Economic and Social Council

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Related to Economic and Social Council: International Court of Justice, Trusteeship Council

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 The activities of the former Commission on Human Rights (superseded by the UN Human Rights Council in 2006) were particularly important.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 It superseded the International Refugee Organization.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 ?
That the organs and agencies of the United Nations, including the Secretary General, the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Commission, the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, UNESCO and UNICEF, inter alia, have the jurisdiction to receive and hear this Indictment, Complaint and Petition, and to provide the Relief requested herein.
President of the Economic and Social Council Muther al Share' outlined studies being conducted by the Council on unemployment, labour protests, child labour and others.
He added that the development of the Economic and Social Council is a continuing process to enable it carry out its tasks in accordance with the joint Arab action.
Arab League's Assistant Secretary General for Social Affairs Faeqah Al-Saleh said in a statement today that the Committee has forwarded a number of recommendations to the Economic and Social Council at the level of senior officials tomorrow and to the ministerial meeting on Thursday.
The agreement was signed on the sidelines of a two-day meeting for the International Association of Economic and Social Councils hosted by the Kingdom with the participation of 17 Arab and foreign countries.
Summary: The Council of the Government, which convened on Thursday under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, Abbas El Fassi, adopted the 2010 Finance Bill and the organic law on the Economic and Social Council.
Institutions concerned: Italy's National Council for Economic Affairs and Labour, France's Economic and Social Council, Morocco's National Council for Youth and the Future and Algeria's national Economic and Social Council.
The World Economic Forum is a highly respected NGO (non-governmental organization) within the Economic and Social Council of the UN, committed to improving the state of the world by bringing together business, intellectual and country leaders for high level debate, aimed at furthering economic and social progress.
CAIRO, Feb 5 (KUNA) -- The Arab Economic and Social Council held a meeting here Sunday at level of experts to discuss how to improve social conditions in the Arab countries.
Director of Economic Department at the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry Sheikh Ali Al-Khaled Al-Sabah affirmed on Friday the importance of decisions issued at the conclusion of the 87th session of Arab League Economic and Social Council, held in Cairo, Egypt.
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