A Guide to the Agreed Conclusions

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The Agreed Conclusions Process Explained

Download PDF version: https://www.outrightinternational.org/sites/default/files/AGuideAgreedConclusions.pdf

The Agreed Conclusions are the primary output document of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The Agreed Conclusions are negotiated in an inter-governmental process between UN Member States. Most of the negotiations occur during the second week of CSW, although important parts of the process occur in the lead up as well. The final document includes an analysis of the CSW priority theme and a set of concrete recommendations on gender justice and equality for governments, intergovernmental bodies and other institutions, civil society actors and other relevant stakeholders to be implemented at the international, national, regional and local level.

As civil society, it can be hard to understand the process of coming to the Agreed Conclusions because much of it happens behind closed doors in spaces that restrict access and participation of civil society. This document aims to clarify the process as well as show you where you can influence the outcome.

Advocacy Entry Points and Useful Tips

Release of
The UN Women Expert Group Report
and
The Secretary General’s Report
January 2018

What Is It?

The UN Women Expert Group report and the Secretary General’s report are created to inform the development of the Agreed Conclusions (AC) by providing an evidence base for the CSW priority theme. This guides the development of the zero draft and the way in which UN Member States negotiate on the theme.

Advocacy Entry Points

  • It is wise to begin preparing for CSW at the same time as UN Member States – typically 1 year in advance
  • The most effective entry point for civil society is at the national level. Because of this, it is important to build a relationship with your government representatives responsible for CSW if it is safe and possible to do so
  • Consider making briefs, primers, and fact-sheets on your position

Zero Draft
2 February 2018

What Is It?

The ‘zero draft’ of the AC is the UN term for the initial draft of the AC. It is generally drafted by UN Women and is based on the UN Secretary’s Report on the priority theme. Most of the zero draft is quoted language from other UN texts.

Negotiations on the language begin using this text as a starting point. Governments submit written comments directly to the CSW facilitator (this year the facilitator is Colombia) either within regional groups or as individual countries.

The comments are compiled into a second document, which results in the first revision of the Agreed Conclusions also known as ‘Rev. 1’. Each subsequent formal revision of the draft is referred to as Rev 2. Rev 3., Rev 4. - etc…

Advocacy Entry Points

  • Prepare for the release of the zero draft by asking your government to provide a copy of the document as soon as it is available
  • Find out if your government is holding any civil society consultations on the zero draft and ask to be included
  • As soon as the zero draft is available work to develop concrete proposals for wording
  • It is important to remember that governments only have two weeks to change language in the draft
  • Arrange meetings with your government to determine their stance on contentious

First Reading
1-2 March

What Is It?

The first reading of the AC, now in the Rev 1 version, is a closed in person negotiation on the text. A closed negotiation means the meeting is not open to general civil society. During these negotiations, the facilitator generally identifies areas of agreement.

Advocacy Entry Points

  • Ask your government for a report back on the meeting
  • Work with other civil society representatives to share information about the dynamics in the room
  • Use this information to prepare an advocacy strategy for in person engagement with your government at CSW from March 12th

Revisions and
Negotiations
22-23 March

What Is It?

The formal CSW negotiation on the AC begins on March 22. These negotiations remain closed and therefore restricted to general civil society. Only civil society who are formally appointed to their governments delegations are permitted to observe.

At this point all language suggestions are debated in an attempt to reach consensus. If consensus is reached the facilitator streamlines the language and produces the final document. If consensus is not reached in the general session, mediated negotiation in small groups occurs.

Advocacy Entry Points

  • Find out if your government is holding any civil society briefings on the negotiations during CSW and ask to be included
  • Identify any allied civil society organizations who are on formal government delegations and seek information from them
  • Work with other civil society representatives to share information about the dynamics in the room
  • Use this information to prepare advocacy responses and provide support to your government. Try proposing streamlined language that supports your issue and help to defend the State’s preferred language.