Forty-five Member States of the United Nations serve as members of the Commission at any one time. The Commission consists of one representative from each of the 45 Member States elected by the Economic and Social Council on the basis of equitable geographical distribution:
- 13 members from Africa
- 11 from Asia
- nine from Latin America and Caribbean
- eight from Western Europe and other States
- four from Eastern Europe
Members are elected for a period of four years.
The Bureau of the Commission plays a crucial role in facilitating the preparation for, and in ensuring the successful outcome of the annual sessions of the Commission. Bureau members serve for two years. In 2002, in order to improve its work and ensure continuity, the Commission decided to hold the first meeting of its subsequent session, immediately following the closure of the regular session, for the sole purpose of electing the new Chairperson and other members of the Bureau (ECOSOC decision 2002/234).
The Bureau for the 59th session (2015) comprised the following members:
- Ms. Kanda Vajrabhaya (Thailand), Chair (Asia-Pacific States Group)
- Mr. Mohamed Elbahi (Sudan), Vice-Chair (African States Group)
- Ms. Pille Kesler (Estonia), Vice-Chair (Eastern European States Group)
- H.E. Mr. Rubén Ignacio Zamora Rivas (El Salvador), Vice-Chair (Latin American and Caribbean States Group)
- Ms. Christine Löw (Switzerland), Vice-Chair (Western European and other States Group)