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Guidelines for civil society, NGOs and NHRIs

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Civil society actors, including NGOs and National Human Rights Institutions, have a key role to play in assisting the Committee to fulfil its mandate effectively. When participating in CESCR sessions or submitting information to them, the following guidelines may be helpful.

Venue

The session and the meeting of the pre-sessional working group of the Committee take place in Geneva, either in Palais des Nations or Palais Wilson. Please check the page of the relevant session or pre-session for information about the venue.

Documentation

The reports of the State parties to be considered as well as other relevant documentation such as the lists of issues adopted by the pre-sessional working group, the State parties’ replies thereto, the submissions received by the Committee and the concluding observations are posted on the webpage for each session. The provisional agenda as well as the tentative programme of work are also found on each session’s page.

Webcast

The dialogue between the Committee and State parties is held in public. All public meetings of the Committee are generally webcast live on UN Web TV.

Parallel reports from civil society for the Committee

The Committee welcomes written information, which should be as specific, reliable and objective as possible, from international, regional, national and local organizations as well as national human rights institutions. Parallel submissions prepared by coalitions, rather than individual organizations, and covering a broad range of economic, social and cultural rights are also encouraged. Reports for the pre-session should focus on information relevant in particular to the adoption of the LOIs or the LOIPRs.

All submissions to CESCR should:

  • Be submitted in English, French or Spanish. It is very useful if you could submit a report and/or summary translated into English. Please note that the UN Secretariat does not translate these reports.
  • For the session: Be transmitted to the CESCR Secretariat preferably 6 weeks and latest 4 weeks before the beginning of the session.
  • For the PSWG: Be transmitted to the CESCR Secretariat preferably 10 weeks and latest 8 weeks before the beginning of the PSWG.
  • Be transmitted through the CESCR’s online submissions system.
  • Submissions should be as concise as possible, and should not exceed 10 pages, or max 15 pages for coalition submissions.
  • Paragraphs in submissions should preferably be numbered for ease of reference.
Public briefings and informal lunchtime meetings

Organizations that have submitted reports to the Committee may deliver a statement at a public meeting dedicated to partners (check the programme of work posted on the page of the relevant session for details of schedule) and/or organize an informal lunchtime briefing. The accommodation of requests for lunchtime briefings will depend on the availability of the Committee members. Organizations that have submitted information on a given country are encouraged to coordinate among themselves, especially for the organization of lunchtime briefings. For that purpose, mention of contact information in submissions is useful.

Likewise, organizations which have submitted information for the meeting of the pre-sessional working group may brief working group members.

Please inform the CESCR Secretariat of attendance at the public briefing and/or about proposed lunchtime briefings at the time of submission of reports.

Remote participation

Representatives of organizations that are unable to travel can engage with the Committee remotely. Please contact the CESCR Secretariat for the technical requirements and to make the necessary arrangements. Possible remote participation should be indicated to the Secretariat at the time of submission of reports, as trial runs may need to be scheduled.

Accreditation

Representatives of organizations who wish to attend CESCR sessions or the meetings of the pre-sessional working group should register at least ten days before the beginning of the session or the pre-session. Read more about accreditation here.