UN Commission on the Status of Women

The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) which has a fundamental responsibility for developing policies to promote gender equality. The Commission convenes for two weeks each year to evaluate progress in the area, identify new challenges and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and empowerment of women. Follow-up of the Beijing Platform for Action’s 12 critical areas of concern adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women convened by the UN in Beijing in 1995 is an integral part of the Commission’s work.

Format of the sessions
According to the working methods of the Commission, two priority themes, based on the Beijing Platform for Action, are considered each year. One priority theme is considered at each session, while a priority theme from a previous session is also followed up. In addition, the Commission considers an emerging global issue that impacts the situation of women or affects equality between men and women. The priority theme is deliberated by the States, resulting in a set of agreed conclusions. These conclusions are not legally binding but should be seen as a political agreement and as a recommendation to the States. Follow-up on the theme from a previous session and the emerging issue for the session are not deliberated but are rather dealt with by interactive panels, resulting in a summary prepared by the moderator.

What progress has been made on the Beijing Platform for Action?
The tendency in recent years has been for certain countries to try to weaken the agreed conclusions in the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of Beijing +5, +10 and +15. This applies, for example, to the reconfirmation of the commitment to the Beijing Platform for Action, as well as to issues concerning sexual and reproductive health and rights. Discussions in the UN system concerning violence against women and children have also long been controversial.

Parallel activities
Parallel to the regular programme of the Commission on the Status of Women are comprehensive parallel programmes, including seminars, interactive panels and activities arranged by governments and non-governmental organisations. The Swedish Government has for several years arranged a seminar on an emerging theme.

Who can participate in the meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women?
Many countries are represented at the ministerial level at the Commission’s meetings. Many non-governmental organisations also participate. In total, approximately 2 000 individuals participate in each session. Sweden is usually represented by a delegation comprised of the Minister for Gender Equality, political advisers, officials and non-governmental organisations. 

How does the work in Sweden continue following a conference?
The Government disseminates its report from the meeting, the agreed conclusions and resolutions to relevant authorities and Swedish non-governmental organisations. The Government continues to work on the priority issues for Sweden, both nationally and internationally.
Website: UN Commission on the Status of Women