The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a branch of the UN Economic and Social Council that functions as the global policy-making body that is dedicated to the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment. It is composed of 45 UN member states that convene yearly to evaluate progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment. NGO participation is a key element of the CSW for shaping the global policy agenda and holding states and international organizations accountable for their commitments made in the Beijing Platform for Action. The outcome of the CSW is an annual report is submitted to ECOSOC for adoption, and consists of conclusions concerning the theme, an assessment of progress made, the existing gaps and challenges, and concrete recommendations for the various stakeholders for implementation.
This year, NGO Consultation Day was held on February 21, 2011 and addressed the CSW 55 theme of “Access to Education in Science and Technology.” The outcome report can be accessed here.
The following is an excerpt of Michelle Bachelet‘s keynote address as the Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General for UNWomen:
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The CSW is also characterized by a plethora of parallel events where NGOs host panels, roundtable discussions, and workshops for the purpose of providing a forum for global civil society to highlight the various issues related to the CSW theme. For example, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) hosted an event, “Technology & Peacebuilding: Bridging the Israel-Palestine Divide,” during which they demonstrated that “gender inclusive media can enhance women’s participation in the peace movement.”