The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was established under the United Nations Charter as the principal organ to coordinate economic, social, and related work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, functional commissions and five regional commissions. The Council also receives reports from 11 UN funds and programmes. ECOSOC serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and the United Nations system. It is responsible for:

  • promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress;
  • identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems;
  • facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation; and
  • encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

It has the power to make or initiate studies and reports on these issues. It also has the power to assist the preparations and organization of major international conferences in the economic and social and related fields and to facilitate a coordinated follow-up to these conferences. With its broad mandate, the Council's purview extends to over 70 per cent of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system. The Council meets in alternating years at UN Headquarters or at the UN Office in Geneva.

The UNEP New York Office liaises closely with the Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, in the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), to ensure that environmental issues are considered by the Council under its sustainable development agenda item. Every year, the report of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum is initially considered by the Council before it is taken up by the General Assembly.
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Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established by the UN General Assembly in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit.
The work of the Commission covers a broad spectrum of economic, social and environmental issues. UNEP contributes to the work of the Commission, participating in its annual sessions on diverse thematic issues. The New York Office liaises with the Division for Sustainable (DSD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Some of the diverse thematic issues considered by the Commission over the past few years, and on which UNEP has mad significant contribution include: Africa; agriculture; drought and desertification; land; rural development; transport; chemicals; waste management (hazardous & solid waste); mining and 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption & Production. For more information please visit: