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United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)


  • India has been elected to the Economic and Social Council, one of the six main organs of the United Nations, for the 2022-24 term.

Key Details:

  • Asia-Pacific category: India was elected in the Asia-Pacific States category along with Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Oman in the elections held on Monday.

  • African category: From the African states, Côte d'Ivoire, Eswatini, Mauritius, Tunisia and the United Republic of Tanzania were elected.

  • European states: Croatia and the Czech Republic

  • Latin American and Caribbean states: Belize, Chile and Peru were elected.

  • India and UNSC: India is currently serving the 2021-22 term as a non-permanent member of the powerful UN Security Council and will assume the Presidency of the 15-nation UN organ in August.

United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC):

  • The UN Charter established ECOSOC in 1945 as one of the six main organs of the United Nations.

  • ECOSOC’s 54 members are elected for three-year terms by the General Assembly.

  • Seats on the Council are allotted based on geographical representation with 14 allocated to African states, 11 to Asian states, six to eastern European states, 10 to Latin American and Caribbean states and 13 to western European and other states, according to the ECOSOC website.

Significance of ECOSOC:

  • The 54-member ECOSOC is at the heart of the United Nations system to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development –

    • Economic,

    • Social and

    • Environmental.

  • It is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus on ways forward, and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals.

  • It is also responsible for the follow-up to major UN conferences and summits.

Reform Needed in 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.

  • 2005 World Summit: A major reform was approved by the 2005 World Summit based on proposals submitted by secretary-general Kofi Annan.

  • 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 resolved to hold biennial high-level Development Cooperation Forums at the national-leadership level, 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 on 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.[24]

  • 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.

Source: The Hindu