Ways and means to further enhance the impact of the work of the Commission on the Status of Women

Analysis of  the report of the UN Secretary Generalid_040412

The Secretary General’s report for the session of the Commission on the Status of Women to take place in March 2015 reviews the functioning of the Commission’s methods of work in the light of experience gained, and makes recommendations for consideration by the Commission with a view to further enhancing the impact of its work.

– More interaction with other commissions
The report recommends that CSW interacts more with other ECOSOC commissions in order to get gender mainstreaming accepted everywhere in the UN system. And many commissions are relevant to the work of CSW, for instance the Commission on Population and Development, the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, the Commission for Social Development, the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Statistical Commission and the Commission on Crime and Crime prevention. The report also recommends that CSW works more closely with CEDAW.

Cooperation does take place sometimes. CSW worked out a minimum set of Gender Indicators together with the Statistical Commmission, and it contributed.to the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development about the Social Development Goals after 2015.
It would not be difficult to think of other issues where cooperation would be a step forward.

– A ministerial declaration rather than Agreed Conclusions
CSW is the only functional commission that concludes its sessions with ‘agreed conclusions’, which is a consensus document. Of course, from an IAW point of view, it would be better not to work by consensus, because the conclusions are necessarily watered down in the process. Other Commissions use a resolution or a ministerial declaration as the outcome of their work.
A ministerial declaration would carry more weight, and its format would be an incentive to implement it, especially if CSW decided to have a ministerial segment at the end of its session.

– Expanding opportunities for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to contribute to the work of CSW
This can be done through allocating more time for interventions by non-governmental organizations during the general discussion, according greater priority to their interventions during panel discussions and granting access to negotiations to a limited number of regionally diverse representatives.

The report describes the current problems facing representatives of NGOs:
“While representatives are welcomed at formal meetings very few seats are available. Aside from the limited seating, it has been necessary under the capital master plan to restrict entry for representatives of non-governmental organizations to the building in which the formal meetings are held to two representatives per organization. This issue hampers the efforts of non-governmental organizations to interact and advocate their views with government delegations on critical and strategic issues being discussed at the Commission.
Non-governmental organizations convene a large number of parallel events in the vicinity of United Nations Headquarters. They also frequently co-sponsor side events organized by Member States and entities of the United Nations system at Headquarters. Representatives of non-governmental organizations attend these parallel and side events in large numbers.”

– Continuing the multi-year programme of work
The multi-year programme consists of a priority theme, for which the Secretary General writes two reports, a review theme and an emerging theme. However, the recommendation is that panels are more interactive and that there should be more time for non- governmental organizations (NGOs) to exert their influence.

The preparation of the emerging theme is a good opportunity for the Commission to align its thematic priorities with those of ECOSOC and other functional commissions.

Especially convening with the Executive Board of UN-Women would be a good opportunity to further implement its mandate.

The Executive Board of UN Women consists of 41 member states and CSW of 47.
They are both elected from regional groups, so together they constitute a cross section of the member states of the UN, which should help in furthering equality.

Report of the UN Secretary-General (http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=E/CN.6/2014/14)