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United Nations: An Introduction

This LibGuide was created for the purpose of providing users with a basic understanding of the United Nations, its structure, and to provide users with access to resources available online and at FIU’s Green Library.

Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), established by the UN Charter, is the principal organ to coordinate the economic, social and related work of the United Nations and the specialized agencies and institutions.  Voting in the Council is by simple majority; each member has one vote.  The Council is made up of 54 members.  The ECOSOC also contains various subsidiary bodies that produce various types of documents.

Functions and powers of ECOSOC are:

  • to serve a the central forum for discussions on international economic and social issues
  • to promote higher standards of living, full employment and economic and social progress
  • to find solutions of international economic, social, health and related problems, and international cultural and educational cooperation
  • to encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms
  • to assist the organization of major international conferences in the field of economic and social and related fields 
  • to make or initiate studies and reports with respect to international economic and social matters
  • to prepare draft conventions for submission to the General Assembly
  • to coordinate the work of the specialized agencies and programmes and their functional commissions and five regional commissions.
  • to make arrangements for consultations with non-governmental organizations

Research topics include business and economics.  ECOSOC works with a number of other organizations, including the International Money Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

This information was taken from the Dag Hammarskjold Library guide to UN documentation.)

Documents from the ECOSOC carry the following symbols: 


Economic and Social Council




Consecutive number


E/2004/18 Economic and Social Council, 2004, document no 18

Before 1978 the ECOSOC did not incorporate the year into the symbols of its documents. (This chart was taken from the Dag Hammarskjold Library guide to UN documentation.)

Click here to access ECOSOC's documents.