French territories to discuss CEDAW reporting process
Les Territoires français débattent la question de l’élaboration et de
la présentation des rapports CEDAW
Over 70 representatives from governments, local bodies, non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations in the three French
Pacific territories will attend a meeting on the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) at SPC
headquarters in Noumea next week.
delegates, from French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna, will
assess progress on the implementation of CEDAW in the three territories and
discuss the CEDAW reporting process.
The reporting process involves the submission of national reports to a special
UN CEDAW Committee, at least every four years, on measures they have taken to
comply with their treaty obligations.
SPC’s Women’s Development Officer, Rolande Trolue, says the meeting is an
important opportunity for participants to learn how to prepare CEDAW reports in
anticipation of France’s next report, which is due in 2011.
‘Women in the three French territories face different realities and problems to
their counterparts in France, so it is important to make their voices heard.
This is why it is vital for them to compile their own reports that can then be
incorporated into France’s CEDAW report,’ Mrs Trolue says.
When France presented its combined third, fourth and fifth CEDAW report in 2003,
the UN CEDAW Committee recommended the French territories be better informed on
‘The reporting process is a lengthy and complex procedure,’ says Mrs Trolue.
‘Next week’s meeting aims to clarify the process for the French territories and
help them get organised to work on their reports.’
Delegates at the meeting will hear from Mrs Françoise Gaspard, a member of the
current UN CEDAW committee, who will provide background information on the
Convention and Committee, and offer advice on compiling reports.
‘We are fortunate Mrs Gaspard could attend. Her expert advice will be very
valuable,’ Ms Trolue says.
The French territories will present country statements on the implementation of
CEDAW and discuss progress on gender equality as well as challenges faced.
Other presentations will include an overview of the reporting process by the
Fiji-based UNDP Regional Rights Resource Team, a discussion of Vanuatu’s 2007
CEDAW reporting experience, and information on NGO ‘shadow reporting’ by the
Fiji Women’s Rights Movement.
NGO shadow reports complement the country reports. They also provide a critical
analysis of the latter.
The meeting, which has been organised by SPC’s Human Development Programme and
the Government of New Caledonia, will run from 21 to 23 April 2008. A second
meeting to build networks that will enable coordination of work on gender issues
between the three territories will be held immediately after the CEDAW meeting.
CEDAW, which is often described as an international bill of rights for women,
was adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly. It defines what constitutes
discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end
The Convention provides the basis for realising equality between women and men
through ensuring women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political
and public life – including the right to vote and to stand for election – as
well as education, health and employment. Parties to the Convention agree to
take all appropriate measures, including legislation and temporary special
measures, so that women can enjoy all their human rights and fundamental
The UN CEDAW Committee, which monitors implementation of the Convention, is a
body made up of 23 independent experts from around the world. During its
sessions, the Committee considers State party reports and addresses its concerns
and recommendations to each State party in the form of concluding observations.
NGOs can submit country shadow reports to the Committee.
Background information can be found on the UN Division for the Advancement for
Women website at
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/index.html and on the Office of the
High Commissioner for Human Rights website at
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/index.htm where the CEDAW
Committee has been transferred.
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