What are the main functions of the ? Explain different 'functional commissions attached to it.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is a principal organ of the United Nations which acts as the principal organ of the UN system. It was established in 1945.

Main functions: The main functions of ECOSOC are

  • Advancement of the three dimensions of sustainable development i.e. economic, social and environmental.
  • It serves as the central platform for fostering and formulating discussions, innovative thinking, and putting efforts to implement internationally decided resolutions.
  • It is also responsible for conducting UN conferences and summits (one four-week session every year) and meeting with the World Bank and IMF.

Functional commissions: Several functional commissions are attached to it. Some are active and others were disbanded and got replaced.

Active commissions:

  • Commission for Social Development- It was established in 1946 to advise and assist in the implementation of its work. It is associated with the implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action.
  • Commission on Narcotic Drugs- It acts as the central drug policy-making body within the UN system and performs duties supervised by the international drug control conventions.
  • Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice- It provides guidance in the matter of crime prevention and criminal justice to the United Nations.
  • Statistical Commission- It is associated with providing assistance to the council in the matter of development of national statistics, coordination of the statistical work of specialized agencies, development of the central statistical services, advising collection, analysis and dissemination of statistical information.
  • Forum on Forests- Responsible for implementation of agreements related to forest, fostering international cooperation, policy development, monitoring, assessing and creating reports on progress, provide strong commitment for sustainable development.
  • Commission on Science and Technology for Development- It looks after the specific issues related to science and technology for development.
  • Commission on the Status of Women- It is associated with promotion of gender equality and women empowerment.
  • Commission on Population and Development- Responsible for monitoring, reviewing and assessing the implementation of the Programme of Action adopted in the International Conference on Population and Development.

Disbanded and replaced commissions: Commission on Human Rights was replaced by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The Commission on Sustainable Development was replaced by the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.


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