ECOSOC Briefing

Promoting the Rule of Law to facilitate Economic and Social Development

For the purposes of this committee, we can define ‘economic development’ as ‘economic growth’. This is an increase in the volume good or service produced over a fixed period (usually per annum), sometimes per person; this is known as real GDP and real GDP per capita. Economic growth is caused by bettering of the quality or quantity of the four factors of production (land, labour capital, and enterprise)

Social development is measured by population size (life expectancy, fertility rate etc.) and standard of living (measured by food supply, water supply/ sanitation, healthcare etc). The Human development Index (HDI) considers life expectancy, education, and GDP and is a quantitative measure of social development.

This committee defines the question as promoting respect for the rule of law, as well as creating new law in order that the above goal may be achieved.

With regard to implementation, the UN in recent years has driven to make the rule of law more mainstream in the hope that this will improve social environments. Below is an extract from 2012 on the UN’s role in promoting the rule of law:

‘In focusing on these linkages, the Declaration builds upon the fundamental formula of the September 2005 United Nations World Summit. There is no peace without development; there is no development without peace; and there is no lasting peace and sustainable development without respect for human right. (…)

The 2011 World Development Report by the World Bank advanced this idea by offering concrete evidence that these three interlinked issues are central in breaking cycles of fragility in areas such as security, justice and jobs. Each can be strengthened through the rule of law.

We see this need for an integrated approach in conflict-torn areas where transitional justice, anchored in broad consultations, stabilizes security. By prosecuting perpetrators, we begin the process of healing. By facilitating truth and reconciliation, we allow communities to reunite. By fostering reparations and restitution, we plant the seeds for economic growth and empowerment.’

Chapter IX of the UN charter details with the UN’s intention for international economic and social co-operation:

Article 55

With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote:

a. higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development;

b. solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems; and international cultural and educational      cooperation; and

c. universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex,    language, or religion.

Article 56

All Members pledge themselves to take joint and separate action in co-operation with the Organization for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article 55.

Article 57

1.       The various specialized agencies, established by intergovernmental agreement and having wide international responsibilities, as defined in their basic instruments, in economic, social, cultural, educational, health, and related fields, shall be brought into relationship with the United Nations in accordance with the provisions of Article 63.

2.       Such agencies thus brought into relationship with the United Nations are hereinafter referred to as specialized agencies.

Article 58

The Organization shall make recommendations for the co-ordination of the policies and activities of the specialized agencies.

Article 59

The Organization shall, where appropriate, initiate negotiations among the states concerned for the creation of any new specialized agencies required for the accomplishment of the purposes set forth in Article 55.

Article 60

Responsibility for the discharge of the functions of the Organization set forth in this Chapter shall be vested in the General Assembly and, under the authority of the General Assembly, in the Economic and Social Council, which shall have for this purpose the powers set forth in Chapter X.

With regard to the how the rule of law affects one’s country, all countries would naturally feel an obligation to protect their own self interests. Think about which policies best reflect the nature of development in your country as well as what would likely be accepted by its culture/ people. All countries have a role to play in providing legislation for discussion – no country is irrelevant. In fact, as all countries have different domestic legal policy, all will have a slightly different take on things. Think about the technicalities of the rule of law within your country, what do/ don’t they want to get out of the law? What are their current positions with regard to social/ economic policies? How willing are they to change their view? Are there any pertinent issues which may see them prioritise a particular area of development (e.g. famine/ conflict)?

The main issues at stake in this debate centre on what the rule of law is trying to achieve. The primary objectives of the rule of law are:

  • To coordinate society’s smooth running such that it logistically functions
  • Punishment
  • Deterrence (for crime)
  • Protection (e.g. of the mentally ill)

Thus the foundation of this committee rests on using these functions (as well as making sure they are respected in the first place) in order to facilitate social and economic development.

Useful websites for further research include: resolution writing and general Model United Nations preparation)


  • Be mindful of the strong notion of co-operation between countries in the UN; delegates are urged to work constructively when dealing with areas of conflict of opinion, in order to ensure profitable debate.
  • Delegates are urged to get as involved as possible – the more you put into MUN, the more you will get out! (getting an award is also great for UCAS)
  • Respect other delegates’ views
  • Try to stick to the question as much as possible, without digressing too much from the fundamental issues at hand
  • Do not refer to yourself as ‘I’ but rather ‘the country of X thinks…’ or ‘the delegate pf country X thinks…’ Remember that at MUN you are representing an entire nation.
  • Have Fun!