Economic and Social Council

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Economic and Social Council,

constituent organ of the United Nations. It was established by the UN Charter and has 54 (18 before 1965) member nations elected for three-year terms (one third every year) by the General Assembly. The council's president and the four other members of its governing bureau, who set its agenda and organize its session, are elected annually. The council undertakes investigations of international economic and social questions and reports its conclusions and suggestions to the General Assembly and other organs of the United Nations for action. The council also coordinates the activities of the specialized agencies of the United Nations and arranges for consultations with international nongovernmental organizations. The full council meets annually; decisions are taken by a majority of members present and voting, which insures a majority of developing nations. The council has established functional commissions, including the Statistical Commission, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the Commission for Sustainable Development, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the Population and Development Commission, and regional commissions. A director-general directly below the UN secretary-general has been created to coordinate programs under the council. The activities of the former Commission on Human Rights (superseded by the UN Human Rights Council in 2006) were particularly important. In Aug., 1948, a draft of a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drawn up by the commission, was adopted by the General Assembly. In 1967, the commission was authorized to investigate and monitor violations of human rights in both developed and developing countries. The Economic and Social Council supervises the activities of the United Nations Children's FundUnited Nations Children's Fund
(UNICEF), a specialized fund of the United Nations. It was established in 1946 as the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, and became a permanent part of the United Nations in 1953, when it acquired its current name (but retained
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, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for RefugeesUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Office of the
(UNHCR), established Dec. 14, 1950, by the General Assembly. It superseded the International Refugee Organization.
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, the United Nations Development ProgramUnited Nations Development Program
(UNDP), agency of the United Nations, established in 1965 to unify the operations of the Expanded Program of Technical Assistance and the United Nations Special Fund, which continued as separate components of UNDP until full unification in 1971.
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, and the International Narcotics Control Board, and it has consultative relationships with numerous nongovernmental organizations. It also undertakes special studies at the request of countries belonging to the United Nations.


See bibliography under United NationsUnited Nations
(UN), international organization established immediately after World War II. It replaced the League of Nations. In 1945, when the UN was founded, there were 51 members; 193 nations are now members of the organization (see table entitled United Nations Members).
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Economic and Social Council


(ECOSOC), a principal organ of the United Nations. The Economic and Social Council has 54 members, which are elected by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly for three-year terms. One-third of the membership is renewed each year.

The main tasks of ECOSOC are to carry out, under the supervision of the General Assembly, the specific functions of the UN in the field of international economic and social cooperation. Article 55 of the UN Charter defines these functions as the creation of conditions of stability and well-being that are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.

In order to discharge its responsibilities, ECOSOC is empowered to initiate studies, prepare reports, and make recommendations to the General Assembly, the members of the UN, and the specialized agencies of the UN. The council may call international conferences and prepare draft conventions with respect to matters falling within its competence for submission to the General Assembly. ECOSOC may enter into agreements with specialized agencies of the UN to define the terms of their relationship with the UN and may coordinate the activities of such agencies through consultation with and recommendations to the agencies. It is also empowered to assist the Security Council, furnish the Security Council with necessary information, and perform such other functions as may be assigned by the General Assembly.

Regular sessions of ECOSOC are held twice a year. Each year, the council elects a president and two vice-presidents. Decisions of the council are made by a simple majority of the members present and voting.

The standing and ad hoc committees of ECOSOC include the following: the Economic Committee; the Social Committee; the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations; the Committee on Housing, Building, and Planning; the Committee on Natural Resources; the Committee for Program and Coordination; the Committee for Industrial Development; and the Committee on Science and Technology.

ECOSOC carries out its duties through various functional commissions, including six statistical commissions, the Population Commission, the Social Development Commission, the Commission on Human Rights, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The Commission on Human Rights has a subcommission on the prevention of discrimination and the protection of national minorities.

The following regional economic commissions have been established under ECOSOC: the Economic Commission for Europe, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the Economic Commission for Latin America, the Economic Commission for Africa, and the Economic Commission for Western Asia.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was created under ECOSOC in 1946 to aid children who are victims of war and to implement measures for the protection of the health of children.


References in periodicals archive ?
Basic agreement was, however, achieved that ECOSOC should act as a filter so as to relieve the General Assembly.
ECOSOC President, Ambassador Oh Joon of the Republic of Korea, congratulated Vietnam on its election, which, he said, took place after the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was approved last month.
These are NGOs concerned with most of the activities of ECOSOC and closely involved with the economic and social life of the people they represent.
Following the successful assumption of positions as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2008-2009, a member of the UN Human Rights Council for 2014-2016, as well as the participation in UN peace-keeping missions, the ECOSOC membership will help Vietnam get involved deeply in the largest global organisation s activities, thus directly taking part in forming international principles and standards.
We believe that the CSW will greatly contribute to the transition by aligning its focus to this year's ECOSOC theme and providing substantive input from the perspective of gender equality and empowerment of women," he said.
First elected in 1954, Pakistan served the ECOSOC in 19651967, 19691971, 19741977, 19791984, 19861988, 19901992, 19941995, 19982003, 20052007, 200810 and 201013.
We are honored to be granted Special Consultative Status, and look forward to working with the ECOSOC and others at the UN to address child protection issues on a global basis," said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of ICMEC.
These are just a few of the almost innumerable areas in which these regional divisions of ECOSOC take an active role.
Last year, for the first time ever, an Indigenous group addressed the ECOSOC meeting, which I did at the July meeting.
NEW YORK -- Stolen Faces, a documentary narrated by Tony Award-winning actor, Liev Schreiber, will be presented to over 50 heads of state and dignitaries at the High-Level Segment of ECOSOC at the United Nations on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 at 4PM and a panel discussion moderated by Lisa Ling will follow.
ECOSOC President Martin Sajdik, who convened the meeting, said Council members stand ready to help mobilize all partners, including a network of nongovernmental organizations, to ensure that economic and social recovery efforts help stabilize the worstaffected countries and strengthen their preparedness to prevent future outbreaks.
The UNSC's imposed sanctions against countries is one of the serious concerns of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the UNSC shouldn't interfere in the responsibilities and authorities of the UNGA and the ECOSOC, Dehqani, whose country is the rotating president of the NAM, said, addressing the Legal Committee of the UNGA in New York on Tuesday.