Preparing for the 74th 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.

Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, and Seychelles will be reviewed by the CEDAW Committee in the 74th CEDAW Session from 21 October – 8 November 2019. Please see the 74th CEDAW Session page on the OHCHR website. At this time the exact date of each country’s review has not yet been released. We will update this page when that happens.

You may have previously heard that this CEDAW session might be postponed due to UN funding cuts. However, on 18 June the High Commissioner Ms Bachelet confirmed it will go ahead as originally scheduled, as reported by OHCHR during the 73rd CEDAW session.

A note on NGO participation in the 74th session will be shared by OHCHR soon. You can meanwhile see sample information (from the 73rd session) in English, French and Spanish.

NGOs have several opportunities to impact the review session and therefore gender equality policies at country level.

Submit a shadow report/alternative information to the CEDAW Committee

  • The deadline to submit a shadow report is 3 weeks before the review, 30 September 2019, to be submitted as a Word document to OHCHR at cedaw@ohchr.org, with a copy to IWRAW Asia Pacific. (Please read about the UN green policy – hard copies of reports should be avoided if possible.)
  • If you have submitted a pre-session report, you have an opportunity to present updated shadow report information by September, and provide your alternative information to respond to the CEDAW Committee’s list of issues and questions which your state will have to answer. You should send this information to the CEDAW Secretariat also by 30 September 2019, 3 weeks before the review session begins on 21 October. 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 74th Session page for your country’s list of issues and questions on this page.

Please inform us if your group is preparing a shadow report to CEDAW to be submitted for the review in October 2019. Even if you do not attend the review, there are ways we can support highlighting your issues and getting other groups who are there to prioritise and integrate your recommendations to CEDAW.

Engaging directly with the CEDAW Committee at the review

During the review in October/November 2019 in Geneva, two different spaces are provided for NGOs to share information with the Committee.

  • The public Informal Meeting with NGOs is part of the official schedule of the Committee, and enables NGOs to provide oral submissions. This happens in the afternoons of Monday 21 October and 28 October. A total of 10 minutes per country is allotted to NGOs for their oral statements, so cooperation and time is of the essence – overlaps should be reduced and focus should be on priorities. Check back to see when your country is scheduled.
  • The private/NGO-only country-specific lunch briefing is held one day before each country’s review. Groups of NGOs can use this opportunity to discuss their issues with the Committee. This space is only for NGOs and is closed to state delegates and those who have participated in the writing of the state report. We will inform you of the dates when the schedule of review is publicly available in the next few months.

Please let us know if you are thinking of participating at the review in October/November 2019 in Geneva and if you wish to participate in the Informal Meeting with NGOs and/or the NGO lunch briefing.

If you are planning to come for the review, a friendly reminder to obtain your Schengen visas early.

Attend From Global to Local – IWRAW Asia Pacific’s training and mentoring programme in Geneva

This programme aims to help women’s groups and NGOs who wish to participate in the CEDAW reporting process. The objectives of this training programme are to provide process information for how groups can engage with the Committee, share information on the body of work of the Committee and support NGOs in preparing for their oral statements and lunch briefing. This is also a space for women’s groups to share solidarity and knowledge for our common goals and priorities of women’s human rights. The training and mentoring gives you updated information and hints and tips about engaging with the CEDAW review process.

Please note:

  • Only NGOs are eligible to participate in From Global to Local. IWRAW Asia Pacific has taken the position that members of the government delegation to the CEDAW session, or individuals who have helped write the government report to the CEDAW Committee, should not be involved in writing the shadow/alternative report, and are not eligible to attend the “From Global to Local” training at he CEDAW Session.
  • Participants in From Global to Local are requested to abide by IWRAW Asia Pacific’s policy on addressing rights of marginalised groups of women and be respectful of their fellow participants.

If you have funds to attend the review, you are welcome to join the programme. We may have some partial funding for some NGOs who qualify, and we can also work with you to raise funds for your participation in the review. Please write to us for information. If you have plans to write to donors, we can supply support letters.

Spread the word!

Please circulate this information to women’s 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.

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