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The Human Rights Council is an intergovernmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them. It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. It meets at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

What the Council does
Serves as an international forum for dialogue on human rights issues with UN officials and mandated experts, states, civil society, and other participants;
Adopts resolutions or decisions during regular sessions that express the will of the international community on given human rights issues or situations. Adopting a resolution sends a strong political signal which can prompt governments to take action to remedy those situations;
Holds crisis meetings known as special sessions to respond to urgent human rights situations, 36 of which have been held to date;
Reviews the human rights records of all United Nations Member States via the Universal Periodic Review;
Appoints the Special Procedures, independent human rights experts who serve as the eyes and ears of the Council by monitoring situations in specific countries or by looking at specific themes; and
Authorizes commissions of inquiry and fact-finding missions, which produce hard-hitting evidence on war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The different mechanisms and entities of the Council
The Human Rights Council consists of different mechanisms and entities, as set out in the Council’s 'Institution-building package' (Resolution 5/1) of 2007. These include:

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a State-led mechanism that regularly assesses the human rights situations of all United Nations Member States.
The Special Procedures are individuals or groups, not employed by the UN, who speak out on themes such as education, health, free speech, and human trafficking, as well as on country situations including Ukraine, DPRK, Eritrea, and Iran, among others.
The Advisory Committee serves as the Council’s “think tank,” providing it with expertise and advice on thematic human rights issues.
The Complaint Procedure allows people and organizations to bring human rights violations to the attention of the Human Rights Council.
There are several more mechanisms, including platforms for dialogue and groups dedicated to evolving legal human rights instruments. Learn more about the full breadth of the Human Rights Council's mechanisms, bodies and forums.

"The Economic and Social Council is at the heart of the United Nations system to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. It is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus on ways forward, and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals. It is also responsible for the follow-up to major UN conferences and summits.
The UN Charter established ECOSOC in 1945 as one of the six main organs of the United Nations."

Coordination within the UN

ECOSOC links a diverse family of subsidiary bodies and UN entities (Organigram) dedicated to sustainable development, providing overall guidance and coordination. These include regional economic and social commissions, functional commissions facilitating intergovernmental discussions of major global issues, expert bodies establishing important global normative frameworks, and specialized agencies, programmes and funds at work around the world to translate development commitments into real changes in people’s lives.

Reforms over the last decade, particularly General Assembly resolutions 68/1, 72/305 and 75/290 A, have strengthened ECOSOC’s leading role in identifying emerging challenges, promoting innovation, and achieving a balanced integration of the three pillars - economic, social and environmental- of sustainable development. The 2021 review, which was undertaken together with the resolutions on the High-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF), bolstered ECOSOC’s Charter mandate as a coordinator, convener and specialized body for policy dialogue, policy-making and forger of consensus towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as other major UN /conferences and summits under its purview, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to address other major global challenges and new issues. Resolution 75/290A thus strengthened the coordination role of the Council, and it also reinforced its deliberative nature. Furthermore, resolutions 75/290A and 75/290B enhanced the coordination between the work of ECOSOC and the HLPF.

Partnership with the rest of the world

Building on its coordination role within the UN system, ECOSOC is a gateway for UN partnership and participation by the rest of the world. It offers a unique global meeting point for productive dialogues among policymakers, parliamentarians, academics, foundations, businesses, youth and 3,200+ registered non-governmental organizations.

A spotlight on global issues

Each year, ECOSOC structures its work around an annual theme of global importance to sustainable development. This ensures focused attention, among ECOSOC’s array of partners, and throughout the UN development system.  By emphasizing combined economic, social and environmental concerns, ECOSOC encourages agreement on coherent policies and actions that make fundamental links across all three.

ECOSOC’s annual High-Level Segment includes:
High-Level Political Forum provides political leadership, guidance and recommendations for sustainable development, and reviews progress in implementing sustainable development commitments.
High-level Segment, held on an annual basis, represents the culmination of ECOSOC's annual cycle of work and convenes a diverse group of high-level representatives from Government, the private sector, civil society and academia.

Other segments, forums, and meetings encompass:

Coordination Segment promotes the work of subsidiary bodies of ECOSOC and the UN system to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Humanitarian Affairs Segment strengthens coordination of UN humanitarian efforts
Operational Activities for Development Segment provides overall guidance for UN funds and programmes
Management Segment reviews reports of ECOSOC subsidiary and expert bodies; promotes UN system coordination on development issues; and considers special country or regional concerns

Development Cooperation Forum reviews trends and progress in development cooperation
Multi-stakeholder forum on science, technology and innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals discusses science, technology and innovation cooperation around thematic areas for the implementation of the sustainable development goals, congregating all relevant stakeholders to actively contribute in their area of expertise.
Youth Forum brings youth voices into discussions on global policy-making on development issues of the day

Partnership Forum encourages collaboration among Governments, businesses and foundations, non-governmental organizations, academia and Parliamentarians

Forum on Financing for Development follow-up reviews the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, other financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


ECOSOC Special Meeting on International Cooperation in Tax Matters provides an opportunity to address emerging issues of tax policy and administration.

Special meetings to address global development emergencies or crises, to raise awareness and to serve as a high level policy platform for coordination of actors working on a specific situation.

The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) was established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution 1992/1, upon request of General Assembly (GA) resolution 46/152, as one of its functional commissions.
The Commission acts as the principal policymaking body of the United Nations in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice. ECOSOC provided for the CCPCJ's mandates and priorities in resolution 1992/22, which include improving international action to combat national and transnational crime and the efficiency and fairness of criminal justice administration systems. The CCPCJ also offers Member States a forum for exchanging expertise, experience and information in order to develop national and international strategies, and to identify priorities for combating crime.
The CCPCJ holds annual regular sessions as well as intersessional meetings. Towards the end of each year, the CCPCJ meets at a reconvened session to consider budgetary and administrative matters as the governing body of the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme.
In 2006 the GA adopted resolution 61/252 which further expanded the mandates of the CCPCJ to enable it to function as a governing body of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and to approve the budget of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Fund.
The CCPCJ is the preparatory body to the United Nations Crime Congresses. Declarations adopted by the congresses are transmitted through the CCPCJ and the ECOSOC to the GA for endorsement.


The Commission guides the UN in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice. It takes action through resolutions and decisions.


The CCPCJ has 40 member States that are elected by ECOSOC and is chaired by a Bureau, including one member per Regional Group.


The CCPCJ develops policy on crime through resolutions and decisions, standards and norms, as well as thematic discussions and expert groups.


The Commissions actively contributes to the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, as sustainable development and the mandates of the Commissions are strongly interrelated and mutually reinforcing.

Who We Are: WHO is the United Nations agency that connects nations, partners and people to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable – so everyone, everywhere can attain the highest level of health. What we do: WHO leads global efforts to expand universal health coverage. We direct and coordinate the world’s response to health emergencies. And we promote healthier lives – from pregnancy care through old age. Our Triple Billion targets outline an ambitious plan for the world to achieve good health for all using science-based policies and programmes. From our longstanding Geneva headquarters to our 6 regional offices, 150 country offices and other offices around the world, WHO plays an essential role improving local health systems and coordinating the global response to health threats. Discover how we work to support the efforts of governments and partners to ensure everyone, everywhere has an equal chance at a safe and healthy life.

World Health Organization's Office at the United Nations
The WHO Office at the United Nations (WUN) represents the interests of WHO at the United Nations (UN) and functions as the Organization’s main interlocutor with the UN system in New York. The Office facilitates the participation of WHO and its Director-General in meetings of the UN Security Council, the General Assembly of the UN, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as well as other intergovernmental forums, interagency briefings, events and interaction with the UN Press Corps.

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was established by Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution 9(I) in 1946, to assist the ECOSOC in supervising the application of the international drug control treaties. In 1991, the General Assembly (GA) expanded the mandate of the CND to function as the governing body of UNODC. The CND's agenda has two distinct segments: a normative segment for discharging treaty-based and normative functions; and an operational segment for exercising the role as the governing body of UNODC.
The CND meets annually and adopts a range of decisions and resolutions. Intersessional meetings are convened throughout the year. Towards the end of each year, the Commission meets at a reconvened session to consider budgetary and administrative matters as the governing body of the United Nations drug programme.
In 2019, the Commission adopted the Ministerial Declaration on Strengthening actions at the national, regional and international levels to accelerate the implementation of joint commitments made to jointly address and counter the world drug problem. In the Declaration, Member States decided to review the progress made in implementing the policy commitments in 2029, with a mid-term review in 2024. The Commission actively works on the follow-up to the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, to accelerate the implementation of all international drug policy commitments.

The CND reviews and analyzes the global drug situation, considering supply and demand reduction. It takes action through resolutions and decisions.

The CND has 53 member states that are elected by ECOSOC. It is chaired by a Bureau including one member per Regional Group.


The CND adopted the 2019 Ministerial Declaration to accelerate the implementation of joint commitments to address and counter the world drug problem.

The CND is mandated to decide on the scope of control of substances under the three international drug control conventions (1961, 1971 and 1988 Conventions).

The CND holds an annual regular session, intersessional meetings and a reconvened session, as well as informal consultations and special events.

For the regular session and the reconvened session of the CND, pre- and in-session documentation, as well as a report are prepared.

The CND has five subsidiary bodies: the Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific and Africa, and the Subcommission in the Near and Middle East.

The CND Secretariat issues publications relating to the international drug control conventions, as well as brochures on recent issues and e-learning tools.

As functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council, the CND contributes to the work of the ECOSOC and the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The Commission actively contributes to the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, as sustainable development and the mandates of the Commission are interrelated and mutually reinforcing.

We are a global network advocating for drug policies that advance social justice and human rights. A key role and added value of IDPC is the production of policy analysis for a broad range of audiences including academia, civil society and policy makers. The majority of these publications are collaborations with members and partners, and are translated into multiple languages to support and facilitate advocacy.

Human Rights We work to ensure that the abuses associated with drug policies are consistently taken into consideration by human rights bodies both at the UN level and regionally, such as the Human Rights Committee, or the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. Together with our membership and partners, we advocate for the effective inclusion of these standards in drug policies designed at international, regional, and national level.

Health Our work promotes the prioritisation of health outcomes over punishment, ensuring access to adequately-funded and evidence-based harm reduction, treatment and prevention services, as well as controlled medicines. An evidence-based harm reduction approach can significantly lessen and repair this damage. Harm reduction takes a pragmatic and non-judgemental approach to supporting people who use drugs, and encompasses a range of practices and services including needle and syringe programmes, drug consumption rooms, medication assisted treatments, drug checking, overdose prevention, and much more. It includes peer-led and peer-delivered services, and is widely supported and promoted by UN agencies, governments, donors and academics – in both prison and community settings.

Development IDPC and its members have been at the forefront of the discussion of how to better align drug control with development objectives. The SDGs in particular offer a useful framework to promote access to healthcare, reduce poverty, ensure gender equality, promote access to justice, etc. IDPC has specifically looked at how the SDG indicators could be used to revise the way drug policy success is evaluated at national and international level.

Policy principles

IDPC members agree to promote five core policy principles in our advocacy work with governments and international agencies. Drug policies should:

Be developed through an objective assessment of priorities and evidence.
Comply with national, regional and international human rights principles, laws and standards.
Focus on reducing the harmful consequences, rather than the scale, of drug use and markets.
Promote social justice and the inclusion of marginalised groups, rather than focus on punitive measures towards them.
Be developed and implemented based on open and constructive relationships with civil society and affected populations.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. The Convention's far-reaching approach and the mandatory character of many of its provisions make it a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to a global problem. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) acts as custodian of the UNTOC and its protocols. As of 27 February 2023, it has 191 parties,[10] which includes 186 United Nations member states, the Cook Islands, the Holy See, Niue, the State of Palestine, and the European Union.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) recognizes the role of civil society in preventing and combating corruption under Article 13, by calling on governments to increase transparency, improve public access to information and to promote public contributions to the government decision-making process. Article 13 also recognizes the role of civil society to raise public awareness regarding the existence, causes and gravity of and the threat posed by corruption.

The Civil Society Unit (CSU) bolsters the capacity and engagement of civil society, especially from developing countries, by delivering trainings to CSOs on UNCAC and its review mechanism. The CSU also supports CSO engagement in intergovernmental meetings and provides the necessary tools for them to work constructively with their governments and the private sector on UNCAC implementation.

The VNGOC is a vital link between civil society and UN agencies, promoting contacts and collaboration with the relevant international agencies, offices and fora. We provide information on NGO activities and draw attention to areas of concern. We build partnerships between governmental and non-governmental organisations and involve a wide sector of civil society in contributing to the development of global drug policies.

What We Do
We provide a vital link between NGOs and the Vienna-based agencies involved in setting drug policy:
the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND),
the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), 
and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 

UNODC recognizes the need to promote strong partnerships with civil society organizations in dealing with the complex issues of drug abuse and crime which undermine the fabric of society. The active involvement of civil society, which includes NGOs, community groups, labour unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations and foundations is essential to help UNODC carry out its global mandates. UNODC Civil Society Unit (CSU) is the main entry point for non-governmental stakeholders and serves as a bridge between these stakeholders and UNODC substantive offices, field offices and the Member States. Located within the Office of the Director for the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs of UNODC, the CSU carries out the following main functions:
Supporting the participation of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in intergovernmental meetings, in line with relevant UNODC mandates and rules of procedure for the respective intergovernmental bodies.
Building capacity of non-governmental stakeholders to help them improve their knowledge of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols Thereto, and related International Drug Policy Instruments. It does so together with relevant substantive offices.
Maintaining a database of non-governmental stakeholders. The CSU carries out these functions in close collaboration with relevant UNODC substantive offices, including Crime and Economic Branch, Organized Crime Branch, Drug Prevention and Health Branch, the Secretariat to the Governing Bodies, and relevant Field Offices. The CSU also partners with umbrella organizations such as the UNCAC Coalition, Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs, and the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

Whats On Platform: The United Nations What's On Platfrom, is a multi-stakeholder workshops, regional conferences and roundtable discussions, UNODC engages CSOs, governments and the private sector in a constructive dialogue and sharing of experiences, lessons learned and good practices regarding anti-corruption and UNCAC review mechanism implementation

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