This purpose of the United Nations finds a prominent place in the Preamble of the Charter which proclaims that the peoples of the United Nations are determined “to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.” Article 1 state that it is a primary purpose of the United Nations to achieve cooperation in solving international problems of economic social, cultural or human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction of race or sex, language or religion. These purposes of the United Nations are realized through the Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC. The delegates at the San Francisco Conference described the Council as potentially the most important of the organs of the United Nations.
It consisted of eighteen members prior to the amendment of the Charter and now since January 1, 1966, its membership has been twenty-seven, all elected by the General Assembly. Nine, as against six prior to January 1966 are elected each year and the normal term of office is three years, that is, one-third members retiring every year. Retiring members are eligible for re-election.
Each country elected to the Council has one representative with one vote and all decisions are taken by a simple majority of those present and voting. The Council is required to invite any member of the United Nations to participate, without a vote, in its deliberations on any question which is of particular interest to that member. It may also make arrangements for representatives of international specialised agencies to participate, without a vote, in the activities of the Council and its discussions. The Council elects its own President for one year and meets at least three times in a year. The Council (Article 45 of the Charter) is responsible for promoting: (a) Higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development; (b) Solutions of international economic, social, health and related problems, and international cultural and educational cooperation; (c) Universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race sex, language and religion. For the realization of its purposes the Economic and Social Council performs the following special functions: 1. It makes and initiates studies and reports on all matters within its scope either directly or through an expert commission.
2. After its investigations are complete, the Council makes its recommendations to the General Assembly or to the member-States or the specialised agencies. 3. The Council may also submit draft conventions to the General Assembly which are sent, after ratification, to the member-States for their acceptance and implementation. 4.
The Council makes arrangements with the member-States to obtain their reports on the steps taken to give effect to its recommendations, and to communicate its observations to the General Assembly. 5. The Council is entrusted with the duty of submitting information to the Security Council whenever demanded and assist in the discharge of its functions. The Council works through several Commissions, Standing Committees, ad hoc Committees, and Special Bodies. The Commissions are of two types: functional and regional.
Under the first come Economic and Employment, Transport and Communications, Statistical, Human Rights, Social Status of Women, Narcotic Drugs and Fiscal and Population problems. The Regional Commissions are: the Economic Commission for Europe, the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, the Economic Commission for Latin America, the Economic Commission for Africa, etc. There are four Standing Committees and four special bodies: The Permanent Central Opium Board, the Supervisory Body, the International Children’s Emergency Fund, and the United Nations Appeal for Children.