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The establishment of Executive Committees was an important component of the reform process launched by the Secretary-General in early 1997. They comprise the four principal sectoral areas of the Organization's work--Peace and Security, Economic and Social Affairs, Development Operations and Humanitarian Affairs, each with its own designated Convenor. The Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs (EC-ESA) is one of these four Committees with the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs serving as Convenor.

The aim in establishing these Executive Committees is to sharpen the contribution that each unit makes to the overall objectives of the Organization by reducing duplication of effort and facilitating greater complementarity and coherence. The Executive Committees are designed, therefore, as instruments of policy development, decision-making and management. The heads of United Nations entities consult with one another on work programmes as well as other substantive and administrative matters of collective concern, to identify and exploit ways of pooling resources and services so as to maximize programme impact and minimize administrative costs and more generally to facilitate joint strategic planning and decision-making.

The EC-ESA membership comprises DESA, the regional commissions, UNCTAD, UNEP, UNCHS, ODCCP, OHCHR and UNDP and also includes UNU and the research/training institutes INSTRAW, UNRISD, and UNITAR.

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