The ESCWA intergovernmental machinery consists of the Commission as the highest body within the organization and, reporting to it, the subsidiary bodies of the Commission, which are the legislative and consultative committees.
Pursuant to resolutions 158 (XIV) of 5 April 1987 and 196 (XVII) of 31 May 1994, the Commission sits once every two years, in even years. Since 2006, sessions have been convened in two segments, a high officials segment and a ministerial segment.
Rule 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission stipulates that sessions shall normally be held in April, at a time to be determined by its members. Sessions can also be convened at the request of the Economic and Social Council or a majority of members of the Commission. During its regular sessions, the Commission recommends the date and venue of the next session.
The Commission is comprised of nine intergovernmental bodies: the Executive Committee and eight specialized subsidiary committees that help the Commission to formulate its work programme and act as an interface between specialists of the member countries and the Commission’s substantive experts. The Executive Committee plays a key role in steering and coordinating all ESCWA activities.
The committees report to the biennial session of the Commission and, under ESCWA resolution 219 (XX), of 27 May 1999, all but two meet once every two years. The Committee on Transport and Technical Committee on Liberalization of Foreign Trade, Economic Globalization and Financing for Development in the Countries of the ESCWA Region, however, meet on an annual basis. The committees are:
- The Executive Committee, replacing the Technical Committee pursuant to resolution 320 (XXVIII), of 18 September 2014.
- The Statistical Committee, established under resolution 179 (XVI), of 2 September 1992
- The Committee on Social Development, established under resolution 198 (XVII), of 31 May 1994
- The Committee on Energy, established under resolution 204 (XVIII), of 25 May 1995
- The Committee on Water Resources, established under resolution 205 (XVIII), of 25 May 1995
- The Committee on Transport and Logistics, established under resolution 213 (XIX), of 7 May 1997.
- The Committee on Trade Policies, established as a result of splitting the Technical Committee on Liberalization of Foreign Trade, Economic Globalization and Financing for Development in two pursuant to resolution 332 (XXX) of 28 June 2018;
- The Committee on Financing for Development, also established as a result of splitting the Technical Committee on Liberalization of Foreign Trade, Economic Globalization and Financing for Development in two pursuant to resolution 332 (XXX) of 28 June 2018.
- The Committee on Women, established under resolution 240 (XXII), of 1 October 2003.
- The Committee on Technology for Development, established under resolution 315 (XXVIII), of 18 September 2014.