International Engagement

The Equality Rights Alliance works with our colleagues at the other four National Women's Alliances to engage and support the women's sector in Australia on international human rights processes, in particular through:

  • participation in the  Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), 
  • Treaty reporting processes, and 
  • raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

What is the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)? 

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the chief policy making body on women’s rights and gender equality at the United Nations. CSW operates as a functional commission of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), meaning CSW is charged with promoting and monitoring women’s rights around the world.

CSW is held over approximately two weeks at the United Nations Headquarters in New York every year in March. The principle output of CSW is the Agreed Conclusions, international soft law commitments for member states (governments) to implement.

These Agreed Conclusions are reached through weeks of negotiations both in the lead up to and at CSW. These negotiations take place among government delegations of the 193 member states of the United Nations. There is limited space for civil society in the negotiation room itself, though some countries include civil society representatives on their government delegations, such as Australia. 

Civil Society is actively engaged in CSW through the NGO CSW parallel events and direct advocacy at the UN. 

Previous CSW Work

See below for previous ERA engagement with the Commission on the Status of Women. 

The sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 14 to 24 March 2016.

The priority theme for CSW60 was women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development; and the review theme (taken from CSW57’s agreed conclusions) was the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. Read about Hannah’s CSW experiences at The Gender Agency and YWCA Australia.


CSW59 (2015)

Equality Rights Alliance joined with the other National Women’s Alliances in a submission leading into the 59th Commission on the Status of Women [link to PDF document]. No Agreed Conclusions were adopted at CSW59, instead the Commission adopted a declaration on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995.

CSW58 (2014)

ERA was represented at CSW58 by our Program Manager, Helen Dalley-Fisher. The Agreed Conclusions for CSW58 can be found on the UN Women website.
ERA presented at the Joint Alliance CSW report back in Sydney at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

ERA Program Manager, Helen Dalley-Fisher.

AWAVA Chair, Julie Oberin

2015 Universal Periodic Review

The Universal Periodic Review ('UPR') is a mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council which reviews the human rights records of all 193 United Nations Member States.

In March 2015, a coalition of non-government organisations (NGOs) from across Australia prepared a joint NGO submission to Australia's second review under the Universal Periodic Review.

To assist States, NHRIs and NGOs to participate in the Universal Periodic Review of Australia in 2015, the NGO coalition prepared a range of thematic fact sheets. The fact sheets are available on the Human Rights Law Centre website.

International Aids Conference 2014

As part of our effort to build a presence in the Sexual and Reproductive Health policy space, ERA attended the 2014 International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Melbourne. The IAC was a unique and valuable opportunity to build ERA’s relationships in the health sector in Australia and globally and strengthen our profile in sexual and reproductive health. We were able to strengthen our knowledge base on sexual and reproductive health advocacy and identify links between the current national HIV strategy and broader sexual and reproductive health policy.

Beyond 2014: Youth Leadership in the AIDS Response

The Melbourne Youth Force held a Press Conference on Tuesday July 22 to release the ground breaking Youth Action Plan, as well as to highlight the key advocacy messages of Treat all People. Respect all rights, END HIV/AIDS

The 2014 Youth Action Plan states “The needs of adolescents and young people cannot be ignored any longer. Despite the advances in the fight against AIDS, we are experiencing a crisis in the adolescent and youth pandemic. We have the tools to address this crisis, but we need governments, policy makers, and healthcare professionals to commit to real and effective change by 2020. We need to TREAT. REFORM. EDUCATE. LOVE”

The panel spoke about the Youth Action Plan, and its development, which was done in consultation with young people both in Australia and internationally.

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