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.

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Background

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
USA 1945 67
France 1946 66
Germany 1974 65
Russia 1947 65
UK 1947 65
China 1972 40
Canada 1981 31
Japan 1982 30
(Source: Global Policy Forum)

With a total of 54 members, 18 seats are either renewed or newly elected each year according to geographical representation, as follows:

Regional Distribution of Seats
Region Total Open in 2013
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.


Recent Developments

 18 November 2013

Today the General Assembly held an election to fill 4 ECOSOC seats. Germany, Greece, Italy and Portugal were elected in a single secret ballot, to fill the unexpired term of office of Ireland, Netherlands, Spain and Turkey, commencing 1 January 2014 and expiring on 31 December 2014 in the case of Ireland, Spain and Turkey and on 31 December 2015 in the case of the Netherlands. For more see the UN Press Release . 

The full list of member states on ECOSOC for 2013 is available at the main ECOSOC website.

 

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