85th CEDAW Session

Information on the 85th CEDAW Session

IWRAW Asia Pacific is an NGO which supports the CEDAW Committee and OHCHR in facilitating participation of women’s groups/NGOs in the CEDAW review process.

China, Germany, Iceland, Sao Tome and Principe, Slovakia, Spain, Timor-Leste and Venezuela are scheduled for review at the 85th CEDAW session which will take place from 8 to 26 May 2023. Please note that the reviews of Malawi and Nicaragua have been postponed to the 86th session in October.

There are a number of ways that NGOs can engage to share their reflections on progress towards gender equality in the countries under review, highlight issues of concern, and influence recommendations made by the CEDAW Committee. OHCHR’s note on NGO participation is available in English, French and Spanish.

Although the CEDAW Committee will meet in person at the United Nations in Geneva for the 85th CEDAW Session, NGO engagement may be in person or virtual.

Submit a shadow report/alternative information to the CEDAW Committee

  • The deadline to submit a shadow report is Tuesday 11 April 2023.
  • Reports are to be submitted as a Word document to OHCHR at ohchr-cedaw@un.org, with a copy to IWRAW Asia Pacific. The word limit is 3300 (inclusive of footnotes), or 6600 for shadow reports submitted as part of a coalition. Bearing in mind the UN’s green policy, hard copies of reports should be avoided. Our website provides guidelines for writing shadow reports, including reports focusing on specific thematic areas.
  • If you have submitted a pre-session report, you have an opportunity to present updated shadow report information, and provide your alternative information to respond to the CEDAW Committee’s List of Issues and Questions which your state will have to answer. It is important that your updated report to CEDAW addresses the issues raised in the List of Issues and Questions, which is how the Committee prioritises issues for the review and seeks to address gaps in the state report. Please see the CEDAW 85th Session page for your country’s List of Issues and Questions.
  • In addition to standard and thematic shadow reports, the Committee welcomes information on the impact on women’s rights and gender equality of measures taken by the States under review to address the COVID-19 crisis, and the integration of a gender perspective into COVID-19 recovery plans.

Please inform us if your group is preparing a shadow report to CEDAW.

Engaging directly with the CEDAW Committee at the review

NGOs which have submitted a shadow report have opportunities to engage directly with the CEDAW Committee during the review:

  1. Informal public meetings with NGOs:
    • Oral interventions by NGOs are permitted during this public meeting with the Committee and State Delegates. However, on average a maximum of 10 minutes is available per country, to be shared by all NGOs. Therefore, it is not always possible to accommodate all requests to make an oral intervention. Please confirm if you are interested in making an intervention, as we will assist in coordinating with other NGOs on dividing time and identifying priority areas.
    • The deadline for adding your name to the speakers’ list is Tuesday 25 April. As part of our coordination assistance, we will send the list to OHCHR on behalf of your country group, with names in the order of presentation and with allotted times for speaking (as agreed by your group in advance).
  2. Private ‘lunchtime’ briefing with the CEDAW Committee:
    • NGOs will have an opportunity to privately brief the CEDAW Committee in a country-specific briefing before the Constructive Dialogue is held with the respective State delegates. It is an opportunity to answer any questions raised by Committee members during the informal public meeting and/or new questions that arise during the private briefing.

Dates for your calendar

Tuesday 11 April:
Deadline for submission of shadow reports

Tuesday 25 April:
Deadline for registering interest in making an oral statement

Monday 8 May:
Commencement of 85th CEDAW Session
Timor-Leste lunch briefing
Public NGO briefing (Timor-Leste, Sao Tome and Principe, Germany, China)

Tuesday 9 May:
Timor-Leste review
Sao Tome and Principe lunch briefing

Wednesday 10 May:
Sao Tome and Principe review
Germany lunch briefing

Thursday 11 May:
Germany review
China lunch briefing

Friday 12 May:
China review

Monday 15 May:
Spain lunch briefing
Public NGO briefing (Spain, Slovakia, Venezuela, Iceland)

Tuesday 16 May:
Spain review
Slovakia lunch briefing

Wednesday 17 May:
Slovakia review
Venezuela lunch briefing

Thursday 18 May:
Venezuela review

Monday 22 May:
Iceland review

Please note that we are still awaiting clarification of date(s) for the public NGO briefing and private lunch briefing for Iceland. We will update this page as more information is shared by OHCHR.

Please let us know if you are thinking of participating at the CEDAW session in May 2023 and if you wish to participate in the Informal Meeting with NGOs and/or the NGO lunch briefing. We will arrange online information sessions in the coming weeks to review the above information and answer any questions. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out if further clarification is needed.

Spread the word!

Please circulate this information to women’s rights groups you know. If you are with an NGO or a coalition working on an NGO report to CEDAW, please contact us at iwraw-ap@iwraw-ap.org, with a copy to audrey@iwraw-ap.org.