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Return To: The 2019 AMUN Handbook

Introduction to ECOSOC and Report Writing Bodies 

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

The Economic and Social Council is the primary body that addresses the economic, social, humanitarian and cultural work of the United Nations system. It also has a mandate to coordinate the activities of United Nations technical and specialized agencies and programs. The Economic and Social Council oversees five regional economic commissions and eight functional, or subject-matter, commissions. The Economic and Social Council is composed of 54 Member States elected by the General Assembly for three-year renewable terms.

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ECOSOC at AMUN ECOSOC at AMUN

AMUN simulates ECOSOC as a Special Committee on a rotating basis. Much like the General Assembly bodies, ECOSOC’s primary initiative is to discuss the designated topics and produce, preferably by consensus, resolutions. A resolution will often provide historical context for a topic or issue as well as present a path forward for Member States and for international institutions. A resolution must be in the purview of the committee that passes it, and it must contain at least one preambular clause and one operative clause. For more information on resolution formatting, requirements and best practices, please reference this handbook or speak with the committee Rapporteur at Conference.

When ECOSOC is simulated at AMUN, it has delegate assigned to it for the duration of the Conference, including the ECOSOC plenary session on Tuesday afternoon. On years when ECOSOC is not a distinct simulation, AMUN still convenes the body for a plenary session on the last day of the Conference, run concurrently with the General Assembly Plenary (Combined) session. In these years, this Plenary session is attended by representatives from ECOSOC Member States that have participated in other simulations throughout Conference. The purpose of the ECOSOC Plenary session is to receive and accept the draft reports presented by representatives from each reporting body in a fashion similar to that of the General Assembly Plenary accepting resolutions. However, given the nature of reports and the relationship between report writing bodies and ECOSOC, voting “yes” on a report in the Plenary session does not signal acceptance of the recommendations contained in the report, but rather is an acknowledgement that work on the report has been completed.

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Report Writing Bodies and their Role at AMUN Report Writing Bodies and their Role at AMUN

Each year, AMUN simulates two bodies that write reports rather than resolutions. These bodies, which can can be committees, councils, or commissions and which have various relationships to ECOSOC, are sometimes called “Report Writing Bodies” (RWB). These bodies have a unique function within the United Nations system, and delegates to these bodies are often subject-matter experts on the topics being discussed in the simulation. Their role, rather than to produce resolutions that lay out a course of action, is to collaboratively produce reports on topics in their purview. Reports follow a specified format, but the length, content and complexity of each report varies. Each body produces only one report on each of its topic, so collaboration and consensus-building in these committees is essential. Producing only one report also means that dissenting or minority opinions may be placed within the text of the document. AMUN has adapted the format for annual reports for use in these reporting bodies. The time constraints of the simulation allow for a format that bears many similarities to those of the United Nations, but is not identical. Just as representatives familiarize themselves with their State’s positions, they must also do the same with the AMUN report format.

The main focus of a RWB is to create a report, not write resolutions. While reports can contain resolutions, resolutions are not necessary for the completion of a report or its subsequent adoption in ECOSOC Plenary. The report as a whole functions as a recommendation for actions that ECOSOC can take. Thus, it is of the utmost importance that the report contains a record of how the representatives of the body came to their conclusions. This is the primary function of the report’s Deliberations section, without which a report cannot exist. The nature of a report often leads to a report-building process that is highly collaborative and inclusive of all Members of the body. If a body disagrees on an issue, it is common to include all sides of the discussion and what was considered, thus allowing for consensus on the final report. More information on report components and the report writing process can be found here.

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Consultative Session Consultative Session

Both ECOSOC and reporting bodies have available to them a special rule intended to facilitate their work: Consultative Session. Consultative Session is a designated period of time in which the Committee is still in session but the formal rules of debate, with the exception of Rule 2.2 Diplomatic Courtesy, are suspended. It is moderated by whomever the body chooses for the role, with the first Consultative Session usually being moderated by a Rapporteur. Consultative Sessions allow for free and open exchange between representatives in a less-formal setting than is created in formal debate. It is an expedient method of accomplishing many of the report writing processes and is typically also used to pass the Executive Summary, which is the final piece of a report.

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A Note About AMUN’s Simulation Philosophy A Note About AMUN’s Simulation Philosophy

The Conference exists to provide a safe and educational environment for both representatives and AMUN Secretariat members to grow and learn. At the root of this is one of AMUN’s founding principles – to create the most realistic simulation possible by mirroring the beliefs and processes of the United Nations. Diplomacy is a tool with the power to change lives for the better. Our Report Writing Bodies offer another perspective on diplomacy as Representatives work with a small group throughout Conference to build not a single resolution, but an entire report. Report writing leads to a non-competitive free flowing exchange of ideas that ultimately helps build an intensely collaborative environment and informs ECOSOC on the actions it should take regarding the complex international issues that make up the RWB topics.

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Research and Resources Available Research and Resources Available

One of the most important resources available is the research and preparation done before conference. This research can greatly affect a representative’s experience in the simulation. AMUN has several suggestions for how to go about researching a State’s position, history and culture. Information to aid in this research can be found here.

In order to provide a Conference of the highest quality, AMUN Secretariat members play distinct roles inside and outside of the Committee room. Inside the Committee room, the most recognizable resources available are the dais staff: Committee Presidents and Rapporteurs.

The Committee Presidents are experts on AMUN’s Rules of Procedure. They facilitate debate by helping representatives use the rules correctly to accomplish the work of the body. They answer all questions related to the AMUN rules. Presidents (and Vice Presidents) also observe substantive debate and keep track of the committee’s proceedings.

The Rapporteurs are the experts on content and AMUN’s content philosophy in the committee rooms. If a representative has any questions about the Committee’s purview, Rapporteurs are a go-to source. In the RWBs, they also have an extensive knowledge of reporting procedures. Representatives can also find Rapporteurs in the Delegate Services Lab.

AMUN also provides content experts outside of committee. Home Government is available to help representatives with several tasks. If a representative would like more information on their country’s position or other information related to the simulation, Home Government processes information requests to help representatives access the information they may need. Home Government also has the ability to furnish committees with roleplayers who provide information to the entire body as opposed to an individual representative.

Lastly, should representatives like to update the rest of the Conference on how their work is coming along, the International Press Delegation (IPD) is another resource they have for spreading information, be it through an article or a Press Conference.

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