Reform background

Since the establishment of the United Nations (UN) in 1945, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has been subject to over a dozen proposals for reforms. Some of those proposals have been acted upon, as was the case with General Assembly Resolutions 32/197 and 50/227, both of which responded to proposals prepared by groups of experts in 1975 and 1988, respectively. The reforms have resulted in an expanded membership and new procedures to increase ECOSOC’s effectiveness.

In recent years there has been mounting international support for strengthening the role of ECOSOC both within the UN system of governance and in the governance of the global economy. Another round of important reforms was launched during the 57th General Assembly with the establishment of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on the Coordinated and Integrated Implementation of and Follow-Up to the major UN conferences and summits which led to the adoption of General Assembly resolution 57/270B. The resolution entrusted ECOSOC and its subsidiary organs with an important role in the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow up to the outcomes of the major UN conferences and summits of the 1990s.

Despite the progress made over the last years in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of ECOSOC and in strengthening ECOSOC as a central body of UN system coordination, there continued to be calls for a further strengthening of ECOSOC. At the 2005 World Summit heads of State and government have responded to this call. In paragraph 155 and 156 of the World Summit outcome document they called both for further strengthening of ECOSOC’s existing functions and strengthening ECOSOC by entrusting it with important new functions.