Shadow reporting & oral interventions
CEDAW mandates that State parties report on their policies and implementations to comply with CEDAW, and first achieve gender equality within one year of their adoption of the convention, and then every four years. Since 1997, this process has been complemented by official inclusion of civil society perspectives on the abovementioned progress.
Civil society organisations are invited to submit shadow reports to the CEDAW Committee secretariat, either on the whole scope of CEDAW or on thematic issues. These shadow reports can be prepared at the same time as the State report, or can be prepared after the submission of the State report to the CEDAW Committee (as a response to the points in the State report).1It should be noted that the second option allows for very little time to prepare the shadow report before the review.
Before the official session for a country’s review, the CEDAW Committee comes together to discuss the State report and prepares a list of issues to be answered in writing by the state party. Civil society organisations may find an opportunity during these meetings to make a very short presentation to the CEDAW Committee, drawing attention to the issues they deem important. The presentation may or may not inform the list of issues, but it is a good advocacy opportunity, especially to get information from the State on topics that have not been included in the official State report.
The state report, the answers to the list of issues, and the shadow reports will all inform the official review session of the state party later on. Civil society organisations also have an opportunity to present their points in oral interventions to the Committee during an official meeting, prior to the review of their country.
Furthermore, some Committee members meet the civil society organisations for an unofficial lunch briefing a day before the constructive dialogue (official session) between the State and the Committee. This affords the organisations more time to discuss their issues with the Committee and to answer any questions the Committee may have.
The official State report, the shadow report, the CSO oral interventions, the lunch briefing, and the constructive dialogue process between the State and the CEDAW Committee, all feed into the Concluding Observations. This is what the CEDAW Committee provides to the State party under review. The Concluding Observations present both context analyses and suggestions for the State party to undertake before its next review.2More information about CEDAW and its review cycle, including opportunities for civil society organisations to take part in the process, can be accessed at IWRAW Asia Pacific’s CEDAW microsite.
- 1It should be noted that the second option allows for very little time to prepare the shadow report before the review.
- 2More information about CEDAW and its review cycle, including opportunities for civil society organisations to take part in the process, can be accessed at IWRAW Asia Pacific’s CEDAW microsite.