When most people envision a UN meeting, they see sharply dressed men and women dictating the course of the world. They see cunning orators backed by powerful nations controlling vast armies and deciding the fate of entire countries. They see suits fighting with vibrant eloquence, each desperately trying to make his or her stand, to have his or her say. But, nobody sees the men and women deliberating on how to protect the environment. Nobody sees the philanthropy planning the eradication of poverty. Nobody imagines the altruists devising the banishment of society’s most serious grievances.
The ECOSOC is commonly overlooked because it deals with long-lasting issues, and most of its resolutions do not generate swift corrections. However, of all the principal organs of the UN, ECOSOC is the one with the greatest chance of impacting the general populace. Whereas the Security Council and the General Assembly deal with issues at the global level, ECOSOC deliberates on issues that affect mankind at the individual level. ECOSOC, being a smaller subsidiary of the larger U.N.O, holds one supreme attribute, the attribute of specification. It is a specific committee for economic and social agendas, making it easier to understand the technicalities of its jurisdiction, and thus, is most capable in addressing the grass-root level issues and can most easily resolve all the passively sitting issues. The Millennium Development Goals are a great example of this. Each goal is geared towards mending a specific issue of society; from poverty to gender equality, from disease to child mortality, all the most pressing defects of society are addressed by these goals. ECOSOC has pursued, and will continue to pursue, these goals relentlessly since their declaration by the UN. This is not to say that the General Assembly, or the Security Council do not concern themselves with social, economic, or environmental issues – they do. But, after one of these two has passed a resolution regarding such matters, it is ECOSOC that follows up on the resolution, reviews its effectiveness, and proposes further adjustment, if any, at regular intervals.
Furthermore, of all the UN organs, it is ECOSOC which is the most farsighted in its discussions and resolutions – with environmental protection, and sustainable development as essential criteria for any decision made, it cannot afford not to be. Since the General Assembly and the Security Council focus on relatively immediate issues and threats, it is up to ECOSOC to develop plans for the more protracted risks to society.
Today’s world is beleaguered by a myriad of problems. Some of them are far away, in places we only ever see on maps. Others are closer to us, waving at us as we walk through our lives. The UN was founded to help us with those problems that we can’t deal with on our own, or those problems that require a coordinated effort to abolish. Each organ of the UN was appointed a specific task, a specific set of problems to defeat, so that we could lead enjoyable lives. More specifically, if we say the task appointed to the General Assembly and the Security Council is to ensure the existence of a world to live in, then the task appointed to ECOSOC is to ensure a society for us to live in. It is only if both these duties are carried out, that humankind can continue.