Established in 1947 in Shanghai, China, as the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) to assist in post-war economic reconstruction, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) moved its headquarters to Bangkok in January 1949.
The name was changed in 1974 to reflect both the economic and social aspects of development and the geographic location of its member countries.
ESCAP's mandate was broadened in 1977 by the General Assembly. The regional commissions have since then been the main UN economic and social development centres within the five different regions.
Strengthened by 50 years of experience as a regional think-tank, ESCAP's activities are more and more concentrated on spreading the growth momentum from its more dynamic member countries to the rest of the region.
The ultimate challenge lies in bringing the region's 680 million poor into the economic mainstream, enabling everybody to achieve a better standard of life as envisaged in the Charter of the United Nations.