In intergovernmental forums at the United Nations, Member States come together to debate and seek agreement on global gender equality norms and standards. These commitments offer the basis for action by governments and other stakeholders to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment at the global, regional and national levels. They provide impetus for adopting and enhancing laws, policies and programmes that bring about equality between women and men.
The main intergovernmental forum for addressing gender equality and the empowerment of women is the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Related issues are also debated in the UN General Assembly, the Security Council, and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), as well as at major international conferences.
UN Women Solutions
As part of our mandate, UN Women supports Member States in setting norms. We conduct research, and compile and provide evidence, including good practices and lessons learned, to inform intergovernmental debates and decisions. We also assist in implementing norms and standards through our country programmes. In addition, UN Women leads and coordinates the UN system’s work in support of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Intergovernmental discussions on UN Women’s country activities take place in the Executive Board, where a rotating group of UN Member States helps set strategic directions.
UN Women country programmes in Europe and Central Asia assist Member States implement norms and standards enshrined in:
- All countries in the Europe and Central Asia region (except Estonia, Latvia, and Uzbekistan) have ratified CEDAW and its Optional Protocol. While most countries amended their legal framework to comply with CEDAW standards, in many cases large implementation gaps hinder the effect of these changes. Many countries are unable to fully monitor the implementation of national laws on gender equality and progress in meeting CEDAW commitments.
- On 1 August 2014, the Council of Europe (CoE) Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence entered into force. With 22 signatories and ratified by 15 CoE member states, the Convention requires states to provide adequate legal frameworks to ensure that all forms of violence against women are a crime.
- Adopted by governments at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, these document set forth governments’ commitments to enhance women’s rights. Member States reaffirmed and strengthened the Platform in 2000 during the global five-year review of progress, and pledged to accelerate its implementation during the 10-year review in 2005 and the 15-year review in 2010. 2015 marks the 20-year review of Beijing Platform for Action (Beijing +20).