Pre-sessional working group

Eighty-third session

28 February–4 March 2022

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Report of the pre-sessional working group

1.It is the practice of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to convene a pre-sessional working group for five days to prepare lists of issues and questions relating to the periodic reports that will be considered by the Committee at an upcoming session.

2.The Committee decided that the pre-sessional working group for its eighty-third session would meet from 28 February to 4 March 2022, immediately after the eighty-first session, in order to ensure that sufficient time would be available to States parties to submit their written replies to the list of issues and questions and to ensure their timely translation.

3.The following experts were designated as members of the pre-sessional working group and attended the session:

Leticia Bonifaz Alfonzo

Corinne Dettmeijer-Vermeulen

Dalia Leinarte

Nahla Haidar

Aruna Devi Narain

4.The pre-sessional working group elected Ms. Dettmeijer-Vermeulen as its Chair.

5.The pre-sessional working group prepared lists of issues and questions with regard to the reports of Albania, Costa Rica, France, the Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe and Timor-Leste, in addition to lists of issues prior to reporting for Belarus under the simplified reporting procedure. The pre-sessional working group was guided by Committee decisions 49/IX, 59/IV and 64/II, according to which the Committee decided to limit lists of issues and questions and lists of issues prior to reporting to 20 and 25 paragraphs, respectively. However, in practice and exceptionally, some lists of issues and questions contain a maximum of 23 paragraphs.

6.To assist in the preparation of the lists of issues and questions, the pre-sessional working group had at its disposal electronic versions of the core documents of the States parties listed above, with the exception of Sao Tome and Principe. It also had at its disposal the reports of the States parties listed above, with the exception of Belarus, which will submit its periodic report in response to the list of issues prior to reporting. It further had before it the general recommendations adopted by the Committee; draft lists of issues and questions and list of issues prior to reporting prepared by the secretariat; and other pertinent information, including concluding observations of the Committee and other treaty bodies, as relevant. In preparing the lists, the pre-sessional working group paid particular attention to the States parties’ follow-up to the concluding observations of the Committee on their previous reports, except for Sao Tome and Principe, which had submitted an initial report.

7.The pre-sessional working group benefited from written and oral information submitted by entities of the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations, as well as written information from national human rights institutions, with regard to the States parties listed above.

8.The lists of issues and questions and list of issues prior to reporting adopted by the pre-sessional working group were transmitted to the States parties concerned and are contained in the following documents:

(a)List of issues and questions in relation to the fifth periodic report of Albania (CEDAW/C/ALB/Q/5);

(b)List of issues and questions in relation to the eighth periodic report of Costa Rica (CEDAW/C/CRI/Q/8);

(c)List of issues and questions in relation to the ninth periodic report of France (CEDAW/C/FRA/Q/9);

(d)List of issues and questions in relation to the sixth periodic report of the Gambia (CEDAW/C/GMB/Q/6);

(e)List of issues and questions in relation to the eighth periodic report of Malawi (CEDAW/C/MWI/Q/8);

(f)List of issues and questions in relation to the combined initial to fifth periodic reports of Sao Tome and Principe (CEDAW/C/STP/Q/1-5);

(g)List of issues and questions in relation to the fourth periodic report of Timor-Leste (CEDAW/C/TLS/Q/4);

(h)List of issues and questions prior to the submission of the ninth periodic report of Belarus (CEDAW/C/BLR/QPR/9).

9.In accordance with Committee decisions 22/IV, 25/II and 31/III, the lists of issues and questions were focused on themes addressed by the Convention, as well as on the linkages between relevant themes and the Sustainable Development Goals. Those themes included the constitutional and legislative framework and the definition of discrimination against women; the visibility of the Convention and the Optional Protocol thereto; women’s rights and gender equality in relation to the pandemic and recovery efforts; women’s access to justice; women and peace and security; the extraterritorial obligations of States parties; national machinery for the advancement of women; national human rights institutions; temporary special measures for the advancement of women; stereotypes and harmful practices; gender-based violence against women and girls; sexual violence against women in conflict situations; trafficking in women and girls and exploitation of prostitution; the participation of women in political and public life; nationality; education; employment; sexual harassment in the workplace; health; economic empowerment and social benefits; climate change and disaster risk reduction; rural women; equality in marriage and family relations; and intersecting forms of discrimination faced by disadvantaged groups of women, such as older women, rural women, women with disabilities, indigenous women, women of African descent, Roma and Egyptian women, women in detention, women human rights defenders, migrant and returnee women, asylum-seeking, refugee and stateless women, and lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex women.

10.The pre-sessional working group also discussed differences in the order of headings/themes, as well as in the language used in relation to article 5 of the Convention, in the above-mentioned lists of issues and questions. It decided to submit to the working group on working methods of the Committee a request for harmonization of such language and of the order of headings/themes.