“The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), an expert body established in 1982, is composed of 23 experts on women's issues from around the world.
The Committee's mandate is very specific: it watches over the progress for women made in those countries that are the States parties to the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. A country becomes a State party by ratifying or acceding to the Convention and thereby accepting a legal obligation to counteract discrimination against women. The Committee monitors the implementation of national measures to fulfil this obligation.”
States / NGOs / General Public
“At each of its sessions, the Committee reviews national reports submitted by the States parties within one year of ratification or accession, and thereafter every four years. These reports, which cover national action taken to improve the situation of women, are presented to the Committee by Government representatives. In discussions with these officials, the CEDAW experts comment on the report and obtain additional information. This procedure of actual dialogue, developed by the Committee, has proven valuable because it allows for an exchange of views and a clearer analysis of anti-discrimination policies in the various countries.
The Committee also makes recommendations on any issue affecting women to which it believes the States parties should devote more attention.” (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/committee.htm
, accessed 17 May 2011)
UN Budget and state contributions
Scope of reporting:
Geographic focus: Worldwide
Thematic focus: Women and Gender issues
“The Convention obliges States parties to submit to the Secretary-General a report on the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures that they have adopted to implement the Convention within a year after its entry into force and then at least every four years thereafter or whenever the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) so requests. These reports, which may indicate factors and difficulties in implementation, are forwarded to the CEDAW for its consideration.
The Committee has adopted guidelines to help states prepare these reports. According to these guidelines, the initial report is intended to be a detailed and comprehensive description of the position of women in that country at the time of submission; it is meant to provide a benchmark against which subsequent progress can be measured. Second and subsequent national reports are intended to update the previous report, detailing significant developments that have occurred over the last four years, noting key trends, and identifying obstacles to the full achievement of the Convention.
Initial reports are considered by the Committee in the presence of a representative of the reporting country, who may make a supplementary presentation. Individual members are free to ask for clarification or elaboration of any issue related to the report, the presentation, or to CEDAW’s goals. Typically, the country representative returns a day or so later to respond to those questions; answers or supporting material are often presented in writing.
Since 1990, second and subsequent reports have been reviewed by a pre-session working group of five Committee members. The working group draws up questions to guide the full Committee’s examination of the report. These questions are submitted to the country’s representative in advance. The representative then meets with the Committee to respond to these questions and any others that members may wish to ask.
Following consideration of each State Party report, the CEDAW Committee formulates concluding comments which outline factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention for that State party, positive aspects, principal subjects of concern and suggestions and recommendations to enhance implementation of the Convention.” (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/reporting.htm
, accessed 17 May 2011)
Initital report: one year after ratifying or acceding to CEDAW; thereafter: at least every four years or whenever the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) so requests. (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/reporting.htm
, accessed 17 May 2011)
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