The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is one of the six main organs of the United Nations and was established in 1946 based on Article 7 of the UN Charter. With its seat in New York City, the ECOSOC consists of 54 member states since 1971 and is concerned with different tasks of the economic and social areas. Moreover, the ECOSOC is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social, environmental issues and for implementation of the internationally agreed development goals. The ECOSOC has its legitimacy and its competences based on Article 61-72 of the UN Charter and engages the realization of researches about international affairs in regards to the areas of economy, welfare, culture, education and health, It makes reports of those tasks and can craft recommendations to increase the respect of human rights and their implementation. The ECOSOC can also convoke international conferences. The council is defined by 14 African states, 11 Asian states, 6 Eastern European states, 10 Latin American and Caribbean states and a group of 13 states which represent the Western European and other states. One-third of the member states of the council will be newly elected for a triannual mandate in an annual rotation. The voting procedure is defined by the one-state-one-vote-principle. Therefore, votes and resolutions can pass with a one-third majority, but may also pass by a consensus decision, if none of the member states is against this decision. The ECOSOC can also invite a member state of the UN to its sessions and declare it as an observer, if this member state has a special interest in a concerned topic of the session. Therefore, the ECOSOC deals with a vide verity of stakeholders, policymakers, parliamentarians, academics, major groups, business sector representatives and over 3.200 registered Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). A large variety of special commissions are subsidiary bodies of the ECOSOC. The functional commissions are separated by their respective topic, while there are also commissions by region, and some commissions are composed of governmental experts. The most important responsibilities, which the ECOSOC is concerned with, are promoting sustainable development, advancing policy integration, providing coordination while building partnerships, guiding operational activities and raising awareness on emerging issues.
Topic I: Promoting Sustainable Financial Integration
Over ten years after the beginning of the great recession, the big financial crisis of our generation, this crisis is still very present in the memory of people. While not only producing a severe, global economic breakdown, it also sowed mistrust towards financial products, services and this industry as a whole. Considering this mistrust does not come from nowhere, it does not negate the positive effects and the significant role financial markets play in modern economics and society. They influence prices of commodities and via credit they enable the realization of business opportunities and give us the possibility to save money for the future.
Ideally, these individual intentions produce an efficient market outcome on the aggregate level, foster growth and consequently improve the well-being of people.
This process is governed by each country individually. This means each nation has its own framework financial market participants operate within. Consequently, markets are very heterogeneous across countries. Western economies are constituted by highly complex, fast moving markets, whereas in other countries financial products and services are relatively refined.
Despite the differences in financial market development, trade between financial markets is common. The intensity of trade between financial markets is then described by the term financial integration. Generally, financial integration refers to the degree of linkage between two financial markets. If there is a lot of cross-border financial activity, and regulatory differences do not cause any significant distortions, financial markets are highly integrated.
Supporters of financial integration argue that it enables better risk sharing for market participants, facilitates the efficient allocation of capital and consequently enhances growth and well-being in the respective economy further than independent national economies.
However, if financial markets become more integrated, they also become more exposed to possible shocks in foreign economies. The great recession stresses this fact as it emerged in the United States of America and then spread across the globe.
Due to this contagious mechanism and the possible global impact, the Economic and Social of the United Nations will discuss how global financial integration can be increased in an economic, ecological and social manner.
Topic II: Improving Measures against Corruption
Corruption is an issue that affects us all—at the local, national and international level—and challenges us to deal with it. Across the world, businesses, governments and civil society are satisfied to this challenge, as it becomes increasingly understood that corruption offends our values and threatens our societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, distorts markets, leads to violations of human rights, erodes quality of life and allows terrorism, organized crime and other threats to human security to outrush.
The measure of corruption is defined by the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) and is based on the reports of the nongovernmental organisation Transparency International. International conventions such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) play a key role in anti-corruption efforts. They provide frameworks that set anti-corruption standards and address cross-border issues. They are evidence that the international community takes corruption seriously and recognises the need for common solutions. The UNCAC is the most comprehensive of all the anti-corruption conventions. As an agreement between 170 countries, it establishes common standards, policies, processes and practices to buttress anti-corruption efforts at the national level.
The reasons for corruption are different and range from bribery within government agencies, bodies corporate organised under public law and big economic groups over bribery of armaments groups, siphoning off money of developing programmes, concealment of financial means and the bribery of courts. The measure of corruption, is mostly be found in states with a weak government and low structures. The corruption of states prevents the progress of development programmes in developing countries and the establishment of justice or laws in these countries.
Corruption can also be found in the European Council and the UN. The method of „vote buying“, in which bigger states are giving smaller states a lot of money to vote for them, is a common act of these states to take care of their interests. This method is not legitimized, but also not a forbidden.
The ECOSOC is supporting governments to fight corruption by providing guidance to this issue and making financial support to strengthen development programmes regarding organized infrastructure.