Type of entity
Authorized form of name
UN. Department of Economic Affairs
Parallel form(s) of name
Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
Other form(s) of name
Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) was established in 1955 and was restructured numerous times. DESA’s structure was reorganized most recently during the 1997 reform package that included a number of changes to the Secretariat structure. DESA provides support in the General Assembly and in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), its functional commissions and expert bodies on development issues. As of 2015, DESA is comprised of the following divisions: Population; Social Policy and Development; Public Administration and Development Management; Statistics; Financing for Development; United Nations Forum on Forests; Development Policy and Analysis; ECOSOC Support and Co-ordination; and Capacity Development Office.
The mission of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) is to “promote development for all,” with a focus on economic, social and environmental challenges. There are numerous predecessor organizations that have contributed to DESA's mission, including the Department of Economic Affairs (1946-1954); Department of Social Affairs (1946-1954); Technical Assistance Administration (TAA) (1950-1958); United Nations Office of Interagency Affairs and Coordination (IAAC) (1969-1977); Development and International Economic Cooperation (DIESA) (1978-1991); the Office of the Director-General for Development and International Economic Co-operation (1978-1991); Department of Technical Co-operation for Development (DTCD) (1978-1991); Department of Economic and Social Development (1992); Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development (1992-1996); Department for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis (1993-1996); Department for Development Support and Management Services (1993-1996). See individual subfonds for administrative histories of each predecessor organization. The USG from 1997-2002 was Nitin Desai, succeeded by José Antonio Ocampo (2003-2007), Sha Zukang (2007- 2012), and Mr. Wu Hongbo (2012-present).