Eric Rothermel, Unplash
The current irregular and incoherent schedule of reviews across the United Nations (UN) treaty body (TB) system constitutes a major issue for its visibility, the coherence of its outputs and encouragement for timely and full cooperation.
Suggestions for a master calendar have been made and turned down for various reasons while the problem only aggravated. In the lead-up to the 2020 Treaty Body Review by the UN General Assembly, submissions on behalf of 48 states addressed the development of a coordinated, fixed and multiyear calendar for all TBs, stating that it would provide valuable assistance to states parties in engaging effectively with the TB system.
The ‘master calendar’ should be coordinated across all Committees and include the due dates for state parties’ reports and appearance dates. Greater coordination within the TB system in relation to scheduling appearances could also assist state parties by ensuring, where possible, that appearances before different TBs and the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review mechanism do not overlap.
Such a ‘master calendar’ would also ensure that state parties do not duplicate reporting and briefing processes. The current uncoordinated process can make domestic planning and engagement difficult. Reducing the reporting burden and making the reporting systems simpler, more efficient and focused would therefore support state parties to focus on follow-up and implementation.
A push for a comprehensive fixed calendar by the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights brings new dynamics into the discussion. Similar developments of independent fixed calendars are being considered also by other TBs. Yet, the COVID situation has undone some of the recent achievements and aggravated the backlog already present in the system.
This GHRP Friday – open to all interested delegations, TB members, staff from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and civil society – will discuss calendars in place and possibilities to synchronize reporting schedules of all TBs, moving thus towards a 100 percent reporting compliance rate and meaningful possibilities for follow-up and mutual reinforcement.
The GHRP Fridays provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss the results of the United Nations (UN) Treaty Body (TB) 2020 Review and practical ways to implement change. They are open to all interested delegations, TB members, staff from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and civil society.
This event series of the Geneva Human Rights Platform – co-organized with the Permanent Missions of Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Morocco, Switzerland and Uruguay to the UN in Geneva – aims at discussing the outcomes of the 2020 UN Treaty Body Review.