Skip to main content
UN Library logo
Research Guides

UN Documentation: Economic and Social Council

Economic and Social Council Documentation

LEFT:  A girl at the Mother and Child Health Center in Mogadishu, Somalia, during a visit by Zainab Bangura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict. The SRSG also visited Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and women’s shelters as part of her visit to Somalia. 02 April 2013. Mogadishu, Somalia. RIGHT: The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held a panel discussion on 'Partnerships for effective humanitarian assistance in support of national, regional and international efforts'. Valerie Amos (left), Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, speaks at the event. 20 July 2012. United Nations, New York

The 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.

Under General Assembly resolution 68/1, ECOSOC shifted its work programme to a July-July cycle but continues to hold one substantive and one organizational session per year as has been the practice. Its substantive session is divided into the following segments:

  • High-level segment,
  • Operational activities for development segment,
  • Humanitarian affairs segment
  • Integration segment

In addition to the above segments, the Council also holds coordination and management meetings and financing for development meetings during its substantive session.

With the new July-July cycle, the organizational session is now held in July and not in February as was the previous practice.

The basic format for the symbols of ECOSOC documents is:

  • symbol pattern: E/year/sequential number
  • example: E/2016/100

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