Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

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  • ECOSOC
    • Role
      • It coordinates the social and economic work of UN's agencies.
    • Strengths
      • Coordinates with a variety of aid agencies, each with a different focus on development.
      • Advanced the principle that development shouldn't be measured simply in economic terms. Human development needs to be understood much more broadly.
      • Administers a growing number of agencies that address different challenges.
        • The UN Development Programme coordinates development programmes in 177 nation states and since 1990 has published Human Development reports.
        • Includes the UN's Environment Programme, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UN Human Rights Council and the UN Children's Fund.
      • Has given development greater global significance by establishing and publicising global targets like the Milennium Development Goals (2000-15) and the Sustainable Development Goals.
    • Criticisms
      • Accused of being bureaucratic and cumbersome. According to Helen Clark, who headed the UN Development Programme from 2009-17, it has very little sense of strategic planning.
      • Accused of being fragmented, with different agencies fulfilling the same role and competing for the same resources.
      • Large number of development agencies operating in one country means their jurisdiction overlaps so much that accountability is blurred and delivery impeded.
      • Important roles within ECOSOC are determined less on merit than on ensuring all states feel adequately represented. Saudi Arabia sits on the UNHRC as no other country competed for its seat.

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