Economic and Social Council: coordinating economic and social activities
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was established under UN Charter Chapter X as the principal organ to coordinate economic, social, and related work of the UN’s specialised institutions.
ECOSOC serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations intended for Member States as well as the United Nations system as a whole (specialized agencies, funds and programmes). It consults relevant NGOs to that end. It encourages universal compliance with fundamental freedoms. It convenes international conferences on topics within its remit and prepares draft agreements for submission to the General Assembly. It coordinates social and economic activities of specialised institutions and defines their relations with the UN.
ECOSOC holds a substantive session each year, comprising a high-level debate that examines major economic and social questions, and a number of shorter successive sessions . Throughout the year, its work continues in the subsidiary organs that report to it. During annual “spring reunions”, the Council enters into dialogue with international financial institutions (IMF and World Bank), the World Trade Organisation and the UNCTAD.
During the preparations for the 2005 Summit, the UNSG pointed out the marginalisation of ECOSOC in economic and social governance at a time when changes in the environment require the full use of its coordination and consultation functions.
In the light of this observation, ECOSOC’s role was reasserted and reinforced as the principal organ for coordinating and formulating policy to achieve the development goals. A biennial Development Cooperation Forum and an Annual Ministerial Review, primarily in charge of monitoring the commitments made during the main conferences and summits of the United Nations, have been instituted to that end, within the framework of the high-level debate.
Update : July 2010