8575 Riad-El-Solh Square
PO Box 11 8575
Mrs Rima Khalaf, Executive Secretary
Ms. Rima Khalaf  Ms. Khalaf, a national of Jordan, has a deep passion for, and knowledge of, the region and its challenges and opportunities. Four new member States, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco and Mauritania, have joined the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia under her stewardship. Key reports launched in that time include those on the repercussions of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and the landmark publication on Arab Integration – A 21st Century Development Imperative. During her tenure, from 2000 to 2006, as Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), she launched pioneering projects to promote good governance, human rights and human development in Arab States. Her work received international recognition and honours, including the Prince Claus Award and the King Hussein Leadership Prize. In December 2009, the Financial Times listed Ms. Khalaf among the top 50 people to have shaped the first decade of the 21st century. Prior to joining UNDP, Ms. Khalaf held senior policymaking positions in Jordan, as Minister for Industry and Trade (1993-1995), Minister for Planning (1995-1998) and Deputy Prime Minister (1999-2000). As head of the ministerial economic team, she led the drive to reform and modernize the economy, and rolled out a social package for building human capacity, alleviating poverty and strengthening the social safety net. A regular contributor to regional and international policy forums on global governance and development in the Arab world, Ms. Khalaf has participated in a number of international commissions, including the High-Level Commission for the Modernisation of the World Bank Group Governance (2008-2009). Ms. Khalaf holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the American University of Beirut and a Doctorate of Philosophy in system science from Portland State University. Born in 1953, she is married and has two children.      

Le CESAO ou Commission économique et sociale des Nations unies pour l'Asie occidentale, siège à Beyrouth au Liban, est un organisme dépendant de l'ONU. Elle a été établie en 1973 pour encourager la coopération économique entre ses États membres. Elle s'appelait alors Commission économique des Nations unies pour l'Asie occidentale, nom qu'elle a gardé jusqu'en 1985. C'est l'une des cinq commissions régionales du Conseil économique et social des Nations unies et lui rend compte directement. La Commission se compose de 14 États membres. Elle siège à Beyrouth au Liban.

The Economic Commission for Western Asia (ECWA) was established on 9 August 1973 pursuant to Economic and Social Council’s resolution 1818 (LV). Its purpose was to stimulate economic activity in member countries, strengthen cooperation between them promote development.

In recognition of the social component of its work, the Commission was renamed the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) under Economic and Social Council resolution 69/1985 of July 1985.

ESCWA was initially located in Beirut (1974-1982), moved to Baghdad (1982-1991) and Amman (1991-1997), and subsequently returned to Beirut, its permanent headquarters, where it has remained to this day.


  • To support economic and social development in member countries 
  • To promote interaction and cooperation between member countries
  • To encourage the exchange of experience, best practice and lessons learned
  • To achieve regional integration and ensure interaction between Western Asia and other regions
  • To raise global awareness of the circumstances and needs of member countries


ESCWA provides a framework for the formulation and harmonization of sectoral policies for member countries, a platform for congress and coordination, a home for expertise and knowledge, and an information observatory.

ESCWA activities are coordinated with the divisions and main offices of the Headquarters of the United Nations, specialized agencies, and international and regional organizations, including the League of Arab States and its subsidiary bodies, and the Gulf Cooperation Council.


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