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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers an overview of the ECOSOC since its establishment as one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. It explores its functions, structure, organization, working methods, and evolution over time. It also contains an analysis of ECOSOC’s impact, and especially the difficulties encountered over its lifetime to resolve an inherent tension with the General Assembly, given the overlapping in both of these organs’ remit and their ambiguous relationship. Those tensions were the drivers of numerous reform proposals over the years in the quest for greater relevance. Especially noteworthy is the outburst of initiatives since 2005 to find a firmer anchor to ECOSOC’s role in the wider governance structure of the United Nations, which suggest placing the ECOSOC decisively ‘under the authority of the General Assembly.’

Keywords: development pillar, ECOSOC, General Assembly, UN reform, UN subsidiary bodies

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