Magazine article UN Chronicle , Vol. 24
Special Commission to study United Nations functions and structure in economic and social fields
A Special Commission created bythe Economic and Social Council has endorsed a proposal for an analytical study of relevant and recent evaluations of the structure of the United Nations in the economic and social fields.
The body's formal title is the "SpecialCommission of the Economic and Social Council on the In-depth Study of the United Nations Intergovernmental Structure and Functions in the Economic and Social Fields'.
The United Nations Institute forTraining and Research (UNITAR) has agreed to undertake the study within existing resources, and would summarize the conclusions and recommendations of earlier relevant evaluations, highlighting any themes or trends.
Concluding its first session, theCommission agreed to adopt a methodology for its work that would include both a thematic and a functional or organic approach, with the understanding that the two approaches would be complementary.
The Special Commission, open toall Member States, met in New York in two separate sessions--the first from 2 to 6 March, the second from 18 to 20 March.
The Economic and Social Councilby its decision 1987/112 at its February organizational session established the body. That was done in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 41/213 which dealt with the recommendations of the Group of High-level Intergovernmental Experts to Review the Efficiency of the Administrative and Financial Functioning of the United Nations--the "Group of 18'.
The Group of 18 proposed that thein-depth study should include a comparative analysis of agenda, calendars and programmes of work of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and related subsidiary bodies.
The purpose of the study, the Groupstipulated, should be to:
identify measures to rationalizeand simplify the intergovernmental structure, avoid duplication and consider consolidating and co-ordinating overlapping activities and merging existing bodies in order to improve their work and make the structure more responsive to present needs;
develop criteria for establishmentand duration of subsidiary bodies, including periodic reviews of their work and mechanisms for implementing their decisions; define areas of responsibility for the various bodies, consider the establishment of a single governing body responsible for the management and control, at the intergovernmental level, of the United Nations operational activities for development; and
improve the system of reportingfrom subsidiary to principal organs and strengthen the co-operation of activities in the economic and social fields under the leadership of the Secretary-General. …