Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

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Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific


(ESCAP), a regional body established in 1947 by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. The purpose of the commission is to promote regional economic development in Asia and to support and strengthen economic cooperation among Asian countries as well as between Asian states and states on other continents. As of Jan. 1, 1980, 35 Asian and Pacific states, together with Great Britain, the Netherlands, the USA, and France, are members of ESCAP; the regional members include India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, the Mongolian People’s Republic, the People’s Republic of China, the USSR, and Japan. The commission conducts research; collects, summarizes, and disseminates information and statistical data; and makes recommendations to the governments of ESCAP members on all matters falling within its competence.

The highest organ of ESCAP is the plenary session, which is held once a year. Between sessions, day-to–day work is carried out by standing committees, such as the committees on industry and natural resources, trade, transport and communications, and typhoons. Conferences are held to study problems of, for example, industrialization, planning, statistics, and social development.

The executive organ of ESCAP is the Secretariat, which is located in Bangkok, Thailand. Special regional bodies that operate within the framework of ESCAP include the Council of Ministers for Asian Economic Cooperation, the Asian Industrial Development Council, the Asian Institute for Economic Development and Planning, and the Asian Statistical Institute.

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