November 5 - Issue 36 - Elections for Economic and Social Council This Week

New York, November 5, 2007 - The General Assembly will meet to elect 18 members of the UN Economic and Social Council on Thursday, November 8.

All five UN regional groupings are submitting "clean slates" of candidates. In other words, each region agreed to endorse the same number of candidates as seats available, in advance of the election.

Regardless of regional support, each candidate still must receive an affirmative vote from two-thirds of all UN Member States present and voting.

The elected members will hold three-year terms from January 1, 2008 until December 31, 2010. The terms are renewable.

Background

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is the UN's principal organ for the discussion and coordination of international economic and social issues and for formulating policy recommendations for Member States and the UN system. Under ECOSOC's purview are over 70 percent of the UN system's human and financial resources.

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

  • African States: 14 seats
  • Asian States: 11 seats
  • Eastern European States: 6
  • Latin American and Caribbean States: 10
  • Western European and Other States (WEOG): 13

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.

In last year's election, the only seats contested were in the Eastern European and Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) groups. For the LAC region, four candidates ran for three seats, and in the first round Barbados, Bolivia, and El Salvador received the necessary two-thirds majority support. Argentina received less than two-thirds and therefore was eliminated from the election. The Eastern European contest between Belarus and Bulgaria required nine rounds of votes and ended with Bulgaria's withdrawal a week after the elections began.

This year even those two regions have agreed on candidates in advance.

The WEOG region does not always prepare clean slates for elections, but the de facto permanent tenure of WEOG members Canada, France, Germany, UK, and US effectively limits how many seats are open for new candidates (see chart of "Long-standing ECOSOC Members" below).

Click here for a list of current members of ECOSOC.

This Year's Election

The ECOSOC terms of 18 States will come to an end on December 31, 2007. Seven of them have been nominated for re-election. As of October 9 all of the candidacies had been endorsed by their regional groups.

While last year Africa had five seats available, this year it shall replace only four. Eastern Europe, on the other hand, has three seats to fill this year, while last year only two seats were available.

Based on the candidacies and endorsements submitted to the UN Secretariat, the election is expected to proceed as follows.

Region

Seats Available

Candidates

Africa

 

4 - Replacing:

Chad

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Guinea

South Africa

4

Cameroon

Congo

Mozambique

Niger

 

Asia

 

4 - Replacing:

China

India

Pakistan

Thailand

4

China (Re-election)

Malaysia

Pakistan (Re-election)

Republic of Korea

Eastern Europe

 

3 - Replacing:

Albania

Lithuania

Russian Federation

 

3

Moldova

Poland

Russian Federation (Re-election)

 

Latin America and the Caribbean

 

3 - Replacing:

Brazil

Costa Rica

Mexico

 

3

Brazil (Re-election)

Saint Lucia

Uruguay

 

 

Western Europe and Others

4 - Replacing:

Denmark

Iceland

New Zealand

United Kingdom

 

4

Iceland (Re-election)

New Zealand (Re-election)

Sweden

United Kingdom (Re-election)

 

 

The eighteen new (or re-elected) members will join ECOSOC on 1 January 2008.

 

Long-standing and Frequent Members of ECOSOC

Due to membership being renewable immediately after each term expires, with no limits, some States have been able to hold near-permanent membership on the Council. Canada has held a seat since 1981, except for only two years (2002-2003), and the United States has held a seat continually since 1946.

Longest-Standing ECOSOC Members

Nation

Year Joined

Years on the Council

 

USA

1945

62

France

1946

61

Germany

1974

60

Russia

1947

60

UK

1947

60

China

1972

35

Canada

1981

26

Japan

1982

25

 

UN Elections and Appointments In the News