Are the numerous United Nations regional commissions worthwhile? The first such commission sprang up in Europe, amid the aftermath of World War II, when a Polish-inspired resolution, passed by the General Assembly in 1947 to organize the recovery of the continent, led to the creation of the Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva. Soon, other like-minded regional bodies came into being, from Africa to Asia to Latin America, but that does not mean they all survived or have even flourished.
A new briefing from FUNDS studies the UN’s regional commissions, with financing from Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. (FUNDS is short for the Future UN Development System, a research project of the City University of New York’s Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies.) The briefing looks at the history of the commissions, their search for a role in the development of their regions and whether they remain relevant. No UN organization has ever been closed. But will the regional commissions be the first?
To read the full briefing, click here.
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Stephen Browne spent more than 30 years working in the UN system and now lectures on the UN. This essay is adapted from his latest book, “Aid and Influence: Patronage, Power and Politics,” published by Routledge in 2022.