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UN Documentation: Economic and Social Council  

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Introduction Print Page

Economic and Social Council Documentation

The ECOSOC at workThe Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) deals with economic, social, cultural and health matters as well as human rights and fundamental freedoms.  It also coordinates the work of the UN and the specialized agencies.

Chapter X, Articles 61-72, of the UN Charter concern ECOSOC.

ECOSOC consists of 54 members, 18 of which are elected each year by the General Assembly for a three-year term.

The Rules of Procedure of the Economic and Social Council are contained in document E/5715/Rev.2 (Sales number 92.I.22). Background information about the work of the Council can be retrieved from the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs.

The ECOSOC currently holds an organizational session in the spring and a substantive session in July. The substantive session is convened alternately in New York (even years) and Geneva (odd years) and is divided into: 

  • High-level segment
  • Operational activities segment
  • Coordination segment
  • Humanitarian affairs segment 
  • General segment

The basic format for the symbols of ECOSOC documents is:

  • symbol pattern: E/year/sequential number
  • example: E/2012/100

From 1946 to 1977, the symbol pattern was E/sequential number:

Key Resources

  • Official Document System (ODS)
    United Nations official document system: provides full text search of documents issued since 1993; resolutions of all principal organ & Security Council plenary documents since 1946 ; older documents are added regularly. Includes the Daily Journals of New York and Geneva.
  • Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs
    Analytical studies of the decisions of the UN principal organs under each of the Articles of the Charter ; Comprehensive summary of the decisions of United Nations Organs, together with review of related material, organized by Charter Articles.
  • UN Meetings Coverage and Press Releases
    Available online from October 1995. Press Releases are not official documents but provide timely information on the current activities of the principal organs and subsidiary bodies, including summaries of meetings.
  • UN Yearbook
    The Yearbook of the United Nations is the principal reference work of the UN and provides a detailed overview of the Organization's activities during the course of a year. All the Yearbooks, 1945 to the most recent, are available online and provide citation to the documentation and include the full text of resolutions.
  • UN-I-QUE
    UN Info Quest (UN-I-QUE) provides citation to the symbols for documents throughout the history of the organization: each record within UN-I-QUE is historically comprehensive. UN-I-QUE does not provide citation to all documents, but to certain documents of a recurrent nature.
  • UNBISnet - Bibliographic Records
    UNBISnet is the catalogue of the UN Library in New York. In addition to the library's holdings it accesses multilingual versions of UN documents (1993-present), citation to documents (1979-present) ; metadata and online links to older documents are added regularly.
  • UNBISnet - Index to Speeches
    Provides access to meeting records of the Principal organs, beginning in the mid-1980s, by country or organization, speaker, document symbol, or topic.
  • UNBISnet - Voting Records
    Provides the recorded vote for all resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and Security Council, 1946-present. Documents can be searched by resolution symbol, keyword, or date.

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