Reporting Mechanism - Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
last updated 30 May 2013 – Information is subject to change. Please check the Committee’s website for updates.  
Type of Mechanism
Reporting and Monitoring
Scope of the Procedure
How the Reporting Procedure Works[1]
After ratifying the Convention, State parties are required to submit an initial report on compliance within two years of entry into force. Thereafter, states are required to submit reports every five years.
The Committee currently meets twice a year (May and November) to consider State reports. A pre-session working group is established for each reporting state, which convenes 6-12 months before the state is scheduled to report to the Committee. Each working group has a designated country rapporteur who is responsible for reviewing the report of the State party, as well as all other submissions, and drafting the list of issues. During its pre-session meetings, the working group adopts a final list of issues, which it makes available to the State party for written response. NGOs are encouraged to present an oral statement to the working group, which it may consider in adoption of the list of issues.
At the session, the State party has the opportunity to present its report to the Committee and address questions posed by Committee members. NGOs are invited to provide an oral statement to the Committee at the NGO hearings held at the start of the reporting session. At the end of the session, the Committee adopts its concluding observations and recommendations.
Role of Advocates[2]
Provide country-specific information to the Committee and working group which draws their attention to issues of concern, advocate for concluding observations and recommendations that address those issues, place pressure on State parties to take action consistent with the Committee’s recommendations, and inform the Committee where a State party has failed to take action. There are many opportunities for advocates to participate in the reporting and monitoring process. The Committee encourages NGOs to establish communication with the Committee secretariat as soon as a State party has ratified the Covenant. Once a State party has submitted a report, NGOs are encouraged to submit any relevant information (e.g., press clippings, reports, academic publications, videos, etc.) for addition to the State party’s file. NGOs can submit "shadow" or alternative reports to the Committee as a whole or to members of the pre-session working group to provide at alternate view of the state’s fulfillment of its obligations under the Covenant or to bring attention to human rights violations not reflected in the state’s report. NGOs are encouraged submit information in advance of the pre-session working group meeting to inform the development of the list of issues and questions, which states are asked to respond to in advance of the session. Reports may be sent directly to the Committee member assigned as the country rapporteur, who is responsible for drafting the list of issues. Such issues tend to be the focus of constructive dialogue in the session, thus it is advantageous to provide information early in the proceedings.
Advocates also have an opportunity to participate in the sessions and to lobby Committee members outside of session proceedings. NGOs are invited to give oral presentations to the pre-session working group and during the NGO hearings which take place at the start of the reporting session. NGOs cannot intervene during the reporting session, but may participate as observers. NGOs wishing to attend the pre-session or session proceedings are asked to contact the Committee secretariat in advance to attain the appropriate accreditation.
After the Committee has adopted its concluding observations, NGOs are encouraged to monitor and provide reports on any steps taken or not taken by the Government in response to the Committee’s recommendations. The Committee also encourages NGOs to raise awareness—locally and nationally—of the Committee’s concluding observations.
Additional information on NGO participation is available on the Committee website.
Articles of the Covenant Concerning Violence Against Women[3]
NGOs may call attention to several articles in the Covenant in reporting a State party’s failure to prevent violence against women, including trafficking, sexual exploitation, and domestic violence, among other forms of violence, in violation of their obligations. Rights protecting women from violence include non-discrimination (art. 2(2) and 3), right to work and opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen by the individual (art. 6), right to just and favorable working conditions (art. 7), rights related to the family and marriage, including special protection for mothers (art. 10), right to an adequate standard of living (art. 11), right to physical and mental health (art. 12), and the right to take part in cultural life (art. 15).
The Committee requires all State parties to provide information in their periodic report regarding legislation and measures taken to combat domestic violence and violence against women.[4]
Submitting a Report[5]
NGOs may submit information on any and all articles of the Covenant. Where an NGO reports on all articles, it should follow the general guidelines provided to State parties, available on the CESCR website. A shadow report should analyze a particular problem rather than merely describe it. International Women's Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) has produced a guide on drafting shadow reports to CESCR in Equality and Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Guide to Implementation and Monitoring Under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2004). Additional information on writing and using shadow reports strategically, as well as sample NGO reports can be found in the Human Rights Investigation and Documentation section of this website. NGOs are encouraged to collaborate with other NGOs and consolidate reports whenever possible to show broad consensus amongst numerous groups.
Reports may be submitted in advance of the pre-session to the country rapporteur, responsible for drafting the list of issues, or to the working group. For distribution to the working group, NGOs are asked to send ten copies to the Committee secretariat no less than one week before the working group meets.
Reports may also be submitted in advance of the reporting session. For distribution to the Committee, NGOs should submit 25 copies to the Committee secretariat no less than one week prior to the session.  
Where to Send Communications
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 22 917 90 00
Fax: +41 22 917 90 08
Benefits: NGOs have used shadow reports effectively to advocate for change.  Periodic State reporting has put pressure on national governments to amend legislation and policies to bring them into compliance with the Convention.  Limitations: There are no enforcement mechanisms applicable to States that do not submit periodic reports. However, the Committee may consider a State party’s fulfillment with the Covenant in the absence of a report or State presence at the session. The Committee encourages NGOs to submit information pertaining to the status of implementation of the Covenant by non-reporting States.

[1] Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – Working Methods,
[2] Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – NGO Participation,
[3] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A(XXI) of 16 Dec. 1966, entry into force 3 Jan. 1976.
[4] CESCR, Guidelines on treaty-specific documents to be submitted by States parties under articles 16 and 17 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Doc. E/C.12/2008/2, 24 Mar. 2009.
[5] Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – NGO Participation,