United Nations: India and 17 other countries were on Monday elected as new members of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).The other new members are Belarus, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Lesotho, Libya, Nigeria, Spain and Turkey, a news daily reported.

The new members will begin their three-year terms beginning January 1, 2012.

ECOSOC is the coordinating body for economic and social work of the UN agencies. It serves as a forum for discussing policy matters as well as making recommendations.

At any given time, 54 nations serve in the council, and are elected for overlapping terms based on geographic groupings to ensure that a diversity of regions are represented.

Through its discussions on international economic and social issues, the ECOSOC plays a key role in fostering cooperation for development.