Why we attend the Commission on the Status of Women

The 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (“CSW” or “the Commission”) begins on Monday, February 27. Presbyterian participants will gather for an orientation tomorrow – February 24.

The CSW is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. Comprised of representatives of 45 UN Member States, the Commission gathers every year at United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.

The principal output of the Commission is the agreed conclusions on the priority theme set for each year. The agreed conclusions contain an assessment of progress, as well as of gaps and challenges in the implementation of previous commitments related to the priority theme. In particular, they contain a set of concrete, action-oriented  recommendations for action by States, intergovernmental bodies and other institutions,  and other relevant stakeholders, to be implemented at the international, national, regional and local level. The 45 Member States negotiate the agreed conclusions. They then go to ECOSOC which then takes them to the UN General Assembly.

The priority theme for the 56th session is:

The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges.

NGOs present at the Commission on the Status of Women advocate with the members of the Commission to shape the agreed conclusions. As the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) we will do so guided by the policies of our General Assembly and in partnership with Ecumenical Women. The first draft of the agreed conclusions is available as are the talking points that will guide our advocacy.

There are a number of places to follow the CSW – including this blog. Watch the plenary sessions of the Commission on UN Webcast.

Other sources of information include:

Please hold in prayer: those who serve on the Commission (45 United Nations Member States), those in the NGO community, including the Presbyterians, who come to the Commission to advocate (based on PC(USA) General Assembly policy in the case of Presbyterians), and all who work for women’s rights.


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