The UNDESA Database on Economic and Social Councils (ESCs) and similar institutions contains a per-country Global Directory of institutions and other bodies or arrangements within the government structure that directly or indirectly provide for civil society organizations to engage in policy dialogue.


The Database includes only national economic and social councils and other similar institutions that address the processes of macro-economic policy making. Though the primary focus of most ESCs are on economic and labour policies, these issues are often mainstreamed along with social, environmental and other issues relating to poverty reduction.


Stemming from its work on participatory governance, the Division of Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) has taken a particular interest in the significance of ESCs as multi-stakeholder consultative bodies that promote civic engagement in macro-economic policy making, and their unique feature of bringing the concerns and views of civil society organizations, private sector, trade unions, non-governmental organizations and academics into the policy deliberations.


This Global Directory is the initial phase of what the Division plans to expand into a wider body of research that will showcase strategies and best practices that have been instrumental in fostering broad civic participation in public policies. Each Global Directory entry contains contact details and a general description of the mandate, structure, and work of the Council. The directory will be continuously updated, and more detailed country profiles will be added in the future.


Please see the Methodology of the database, including a background note on the Division's work on ESCs.