ECOSOC Meanings

According to AbbreviationFinder, ECOSOC stands for United Nations Economic and Social Council. Body that coordinates the economic and social work of the United Nations and the institutions and specialized agencies that make up the United Nations system. It is made up of 54 members elected by the General Assembly, with three-year terms. Each member has one vote and decisions within this body are taken by simple majority.


Coordinates the work of the 14 specialized agencies, the 10 functional commissions and the 5 regional commissions of the United Nations; receives reports from 11 United Nations Funds and Programs and issues policy recommendations addressed to the United Nations system and member states. Under the Charter of the United Nations, the Economic and Social Council works to promote higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress; to identify solutions to health, economic and social problems at the international level; to facilitate cooperation in the cultural and educational order, and to promote universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The scope of the Economic and Social Council encompasses more than 70% of the human and financial resources of the entire United Nations system.

To carry out its mandate, the Economic and Social Council consults with representatives of the academic and business sectors and with more than 2,100 registered non-governmental organizations.

Session period

The Council holds a substantive four-week session in July each year, one year in New York and one year in Geneva. The session includes a high-level segment, in which the ministers of national governments and the heads of international organizations and other senior officials focus their attention on a particular issue of global importance.

Bureau of the Economic and Social Council

Each year, at the beginning of each annual session, the Council elects the Bureau. The main functions of the Bureau are to propose the program, develop a work program and organize the session with the support of the United Nations Secretariat.

Regulatory direction

In recent years, the Economic and Social Council has taken a leading role in key policy areas. In its 1999 high-level segment, it published a Manifesto on Poverty, which in many respects was the precursor to the formulation of the Millennium Development Goals approved in New Yorkat the Millennium Summit. The Ministerial Declaration of the 2000 high-level segment proposed concrete measures to try to bridge the digital divide, the direct result of which was the establishment in 2001 of the United Nations Task Force on Information and Communication Technologies. Communications (ICT). In 2002, having addressed the issue of the development of Africa in the Economic and Social Council, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), for the first time received official support from the international community.


The General Assembly elects the 54 members of the Council for staggered terms of three years. The designation of the members of the Council is based on geographical representation: 14 members from African states, 11 members from Asian states, 6 members from Eastern European states, 10 members from Latin American and Caribbean states, and 13 members from states of Western Europe and other states.

Subsidiary bodies

These carry out the ongoing work of ECOSOC and are a series of commissions and committees that meet at regular intervals and report to the Council. Said subsidiary mechanism is made up of:

  • Nine functional commissions: examine issues in their respective spheres of responsibility and expertise and make recommendations:
    • Statistical Commission,
    • Commission on Population and Development,
    • Social Development Commission,
    • Commission on the Social and Legal Condition of Women,
    • Commission on Narcotic Drugs,
    • Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Commission,
    • Commission on Science and Technology for Development,
    • Commission on Sustainable Development,
    • United Nations Forum on Forests.

The Commission on Human Rights was part of ECOSOC until 2006, when the General Assembly created the Human Rights Council:

  • Five regional commissions: they are grouped according to the criteria of the United Nations and their main mandate is to promote measures that promote regional economic development and strengthen the economic relations of the countries of the region with each other and with the rest of the world.
    • Economic Commission for Africa (headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia);
    • Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand);
    • Economic Commission for Europe (headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland);
    • Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (headquarters in Santiago, Chile);
    • Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon).
  • Three standing committees:
    • Committee for Program and Coordination,
    • Committee in Charge of Non-Governmental Organizations,
    • Committee in charge of negotiations with intergovernmental organizations,
  • Permanent bodies of experts: dealing with issues such as development planning, natural resources, and economic, social and cultural rights.

ECOSOC collaborates with and to some extent coordinates the program activities of the United Nations (such as UNDP, UNEP, UNICEF and UNFPA), and specialized agencies (such as FAO, WHO, ILO and UNESCO), who report to the council and make recommendations for its substantive sessions.