Reporting Mechanism - Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
last updated 30 May 2013 – Information is subject to change. Please check the Committee 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 one year of entry into force. Thereafter, states are required to submit reports every four years.
The Committee currently meets three times a year (February, July, and October) to review initial and periodic reports.  A country will not be reviewed until it has submitted a report.  A pre-session working group is established for each reporting state, which convenes two sessions before the state is scheduled to report to the Committee. The working group reviews the state report as well as all alternative reports, including shadow reports submitted by NGOs and reports of National Human Rights Institutions. The working group may also meet with NGOs during its pre-session meetings to obtain additional information. During this proceeding, the working group develops a list of issues and questions, which are transmitted to the state for response.
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 encouraged to present an oral statement to the Committee during a time designated for NGO participation, which may inform Committee members’ questions and concluding observations. Following the session, the Committee issues its concluding comments 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, and place pressure on the State party to take action consistent with the Committee’s recommendations. NGOs are encouraged to submit "shadow" or alternative reports to the Committee as a whole or to members of the pre-session working group to provide an alternate view of the state’s fulfillment of CEDAW obligations 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 working group’s development of the list of issues and questions, which states are asked to respond to in advance of the session. 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 as observers and interveners and to lobby Committee members outside of session proceedings. There is no need for UN accreditation to attend a CEDAW session, but NGO representatives must contact the OHCHR at no later than two weeks prior to the session or pre-session proceedings  to obtain entrance permits. NGOs may have an opportunity to make a very brief oral statement before the Committee or pre-session working group (generally, no more than ten minutes is allotted for all NGOs wishing to intervene) NGOs are encouraged to coordinate statements in advance of the session.
Articles of the Convention Concerning Violence Against Women[3]
The Convention does not specifically address violence against women. However, General Recommendation 19, adopted by the Committee in 1992, includes an article-by-article interpretation, delineating how specific issues of gender-based violence are protected under the Convention. In addition, the Committee provides specific recommendations for State party action to eliminate violence against women.
Submitting a Report[4]
There is no single format for shadow reports, but the report should be organized according to the relevant articles of the Convention, as a commentary on the State party report. A shadow report should analyze a particular problem rather than merely describe it. International Women's Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) has produced a procedural guide on drafting shadow reports to CEDAW. More information on writing and using shadow reports strategically, as well as sample NGO reports can also be found in the Human Rights Investigation and Documentation section of this website.
Reports must be submitted no less than two weeks prior to the pre-session or session proceedings. NGOs should bring ten copies of their shadow report to the pre-session working group, if attending, or may send ten copies to IWRAW Asia Pacific. NGOs should contact IWRAW Asia Pacific for deadlines.
NGOs should submit their report to the CEDAW session by email (in pdf format) as well as mail 30 paper copies to the secretariat of the Committee. NGOs may alternatively submit reports to IWRAW Asia Pacific for distribution (contact for details and deadlines).  
Where to Send Communications
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 22 917 94 43
Fax: +41 22 917 90 08
IWRAW Asia Pacific
80-B, Jalan Bangsar
59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: (603)2282-2255
Fax: (603)2283-2552
NGOs have effectively used shadow reports 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. 

[1] Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women Working Methods,
[3] CEDAW, General Recommendation 19 (11th session, 1992),
[4] Ibid.