United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

Commission économique et sociale des Nations Unies pour l'Asie et le Pacifique (CESAP)
Comisión Económica y Social de las Naciones Unidas para Asia y el Pacifico (CESPAP)

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28 Mar 1947, provisionally, by Resolution 37 (IV) of United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), as United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) -- Commission économique des Nations Unies pour l'Asie et l'Extrême-Orient (CEAEO) -- Comisión Económica de las Naciones Unidas para Asia y el Lejano Oriente (CEPALO). Present name adopted 1 Aug 1974 by ECOSOC Resolution 1895 (LVII), to reflect the much broader developmental goals and geographical reach that it had by then acquired. Its mandate was broadened further in 1977 by the General Assembly which recognized ESCAP and other regional commissions as the main general economic and social development centres within the United Nations system for their respective regions and as executing agencies for inter-country development projects in their own right. Previously also known under the acronym UNESCAP. A regional commission of United Nations (UN).


Original mandate: assist in regional reconstruction efforts of countries devastated by war. This mandate was subsequently broadened to encompass development issues in general. Programmes and projects aim to stimulate growth, improve socio-economic conditions and help build the foundations of modern society. Mission Statement: reduce poverty, manage globalization and address emerging social issues.

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Acts as think-tank and catalyst for such major regional ventures such as the Asian Development Bank and Asian Highway Network. In the absence of any other such institutional arrangement for region-wide, high-level political assembly, constitutes a forum for governments in the Asia-Pacific region. At ministerial-level, provides an opportunity for governments to meet every year to review and discuss economic and social issues in order to promote and strengthen regional cooperation. Technical assistance, provided through ESCAP's in-house multidisciplinary capability, focuses chiefly on direct advisory services to governments, training and pooling of regional experience and information through meetings, publications and inter-country networks. Implementing project to form a network of centres of education, training and research in transport planning and policy development and logistics in the region. Divisions/Centres, each conducting its own meetings, projects and publications. Priority areas include: promotion of intra-regional trade and investment; transfer of technology; privatization and entrepreneurship; environment; urbanization; poverty alleviation; drug abuse control; population; social development; labour migration.

Regional research and training institutions (4):

 • Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM);

 • Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT);

 • Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT);

 • Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP).

The work of ESCAP is organized under 3 thematic areas:

'Poverty Reduction': Poverty and Development Division - helps reduce poverty through research and operational activities, analyses, tests, documents and disseminates innovative policies and practices in poverty reduction; provides practical advice and assistance in adapting and replicating proven good practices and programmes in poverty reduction that target the most vulnerable groups in society, including women; monitors and analyses global, regional and sub-regional economic and social trends and development issues that have an impact on poverty levels. Statistics Division - works to strengthen the statistical infrastructure in countries of the region and helps them monitor their progress towards achieving the 'Millennium Development Goals'.

'Managing Globalization': Trade and Investment Division - through a mix of research and operational activities, works to assist developing countries cope with the strains placed on their economies by the increasing pace of globalization and provides training to improve understanding of the complexities of the Doha Development process to officials from countries preparing to apply for WTO membership. Includes UNESCAP - Regional Trade Information Network (TISNET). Environment and Sustainable Development Division - works to promote regional and sub-regional cooperation and capacity-building for the sustainable development of natural resources, with a focus on energy and water sectors, and to strengthen national capacities for achieving environmentally sound development. Transport and Tourism Division - by providing technical advice and shared knowledge, works to assist Member Governments develop efficient regional and interregional transport linkages, improve infrastructures and promote sustainable tourism at the national, sub-regional and regional levels. Information, Communication and Space Technology Division - promotes regional cooperation and an enabling environment for the development, transfer and application of information, communication and space technology; works to address critical regional issues such as cyber-crime. 'Addressing Emerging Social Issues': Emerging Social Issues Division - works to identify emerging social issues, especially those that directly affect the poor and other vulnerable and disadvantaged groups of people in the region; works to increase awareness and understanding of how various issues, like population ageing, lowered fertility rates and HIV/AIDS affect each country and the region as a whole. Special emphasis is also placed on ways to empower women and prevent the stigma and discrimination of persons with disabilities. One centre and 2 programme supports are: ESCAP/POC - provides technical assistance to the Pacific island countries; Programme Management Division; Administrative Services Division.

Annual Session held in Bangkok (Thailand) since 1995 (exceptions in Events).


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Chinese, English, French, Russian.


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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 17 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 25 non-governmental organizations.
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Members in 62 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Society
    • Social
    • Disadvantaged
  • Industry
    • Reconstruction
  • Defence
    • War
  • Economics
    • Economic
  • International Relations
    • United Nations
    • Planetary Initiatives
  • Development
    • Development

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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