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ECOSOC subsidiary bodies, commissions and committees

In order to perform all the functions within the ECOSOC agenda, a number of commissions, subcommissions and committees have been established.

Functional commissions

ECOSOC functional commissions are deliberative bodies whose role is to consider and make recommendations on issues in their areas of responsibility and expertise.

Functional commissions and their document symbols are:

Functional commissions are required to report annually to the ECOSOC on their activities submitting draft resolutions and recommendations to the Council.

Previous functional commissions

Regional commissions

The ECOSOC coordinates the work of five regional commissions with the responsibility to reflect the regional dimensions of the economic and social issues addressed by the United Nations:

  • ECA - Economic Commission for Africa
  • ECE - Economic Commission for Europe
  • ECLAC - Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
  • ESCAP - Economic and social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
  • ESCWA - Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

Special committees

The ECOSOC has established a number of subsidiary organs - special committees, in order to perform its tasks and functions. Over the years there has been a considerable increase of such subsidiary organs and other additional intergovernmental bodies in the economic, social and humanitarian fields.

Apart from functional commissions and regional commissions, there are

  • Permanent committees
  • Expert committees for important tasks
  • Ad-hoc committees.

More on ECOSOC subsidiary bodies, commissions and committees

  • The subsidiary bodies of the ECOSOC publish their annual reports as a supplement to the Economic and Social Council Official Records (ESCOR). These sessional reports often have a dual symbol: E/year/- and E/CN.-/year/-. Example: E/2011/29-E/CN.17/2011/20. They include information about:
    • membership
    • dates of meetings
    • summary of discussions
    • resolutions and decisions adopted by the body
    • draft resolutions recommended for adoption by ECOSOC and/or the General Assembly.
  • Supplements are posted as Reports at the ECOSOC website.
  • Learn more about the subsidiaries in the research guide: UN Documentation : Economic and Social Council, subsidiary bodies, by Dag Hammarskjöld library (New York).

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library. UN official documents and open access publications, UN maps, UN voting data and speeches.
  • UN iLibrary. UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS. UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus is a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions


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