Economic and Social Council
In accordance with the UN Charter, ECOSOC deals with economic, social and environmental challenges, such as population issues, women’s position and equality, employment, education, the drug problem, sustainable development and food supply. The Council also plays an important role in development cooperation and humanitarian assistance matters.
The Council holds one substantive session a year in July, but its several committees and commissions are active throughout the year. ECOSOC serves as a significant player in the implementation and follow-up of the UN’s world conferences. ECOSOC’s special feature is its contacts with business sector representatives, non-governmental organizations and academics. It convenes to an annual meeting with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). In these meetings the representatives discuss the organizations’ cooperation to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
ECOSOC’s importance has grown in the 21st century as a result of such events as the UN Millennium Summit, the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Finland has been active in ECOSOC in the 21st century: as a member state during the three-year terms 2003–2005 and 2010-2012, Vice-President of ECOSOC in 2003 and Ambassador Marjatta Rasi served as President of the Council in 2004/2005. During the Finnish Presidency, special attention was paid to the link between security and development.