the 2014 fiscal year. The bank's stated mission is to achieve the twin goals of ending extreme poverty and building shared prosperity. Total lending as of 2015 for the last 10 years through Development Policy Financing was approximately $117 billion. Its five organizations are the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The first two are sometimes collectively referred to as the World Bank.

International Monetary Fund International financial institution

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), also known as the Fund, is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., consisting of 189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world while periodically depending on World Bank for its resources. Formed in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference primarily by the ideas of Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes, it came into formal existence in 1945 with 29 member countries and the goal of reconstructing the international payment system. It now plays a central role in the management of balance of payments difficulties and international financial crises. Countries contribute funds to a pool through a quota system from which countries experiencing balance of payments problems can borrow money. As of 2016, the fund had XDR 477 billion.


The president of the Council is elected for a one-year term and chosen from the small- or mid-sized powers represented on the Council at the beginning of each new session. [2] The presidency rotates among the United Nations Regional Groups to ensure equal representation.

United Nations Regional Groups geopolitical regional groups of the UN

The United Nations Regional Groups are the geopolitical regional groups of member states of the United Nations. Originally, UN member states were unofficially grouped into five geopolitical regional groups. What began as an informal means of sharing the distribution of posts for General Assembly committees has taken on a much more expansive role. Many UN bodies are allocated on the basis of geographical representation. Top leadership positions, including Secretary-General and President of the General Assembly, are rotated among the regional groups. The groups also coordinate substantive policy and form common fronts for negotiations and bloc voting.

Ambassador Inga Rhonda King of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was elected as the seventy-fourth President of the Economic and Social Council on 26 July 2018. [3]

Inga Rhonda King is a Saint Vincent and the Grenadines accountant, teacher and publisher who has served as the country's Permanent Representative to the United Nations since September 2013.


The Council consists of 54 Members States, which are elected yearly by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms. Seats on the Council are allocated ensuring equitable geographic rotation among the United Nations regional groups, with 14 being allocated to the African Group, 11 to the Asia-Pacific Group, 6 to the Eastern European Group, 10 to the Latin American and Caribbean Group and 13 to the Western European and Others Group.

United Nations General Assembly Principal organ of the United Nations

The United Nations General Assembly is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), the only one in which all member nations have equal representation, and the main deliberative, policy-making, and representative organ of the UN. Its powers are to oversee the budget of the UN, appoint the non-permanent members to the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General of the United Nations, receive reports from other parts of the UN, and make recommendations in the form of General Assembly Resolutions. It has also established numerous subsidiary organs.

African Group

The Group of African States, or African Group, is one of the five United Nations regional groups and is composed of 54 Member States from the African continent. The African Group is the largest regional group, and compose 28% of all United Nations members

Eastern European Group

The Eastern European Group (EEG), also known as Countries with Economies in Transition (CEIT), is one of the five unofficial Regional Groups in the United Nations that act as voting blocs and negotiation forums. Regional voting blocs were formed in 1961 to encourage voting to various UN bodies from regional groups. The group consists of countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Baltics, Central Europe, and the Caucasus, which form the area of the former Eastern Bloc. Europe is divided between the EEG and the Western European and Others Group. The group currently has 23 members.

Current Members [4]

Term African States (14) Asian States (11) Eastern European
Latin American &
Caribbean States
Western European &
Other States
2019 - 2021Flag of Angola.svg  Angola
Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt
Flag of Ethiopia.svg  Ethiopia
Flag of Kenya.svg  Kenya
Flag of Mali.svg  Mali
Flag of Iran.svg  Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan
Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg  Saudi Arabia
Flag of Turkmenistan.svg  Turkmenistan
Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
Flag of Jamaica.svg  Jamaica
Flag of Paraguay.svg  Paraguay
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Flag of the United States.svg  United States of America
2018 - 2020Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana
Flag of Malawi.svg  Malawi
Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco
Flag of Sudan.svg  Sudan
Flag of Togo.svg  Togo
Flag of India.svg  India
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan
Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines
Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus Flag of Ecuador.svg  Ecuador
Flag of El Salvador.svg  El Salvador
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay
Flag of France.svg  France
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany
Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland
Flag of Malta.svg  Malta
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey
2017 - 2019Flag of Benin.svg  Benin
Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon
Flag of Chad.svg  Chad
Flag of Eswatini.svg  Eswatini
Flag of Cambodia.svg  Cambodia
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
Flag of South Korea.svg Republic of Korea
Flag of Yemen.svg  Yemen
Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania
Flag of Russia.svg  Russian Federation
Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
Flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.svg  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
Flag of Andorra.svg  Andorra
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Observer Inter-Governmental Autonomous Organisations

Participation on a continuing basis: [5]

Participation on an ad hoc basis: [5]

  • African Accounting Council
  • African Cultural Institute
  • Arab Security Studies and Training Center
  • Council of Arab Ministers of the Interior
  • International Bauxite Association
  • International Civil Defence Organisation
  • Latin American Social Sciences Institute

Functional commissions


The following are the active functional commission of the Council: [6]


The following commissions were disbanded by the Council and replaced by other bodies: [7] [8]

Regional commissions

Specialised agencies

The specialised agencies of the United Nations are autonomous organisations working within the United Nations System, meaning that while they report their activities to the Economic and Social Council, they are mostly free to their own devices. Each individual agency must negotiate with the Council as to what their relationship will look and work like. This leads to a system where different organisations maintain different types of relationships with the Council. [9] [10] Some were created before the United Nations existed and were integrated into the system, others were created by the League of Nations and were integrated by its successor, while others were created by the United Nations itself to meet emerging needs.

The following is a list of the specialized agencies reporting to the Council: [11]

"World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation"

In a report issued in early July 2011, the UN called for spending nearly US$2 trillion on green technologies to prevent what it termed "a major planetary catastrophe", warning that "It is rapidly expanding energy use, mainly driven by fossil fuels, that explains why humanity is on the verge of breaching planetary sustainability boundaries through global warming, biodiversity loss, and disturbance of the nitrogen-cycle balance and other measures of the sustainability of the earth's ecosystem".

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon added: "Rather than viewing growth and sustainability as competing goals on a collision course, we must see them as complementary and mutually supportive imperatives". The report concluded that "Business as usual is not an option". [12]

Reform of the Economic and Social Council

Governance of the multilateral system has historically been complex and fragmented. This has limited the capacity of ECOSOC to influence international policies in trade, finance and investment. Reform proposals aim to enhance the relevance and contribution of the council. A major reform was approved by the 2005 World Summit on the basis of proposals submitted by secretary-general Kofi Annan. [13] The Summit aimed to establish ECOSOC as a quality platform for high-level engagement among member states and with international financial institutions, the private sector and civil society on global trends, policies and action. It was decided to hold biennial high-level Development Cooperation Forums at the national-leadership level by transforming the high-level segment of the Council to review trends in international development cooperation and promote greater coherence in development activities. At the Summit it was also decided to hold annual ministerial-level substantive reviews to assess progress in achieving internationally agreed development goals (particularly the Millennium Development Goals). These "Annual Ministerial Reviews" will be replaced by the High Level Political Forum from 2016 onwards after the new post-MDG/post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals are agreed.

Subsequent proposals by the High-Level Panel Report on System-Wide Coherence in November 2006 aimed to establish a forum within the ECOSOC as a counter-model to the exclusive clubs of the G8 and G20. The Forum was to comprise 27 heads of states (L27, corresponding to half of ECOSOC's membership) to meet annually and provide international leadership in the development area. This proposal, however, was not approved by the General Assembly.

Chamber design

The Economic and Social Council Chamber in the United Nations Conference Building was a gift from Sweden. It was conceived by Swedish architect Sven Markelius, one of the 11 architects in the international team that designed the UN headquarters. Wood from Swedish pine trees was used in the delegates' area for the railings and doors.

The pipes and ducts in the ceiling above the public gallery were deliberately left exposed; the architect believed that anything useful could be left uncovered. The "unfinished" ceiling is a symbolic reminder that the economic and social work of the United Nations is never finished; there will always be something more which can be done to improve living conditions for the world's people. [14]

See also

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OutRight Action International organization

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  2. Mu Xuequan (27 July 2018). "UN ECOSOC Elects New President". Xinhuanet. Xinhua News Agency . Retrieved 25 February 2019.
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  5. 1 2 ECOSOC observers, Part V Archived 22 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
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  13. Ian Williams, "Annan has paid his dues". The Guardian, 19 September 2005
  14. UN website.