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United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 

Established by the UN Charter, ECOSOC is composed of 54 member States elected by the General Assembly. It is the central forum for discussing international economic and social development issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to the UN system and its member States. It is responsible for promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress; identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems; facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation; and encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is authorized to make or initiate studies and reports on these issues; to prepare draft conventions; to call international conferences, and to facilitate a coordinated follow-up to their decisions. 

ECOSOC provides policy guidance for 10 functional commissions -including the Commission for Social Development, five regional commissions, and 14 specialized agencies; and receives reports from 11 UN funds and programs -including the United Nations Population Fund. With its broad mandate the Council's purview extends to over 70 per cent of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system.

Annual Ministerial Review | Links

Annual Ministerial Review (2008)

On July 1, 2008, ECOSOC and AARP held a side event at the Annual Ministerial Review of the Economic and Social Council at the UN Headquarters in New York. The panel entitled "Population Shifts: Challenges and Opportunities for Economic and Social sustainability" addressed demographic changes across the globe and their impact on social and economic policies. GAA’s Research Associates heard three speakers who dealt the aging aspect of these developments. 

Lucia Maria Maierá, Minister, Head of Department of Human Rights and Social Affairs, Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations
Ms. Maierá gave a short overview about the world aging population. She pointed out that Brazil must consider older persons in its policies and practices. For example, legislators are working to put more about elder human rights into the Brazilian Constitution.

Dan Zhang, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations
Dan Zhang shared information about her home country, China. She shared current and estimated population data for the future. The Chinese population is aging very rapidly, challenging the capacity of the government to meet their needs. Ms. Dan spoke some of China’s approaches to sustainable solutions and programs. 

Peggy Kelly, Programme on Ageing, Division for Social Policy and Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations
On behalf of the Programme on Ageing, Peggy Kelly updated the audience about review activities for the 2002 Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA). She alluded to the Programme’s Draft Report for the UN Secretary General that specifically mentions the “rights of older persons,” fuelling hopes that such language can survive into the official Report to the General Assembly. More, it could the basis for work to begin on a Human Rights Convention (or Treaty) guaranteeing the rights of older persons.


UN ECOSOC -Official Website

Annual Ministerial Review -Official Website

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