The 54 members of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for next year have been decided after the General Assembly this week completed its annual elections for a third of the line-up of the development coordinating body.
Albania and Costa Rica were chosen today to begin three-year terms starting on 1 January next year. Their selection had been held over from yesterday after two rounds of voting in their categories failed to produce a candidate receiving a two-thirds majority.
The two countries join Australia, Brazil, Chad, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Denmark, Guinea, Iceland, India, Lithuania, Mexico, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Thailand and the United Kingdom, which were each elected yesterday to identical terms.
Every year the General Assembly selects a third of ECOSOC's roster of members, choosing candidates according to a pre-arranged formula of geographic distribution. At any one time, 14 members must be from Africa, 11 from Asia, six from Eastern Europe, 10 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 13 from the category of Western Europe and other States.
The terms of Azerbaijan, Benin, Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Turkey expire at the end of 2005.
The following nations complete their terms at the end of 2006: Armenia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Panama, Poland, Tanzania, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
ECOSOC coordinates the development work of 14 UN specialized agencies, 10 functional commissions and five regional commissions. It receives reports from 11 UN funds and programmes and issues policy recommendations to the UN system and to Member States.
From time to time, ECOSOC is given additional tasks, including supervising and promoting the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight time-bound targets that include the halving of extreme poverty by 2015.