United Nations Economic and Social Council

United Nations Economic and Social Council
Conseil économique et social des Nations unies

The room of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. UN headquarters, New York City, New York, U.S.
Abbreviation ECOSOC
Formation 1945 (1945)
Type Primary organ
Legal status Active

President of the ECOSOC

As of 28 July 2016:
Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava[1]
Website www.un.org/en/ecosoc

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC; French: Conseil économique et social des Nations unies, CESNU) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, responsible for coordinating the economic, social, and related work of 15 UN specialised agencies, their functional commissions and five regional commissions. The ECOSOC has 54 members. It holds one four-week session each year in July, and since 1998, it has also held a meeting of April with finance ministers heading key committees of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The ECOSOC serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and the United Nations system.[2] A number of non-governmental organisations have been granted consultative status to the Council to participate in the work of the United Nations.


The president is elected for a one-year term and chosen from the small or mid-sized powers represented on the ECOSOC.[1] His Excellency Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava was elected seventy-second President of the Economic and Social Council on 28 July 2016. Ambassador Shava is currently the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Zimbabwe to the United Nations in New York.

Term President From
2016 Mr. Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava  Zimbabwe
2015 Mr. Oh Joon  South Korea
2014 Mr. Martin Sajdik  Austria
2013 Mr. Néstor Osorio Londoño  Colombia
2012 Mr. Miloš Koterec  Slovakia
2011 Mr. Lazarous Kapambwe  Zambia
2010 Mr. Hamidon Ali  Malaysia
2009 Ms. Sylvie Lucas  Luxembourg
2008 Mr. Léo Mérorès  Haiti
2007 Mr. Dalius Čekuolis  Lithuania
2006 Mr. Ali Hachani  Tunisia
2005 Mr. Munir Akram  Pakistan


The Council has 54 member states out of the 193 UN member states, which are elected by the United Nations General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms. Seats on the Council are based on geographical representation with 18 allocated to African states, 13 to Asian states, 8 to East European states, 13 to Latin American and Caribbean states and 13 to West European and other states.

Term African States (14) Asian States (11) Eastern European
Latin American &
Caribbean States
Western European &
Other States
2016-18  Algeria
 South Africa
 Czech Republic
 United States
2015-17  Burkina Faso
 Estonia  Argentina
 Trinidad and Tobago
2014-16  Botswana
 Congo DR
 South Korea
 Antigua and Barbuda
 United Kingdom
2013-15  Tunisia
 South Africa
 United States
 San Marino
Before 2013  Botswana'  Bangladesh'  Albania  Antigua and Barbuda'  Austria
 Benin  China  Belarus  Bolivia  Canada
 Burkina Faso  India  Bulgaria*  Brazil  Denmark
 Cameroon*  Indonesia  Croatia  Colombia  France
 Congo'  Japan  Georgia'  Cuba  Ireland*
 Congo DR'  Kazakhstan'  Latvia*  Dominican Republic  Netherlands*
 Ethiopia  Kuwait  Russian Federation  Ecuador*  New Zealand
 Gabon*  Kyrgyzstan  Serbia'  El Salvador  San Marino
 Lesotho    Nepal  Guatemala'  Spain*
 Libya  Pakistan*  Haiti  Sweden
 Malawi*  Qatar*  Mexico*  Turkey*
 Mauritius  Republic of Korea  Nicaragua*  United Kingdom
 Nigeria  Turkmenistan  Panama'  United States of America
 South Africa
ECOSOC Resolution 2007/25: Support to Non-Self-Governing Territories by the specialised agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations (26 July 2007)

Observer Inter-Governmental Autonomous organisations

Participation on a continuing basis:[3]

Participation on an ad hoc basis:[3]

Functional commissions

Regional commissions

Specialised agencies

These specialised agencies are autonomous organisations working with the United Nations and each other inter alia through the coordinating machinery of the Economic and Social Council.

"World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation"

In a report issued in early July 2011, the UN called for spending nearly USD 2 trillion on green technologies to prevent what it termed "a major planetary catastrophe", warning that "It is rapidly expanding energy use, mainly driven by fossil fuels, that explains why humanity is on the verge of breaching planetary sustainability boundaries through global warming, biodiversity loss, and disturbance of the nitrogen-cycle balance and other measures of the sustainability of the earth's ecosystem".

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon added: "Rather than viewing growth and sustainability as competing goals on a collision course, we must see them as complementary and mutually supportive imperatives". The report concluded that "Business as usual is not an option".[4]

Reform of the Economic and Social Council

Governance of the multilateral system has historically been complex and fragmented. This has limited the capacity of the ECOSOC to influence international policies in trade, finance and investment. Reform proposals aim to enhance the relevance and contribution of the council. A major reform was approved by the 2005 World Summit on the basis of proposals submitted by secretary-general Kofi Annan.[5] The Summit aimed to establish the 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 was decided to hold biennial high-level Development Cooperation Forums at the national-leadership level by 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 development goals (particularly the Millennium Development Goals). These "Annual Ministeral 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.

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 state (L27, corresponding to half of the ECOSOC membership) to meet annually and provide international leadership in the development area. This proposal, however, was not approved by the General Assembly.

Chamber design

The Economic and Social Council Chamber in the United Nations Conference Building was a gift from Sweden. It was conceived by Swedish architect Sven Markelius, one of the 11 architects in the international team that designed the UN headquarters. Wood from Swedish pine trees was used in the delegates' area for the railings and doors.

The pipes and ducts in the ceiling above the public gallery were deliberately left exposed; the architect believed that anything useful could be left uncovered. The "unfinished" ceiling is a symbolic reminder that the economic and social work of the United Nations is never finished; there will always be something more which can be done to improve living conditions for the world's people.[6]

See also


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