The Economic and Social Council, established in 1945 alongside the other 6 principal organs of the United Nations, operates as the central forum for discussing issues that pertain to the world’s economic and social spheres. The committee also occasionally debates environmental issues, due to their high relevance to each nation’s economic procedures and societal laws.
The council is composed of 54 member states at a time, with elections held yearly by the General Assembly for three-year terms. The elections for the council are made with diversity in mind, including a specific number of delegations from the African states, the Asian states, the Eastern European states, the Latin American and Caribbean states and the Western European and North American states. As one of the UN’s principal organs, the ECOSOC committee possesses 8 functional commissions, 15 specialized subcommittees and 5 other regional agencies to make it so the committee’s wide-reaching responsibilities are executed effectively.
Due to the committee's large scope and importance, it convenes biannually for 4 weeks at a time at the UN Headquarters in New York. The first encounter functions much like the UN’s other principal organs, with resolutions being drafted and discussed by each nation’s delegation. As for the second meeting, it is composed only of the world’s main finance ministers, such as those in the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the World Bank and the ILO (International Trade Organization); in both meetings however, non-governmental bodies are invited to the discussions with consultative status, serving only to orient decisions and having no voting privileges.
One of the most relevant resolutions recently passed by the Economic and Social Council was the 2009/33 ECOSOC resolution on a “Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS”. The resolution addressed the issue (which has already been discussed many times in other committees) through another perspective, aiming to outline a clear plan economic plan for the issue. Many nations which suffer from HIV/AIDS do not have the economic capacity to properly fund aid or prevention mechanisms for these diseases, making them once again vulnerable to outbreaks. The resolution, then, solves this economic issue while still putting in place a plan for implementing these sources of aid and prevention into these nations’ societies. As a whole, it is an innovative resolution that tackles an often-discussed issue from another lens.
Discussing the implementation of an international standard for minimum wage
Addressing the impact of economic sanctions in vulnerable nations
Pedro de Marchi
Antonio Pedro Tavares