About ECOSOC and its Subsidiary Bodies
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is one of the 6 principal organs of the United Nations System established by the UN Charter in 1945. It consists of 54 Members of the United Nations elected by the General Assembly. ECOSOC coordinates economic, social, and related work of the fourteen United Nations specialized agencies, functional commissions and five regional commissions. It 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. It is responsible for:
  • promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress;
  • identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems;
  • facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation; and
  • encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In carrying out its mandate, ECOSOC consults with academics, business sector representatives and more than 3,200 registered non-governmental organizations. The work of the Council is conducted through several sessions and preparatory meetings, round tables and panel discussions with members of civil society throughout the year, to deal with the organization of its work. Once a year, it meets for a four-week substantive session in July, alternating between New York and Geneva. The annual session is organized in five segments which include:
  • the High-level segment;
  • the Coordination segment;
  • the Operational Activities segment;
  • the Humanitarian Affairs segment;
  • the General Segment.
For example, during the High-level segment NGOs can participate in:
  • Annual Ministerial Review
  • Development Coordination Forum
The Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) is conducted by means of a cross-sectoral approach focusing on thematic issues common to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields, including the MDGs and other IADGs. The Annual Ministerial Review (AMR), is held during the high-level segment of the annual session of the Economic and Social Council.
It provided an opportunity to:
  • Assess the state of implementation of the United Nations Development Agenda;
  • Explore key challenges in achieving the international goals and commitments in the area of global issues;
  • Consider recommendations and proposals for action, including new initiatives.
For more information on AMR, please visit: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/amr/index.s html

The Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) aims to position the United Nations Economic and Social Council as a principal forum for global dialogue and policy review on the effectiveness and coherence of international development cooperation. DCF works to enhance the implementation of the internationally agreed development goals, including the MD Gs, and to strengthen the normative and operational link in the work of the United Nations. The Development Cooperation Forum is held during the high-level segment of the annual session of the Economic and Social Council.
For more information on DCF, please, visit: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/dcf/index.s html

For more information on ECOSOC and its work, please, visit http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/index.shtml

There are nine functional commissions of the ECOSOC:

Commission on the Status of Women
The Commission on the Status of Women is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. It is the principal global policy-making body. Every year, representatives of Member States gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.

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Commission on Sustainable Development
The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established by the UN General Assembly in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit.

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Commission for Social Development
The Commission for Social Development (CSocD) is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. It consists of 46 members elected by ECOSOC.Since the convening of the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995, the Commission has been the key UN body in charge of the follow-up and implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action. As a result of the Summit, the mandate of the Commission was reviewed and its membership expanded from 32 to 46 members in 1996. It meets once a year in New York, usually in February.

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United Nations Forum on Forests
In October 2000, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), in its Resolution 2000/35 established the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), a subsidiary body with the main objective to promote "? the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end?" based on the Rio Declaration, the Forest Principles, Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 and the outcome of the IPF/IFF Processes and other key milestones of international forest policy.

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Commission on Population and Development
A Population Commission was established by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 3 (III) of 3 October 1946. In its resolution 49/128 of 19 December 1994, the General Assembly decided that the Commission should be renamed the Commission on Population and Development. In the same resolution, the Assembly decided that it, the Council and the Commission should constitute a three-tiered intergovernmental mechanism that would play the primary role in the follow-up to the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, and that the Commission, as a functional commission assisting the Council, would monitor, review and assess the implementation of the Programme of Action at the national, regional and international levels and advise the Council thereon.

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Statistical Commission
The United Nations Statistical Commission, established in 1947, is the apex entity of the global statistical system. It brings together the Chief Statisticians from member states from around the world. It is the highest decision making body for international statistical activities especially the setting of statistical standards, the development of concepts and methods and their implementation at the national and international level.The sessions of the Statistical Commission are substantively serviced by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and attended by the regional commissions, other United Nations organizations, specialized agencies and related organizations, non-United Nations international organizations active in international statistical work, and non-governmental organizations.

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Commission on Narcotic Drugs
The Economic and Social Council established the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in 1946 as the central policy-making body of the United Nations in drug related matters. The Commission enables Member States to analyse the global drug situation, provide follow-up to the twentieth special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem and to take measures at the global level within its scope of action. It also monitors the implementation of the three international drug control conventions and is empowered to consider all matters pertaining to the aim of the conventions, including the scheduling of substances to be brought under international control.

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Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
The Commission, which arose from a ministerial meeting held in Versailles in 1991, is a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council. It was preceded by a more technically focussed Committee on Crime Prevention and Control, formed in 1971 to replace an earlier expert advisory committee and tackle a broadened scope of UN interest in criminal justice policy.

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Commission on Science and Technology for Development
The Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) is a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It was established in 1992 to provide the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council with high-level advice on relevant issues through analysis and appropriate policy recommendations or options in order to enable those organs to guide the future work of the United Nations, develop common policies and agree on appropriate actions.

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ECOSOC regional commissions play important role in economic development of particular regions. To know more about regional commissions, please, visit their web-sites:

For more information, concerning the Commissionsí mandates and procedures, please, visit: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/abou t/subsidiary.shtml