Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is the principal UN organ for the discussion and coordination of international economic and social issues and for formulating policy recommendations for Member States and the UN system. Over 70% of the human and financial resources of the UN lie under its broad purview.
ECOSOC election procedures follow the General Assembly’s Rules of Procedure. Election requires a two-thirds majority and the largest number of votes. Members hold staggered terms of three years, and membership can be renewed immediately after it expires on December 31. Due to membership being renewable immediately after each term expires, with no limits, some states effectively have been able to hold near-permanent membership on the Council.
Longest-Standing ECOSOC Members
|Nation||Year Joined||Years on Council|
|Region||Total||Open in 2011|
|African States||14 seats||5 seats|
|Asian States||11 seats||3 seats|
|Eastern European States||6 seats||1 seat|
|Latin American and Caribbean States||10 seats||4 seats|
|Western European and other States||13 seats||5 seats|
Some Member States also serve on ECOSOC's array of commissions; they are elected by ECOSOC for three- or four-year terms.
The full list of member states on ECOSOC for 2012 is available at the main ECOSOC website.
The most recent election of 18 new members to the UN Economic and Social Council was completed on 24 October 2011. Elected to fill the above-listed open seats:
- African States: Burkina Faso, Lesotho, Libya, Nigeria, and Ethiopia
- Asian States: Indonesia, India, and Japan
- Eastern Europe: Belarus
- Latin America: Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador
- Western European and Other States:France, Germany, Spain, Irelan, and Turkey
These eighteen new members joined ECOSOC on 1 January 2012 to replace the states whose terms expire at the end of 2011. The Netherlands and Switzerland were also elected in the place of Belgium and Norway. Hungary relinquished its seat in favor of Bulgaria.
A total of 21 new or renewed seats will join ECOSOC on 1 January 2011. Three of these states are long-standing and frequent members of ECOSOC. Germany and France have both been serving on the ECOSOC council for more than 60 years, and Japan is now entering its 30th year.
The next elections will likely be held in October 2012. 18 seats will be open, as the following states' terms come to an end in 31 December 2012: Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Comoros, Egypt, Ghana, Iraq, Italy, Mongolia, Philippines, Rwanda, Slovakia, Ukraine, the United States, and Zambia.
- "UN ECOSOC Members." (UN ECOSOC, 24 October 2011)
- “GA Adopts Resolution to Strengthen ECOSOC,” ReformtheUN.org: Latest Development Issue #157 (World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy, 29 November 2006)
- “The Reform of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC): A Never-Ending Story?” by Jens Martens (World Economy & Development andGlobal Policy Forum, November 14, 2006)
- Compilation of documents and statements on ECOSOC reform from the lead-up period to the UN World Summit in 2005
- “Decisionmaking in the Economic and Social Council” by Walter R. Sharp, International Organization, Vol. 22, No. 4. (Autumn, 1968), pp. 881-901
- “The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations: An Issues Paper” by Gert Rosenthal, Dialogue on Globalization, Occasional Papers No. 15. February 2005.
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