“Although this council is meant to help the world attain higher standards of living, full employment and observance of human rights, most of their work appear more to represent a study of the world’s economic and social problems rather than concrete measures to create more active programs.”
To what extent are these criticisms valid?
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) consists of 54 members to discuss and make recommendations on international economic and social issues, and for formulation policy recommendations addressed to Member States and the United Nations (UN) system. It is responsible for promoting higher standards of living, identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems, facilitating international cultural education cooperation and encouraging universal respect for human rights and freedoms. However, ECOSOC’s effectiveness has been greatly questioned by countries globally, in terms of its structural constraints and policy implementations, as their actions to improve the economic and social conditions of poor countries seem less concrete than planned. Therefore, the above criticisms are largely valid.
ECOSOC has its systemic weakness, which may justify its ineffectiveness in policy implementation. The main task of ECOSOC is to coordinate the economic and social activities of the UN and its specialised agencies. However in practice, its functions are limited because each specialised agency is organised separately and is governed by its own constitution and elected bodies. Moreover, despite the demand for development work, many of ECOSOC’s intended functions have increasingly been taken over by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Several reforms have been called to address this shortcoming as it consumes considerable time, resources and energy, with little notable impact outside the UN.
Firstly, there is insufficient coordination and execution of activities outside ECOSOC. In sending out...