Country Global Citizenship Association

CountryGlobalCitizenshipAssociation

Who We Are

The Country Global Citizenship Association promotes the practice of global collaboration among nation-states with the aim of building a sustainable world community for all. Such collaboration is vital to the ability of our world to address global problems that cannot be solved by individual countries; problems such as climate change, the abuse of human rights, poverty and income inequality, a digital divide, inadequate governance and the absence of global peace and justice.

The Association functions as a network of concerned organizations united in promoting the following set of core principles:

# 1 — The modern nation-state has global responsibilities as well as sovereign rights. It is a member of a world community of inter-dependent and inter-connected nation-states, and has responsibility for helping to support the sustainable development of this community

# 2 — As a member of a world community of countries, the modern nation-state needs to honor its commitments to international Agreements, Conventions, and Treaties (ACTs) that seek to solve global problems.

# 3 — The nation-state has responsibility for building global governance institutions that reflect the values of inclusivity, transparency, and fairness.

#4 — The nation-state has responsibility for engaging its citizens in the processes of collaborating with other countries to address global issues.

Membership in the Association is open to concerned non-state actors, including NGOs, businesses, professional associations, international organizations, colleges and universities and policy research organizations, social justice organizations, and social movements. In addition individuals, wishing to form an association-affiliated group, may become members

What We Do

The Association is intended to be the advocacy arm of The Country Global Citizenship Report Card Project (http://www.countryreportcard.org). Its members can draw on data and analysis from the Report Card Project to advocate for greater efforts by their countries to strengthen their global citizenship status. Association members in each country can help advocate for ways in which their countries can expand their commitments to signing and ratifying, implementing, monitoring and reporting on international agreements, conventions, and treaties (ACTs).

Examples of Association member activities include: (a) convening roundtable discussions of concerned stakeholder organizations to review Report Card analysis and develop advocacy strategies and activities; (b) working with local media organizations to publicize Report Card findings; or (c) implementing campaigns targeted at getting their country to sign or ratify an outstanding ACT or develop a policy that addresses a gap in their country’s implementation of an ACT that they have signed and ratified.

Member Benefits

As a member of the Country Global Citizenship Association your organization will gain the ability to work on global issues with like-minded organizations in countries around the world.

For example, rather than being a lone voice in rural Nigeria, advocating that your country do more to honor its international human rights commitments, you can be part of a global voice that gives support to your efforts.

In addition Association members will have access to the technical expertise of other members as they develop and implement country global citizenship advocacy activities. Also members of the Association will receive periodic news and information regarding issues related to the Country Global Citizenship Report Card Project.

Organization and Registration

The Global Citizens’ Initiative (TGCI) will serve as a founding and coordinating institution for the Association (www.theglobalcitizensinitiatiove.org). Membership is voluntary, free of charge and may be withdrawn at anytime Decisions of the Association on global issues will be based on the agreement or “no-objection” of two-thirds of its members.

Although at the moment we do not have funding to support the work of Association members, the Report Card Project will seek to include such support in our funding proposals.

MEMBERSHIP REGISTRATION INSTRUCTIONS: To register as an association member, please send us an email expression of interest and provide your name, the name of your organization, the country or countries where your organization works, your organization’s website and your email and phone contact information. Please send this information to Association Membership Coordinator Louise Michelle Vital (louisemichellevital@gmail.com with a copy to Ron C Israel, TGCI Director (Roncisrael@gmail.com)

Interview with Nuclear Nonproliferation Expert

Interview with Nuclear Nonproliferation Expert, Dr. Fred McGoldrick

 

Dr. Fred McGoldrick has been involved in the field of nuclear nonproliferation and international nuclear cooperation for over 30 years. He held senior positions in the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of State, where he negotiated U.S. peaceful nuclear cooperation agreements and helped shape U.S. policy to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. He also served in the U.S. Mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. Since his retirement from the State Department in 1998, he has consulted on issues of nonproliferation and nuclear export controls and published numerous articles and monographs on these subjects.

TGCI: Tell us a little bit about your story; how did you get involved in Nuclear Non-Proliferation work?

Fred McGoldrick: I guess you could say that I just wandered into the field. I was in college (Boston College) during the Berlin crisis, the Cuban missile crisis and the beginning of Vietnam and was becoming really interested in foreign policy and national security.  I decided to study international affairs in graduate school (masters from Columbia) then took the management intern exam and joined the Federal Government. I also obtained a PhD from the American University. I was offered a job in the Office of International Security Affairs in the old Atomic Energy Commission. The AEC eventually was reorganized into the Department of Energy.  Then I went to the State Department where I worked on nuclear nonproliferation issues for more than 30 years.

TGCI: For our members who may not know much about the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), can you describe what the treaty seeks to do and how it came about?

Fred McGoldrick: The NPT was first proposed by the Irish around 1960 and was negotiated in the mid-sixties at the initiative of the U.S. and the USSR. It entered into force in 1970. The NPT is an unequal treaty. It recognizes 5 countries as nuclear weapon states (NWS) – those who detonated a nuclear weapon before January 1970.  The other 185 parties are non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS).

The NPT obliges the NWS to refrain from assisting in any way NNWS in manufacturing or acquiring nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices and to negotiate on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament.

The Treaty obliges the NNWS to refrain from manufacturing or acquiring nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices and to accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards (inspections) on all their peaceful nuclear activities. It also obliges members to require IAEA safeguards on their nuclear exports to NNWS.

Its principal purpose is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. However, the NNWS regard the Treaty’s provisions recognizing of their right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the obligation of the NNWS to negotiate in good faith on nuclear disarmament, i.e., to eliminate their nuclear weapons, as equally important. Thus the NPT often is described in terms of three pillars or functions that the agency carries out  – nonproliferation, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and disarmament.

TGCI: How many countries to date have signed and ratified the treaty?

Fred McGoldrick: 190 states are parties to NPT, of which 5 are nuclear weapon states—the US, Russia, the UK, France, and China. There also are five holdout states; countries that have nuclear weapons but have not signed NPT.

TGCI: Can you describe the system that has been set up to monitor NPT?  How does it work? What is the process involved? Who does the monitoring?

Fred McGoldrick: The NPT itself does not have a formal monitoring system associated with it. The monitoring of NPT is linked to the mission and work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Set up in 1957 as the world’s center for cooperation in the nuclear field, the IAEA works with its 164 Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.

NNWS member states of the IAEA agree to participate in the agency’s safeguards system by signing a Safeguard Agreement. Once signed the Agreement gives the IAEA the ability to conduct inspections at all the peaceful nuclear activities in a NNWS to insure that it is using its nuclear material and facilities for peaceful means. The objective of IAEA safeguards is to deter the spread of nuclear weapons by early detection of the misuse of nuclear material or technology, providing credible assurances that States are honoring their legal obligations.

Article III of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty assigns the IAEA the responsibility of applying its safeguards system to all the peaceful nuclear activities in NNWS. Each NNWS must conclude a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA covering all their peaceful nuclear activities. The IAEA employs material accountancy and control measures supplemented by containment and surveillance methods to verify that a country’s nuclear activities remain in peaceful use.

TGCI: Is it difficult to convert nuclear materials into weapons-grade materials if you are a non-nuclear weapons state?

Fred McGoldrick: It’s not that difficult but it does take time, requires having adequate technical and financial resources, and access to the right materials and equipment.

TGCI: Can you explain further?

Fred McGoldrick: Yes. You need to do two things. You need to acquire or manufacture weapons-grade fissile nuclear materials, which can either be plutonium or highly enriched uranium. If you wish to use highly enriched uranium, you need to have a plant that can enrich natural uranium from a level of 0.7% uranium 235 to about 90 % U-235 If you choose plutonium, (which doesn’t exist in nature) you need to have a reactor –usually a heavy water reactor– that can irradiate the uranium fuel and thereby produce plutonium. You also need a reprocessing plant that can separate the highly radioactive waste from the plutonium.

TGCI: Is it difficult to acquire the plant and the materials?

Fred McGoldrick: Uranium – the basis for plutonium and weapons-grade uranium – is mined in several places around the world and is not that difficult to acquire. Acquiring enrichment plants are more difficult. There are a limited number of suppliers that face export restrictions.  Reprocessing plants are not difficult to build provided you have the necessary technical expertise.

TGCI: How long does the whole process take?

Fred McGoldrick: Anywhere from several months to a year. It depends on the efficiency of the plant.

TGCI: Are nuclear weapon states also obliged to participate in the IAEA’s safeguards system?

Fred McGoldrick: No they’re not, but some do so on a voluntary basis. For example, the United States has a safeguard agreement with the IAEA, though it only covers its civil nuclear facilities.

TGCI: What happens if the IAEA finds a country to be in violation of its commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, i.e. that it is using nuclear material intended for peaceful use for military means?

Fred McGoldrick: It refers the matter to the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council for appropriate action.

TGCI: What steps can the Security Council take to address NPT violations?

Fred McGoldrick: The vast majority of countries have complied. Romania, North Korea, Iraq, Iran and Syria are the only states that have been found by the IAEA Board of Governors in serious noncompliance with their IAEA safeguards agreements. The IAEA Board of Governors must submit its finding of noncompliance to the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council. What happens then depends on the severity of the noncompliance. Minor violations often are ignored, but more serious breeches get addressed. For example, the Security Council has adopted resolutions sanctioning Iran and North Korea and mandating their cooperation with the IAEA.

TGCI: Have any changes been made in the IAEA’s safeguard system since its inception?

Fred McGoldrick: The safeguards system has undergone significant changes over the years. The IAEA’s experience with Iraq and the North Korea in the early 1990s demonstrated that, although IAEA safeguards had worked well with regard to verification activities on declared nuclear material and facilities, the IAEA was not well equipped to detect undeclared nuclear material and activities. This set the stage and provided the catalyst for far-reaching efforts to strengthen the safeguards system.

In 1993 the IAEA board of governors mandated that the secretariat propose legal, technical, and financial means of strengthening safeguards. The recommendations resulted in a two-part program. One comprised measures the agency concluded it already had the legal authority to undertake and that could begin immediately. These included requests for additional information from states on their former and future nuclear facilities; increased use of unattended monitoring devices transmitting data direct to IAEA headquarters in Vienna; expanded use of short-notice and unannounced inspections at declared facilities; and the introduction of environmental sampling. In addition, the Agency revolutionized its use of open-source information, including satellite imagery, which is increasingly cheaply available commercially, as well as accepting intelligence information from member states.

Part two involved states providing the Agency with the legal authority for further measures by individually concluding a supplement to their comprehensive nuclear safeguards agreements. In May 1997, the board agreed on a Model Additional Protocol, which expanded the verification responsibilities of the agency and each state-party. It increased transparency by extending states’ declaration, reporting, and site access obligations to encompass the range of nuclear fuel cycle activities from mining to the storage of nuclear waste. The protocol also requires states to report on nuclear equipment production, imports and exports, fuel cycle research and development, and future plans for facilities. Parties are required to provide an expanded declaration of their nuclear activities within 180 days of entry into force of their additional protocol.

The IAEA now takes a holistic, as opposed to a materials- and facilities-based, view of states’ nuclear activities. It seeks “credible assurance not only about declared nuclear material in a state but also about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities.” Complementary access could be sought by inspectors to resolve ambiguities discerned at declared and undeclared sites.

TGCI: In your judgment how effective has NPT been in reducing the spread of nuclear weapons? In reducing the stockpiles of countries with nuclear weapons?

Fred McGoldrick: 146 states have signed the Additional Protocol and it is in effect for 126. In 2014, safeguards were applied for 180 States with safeguards agreements in force with the Agency. Of the 118 States that had both a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an Additional Protocol in force, the Agency concluded that all nuclear material remained in peaceful activities in 65 States; for 53 States, as the necessary evaluation regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities remained ongoing, the Agency was unable to draw the same conclusion.

TGCI: How about NPT’s effectiveness in helping to reduce existing nuclear stockpiles?

Fred McGoldrick: There has been a great deal of effort put into reducing the weapons stockpiles of nuclear weapons nations. The United States and Russia hold over 90% of these weapons. Through a now expired bi-lateral treaty, US and Russia have reduced their stockpiles from 60,000 at the time of the Cold War to 1,550 each.  However, as a result of recent world events, efforts to pursue a new US-Russia nuclear weapons treaty have stalled. Russia now includes nuclear weapons as part of its military doctrine because of the decline in its conventional forces. Also Russia is upset with US-led efforts to setup a missile defense system in Eastern Europe (supposedly to defend the region against threats from Iran).

TGCI: I understand that the Non Nuclear Weapon States are dissatisfied with the level of progress being made by the Nuclear Weapon States to reduce their stockpiles.

Fred McGoldrick: Every 5 years, NPT parties hold a Review Conference, and the NNWS loudly complain about the failure of the NWS to live up to their disbarment obligations. At this year’s Review Conference a coalition of 107 countries led by Austria supported a “humanitarian pledge” to “fill the legal gap” in the treaty by pursuing a prohibition of the possession and use of nuclear weapons.  Such a ban would make these weapons illegal and will stigmatize any state that continues to have these weapons as being outside of international law.  The Austria-led effort failed and most of the NNWS expressed disappointment over the failure to extract from the five nuclear weapons states a clear commitment to an effective, legally binding process toward nuclear disarmament in a sure, predictable, and time-bound manner.

TCGI: There are other important international agreements and treaties that support nuclear non-proliferation. Can you describe there?

Fred McGoldrick: While NPT is the foundation of efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, there are other important international agreements, conventions, and treaties that need to be considered as part of these efforts. One such agreement is the Nuclear Supplier Guidelines. This is a non-binding set of guidelines developed by the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG)-a group of countries with companies that produce nuclear materials and equipment. To date 48 countries belong to the NSG. Member countries agree to use the Guidelines to frame their licensing policies for use by their companies that export nuclear materials and facilities. Each participating government implements the Guidelines in accordance with its national laws and practices.

Other international, legally binding instruments in the field of nuclear non-proliferation include the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Treaty of Tlatelolco), the South Pacific Nuclear-Free-Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga), the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba), the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (Treaty of Bangkok), and the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Semipalatinsk).

The international nonproliferation regime also consists of various conventions, guidelines and initiatives to prevent the theft or sabotage of nuclear materials and facilities. These include the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and the IAEA Guidelines on Physical Protection.

TGCI: Do you have any recommendations for strengthening the work of the IAEA?

Fred McGoldrick: The existing system remains as underfinanced and under-resourced. The IAEA inspects about 1,250 nuclear facilities, and there are a lot more expected to come on line. The safeguards budget is about 132 million Euros – with about an additional 116 million USD in the regular budget. The IAEA gets about 32 million Euros in extra-budgetary contributions – about 28 million USD.

Also, I hope that more states will sign the Additional Protocol and NPT members should recognize it as the international norm for IAEA safeguards. Nuclear suppliers should require it as a condition of their nuclear exports.

TGCI: What is your perspective on the current effort to get Iran to become a signature to NPT?

Fred McGoldrick: Iran is already a party to the NPT. The challenge is to ensure that the Iranians abide by their NPT obligations and the commitments they have recently made in their agreement with the P-5+1.

TGCI: Do you think it’s fair that NPT member countries get to keep their nuclear weapons while at the same time asking other countries to forego building such weapons?

Fred McGoldrick: You mean nuclear weapon states, not NPT parties. No, it is not fair. But as JFK said, “Life is unfair.” I am not optimistic about nuclear disarmament, barring a catastrophic nuclear war.  However, the NWS should be pressed to make further reductions in their nuclear arsenals.

TGCI:  Thank you.

Interview with CEDAW Treaty Monitor

Interview with CEDAW Treaty Monitor, Barbara Bailey

 

Professor Bailey currently serves as one of the Vice Chairs of the Expert Member Committee charged with monitoring State party implementation and compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).  She has been a member of the CEDAW expert monitoring committee since 2008.

Professor Emerita, Barbara Bailey, also is the immediate past University Director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. She served in that position between 1996 and 2010 and during her tenure was instrumental in guiding the development of its teaching, research and outreach programmes.

Our interview with Professor Bailey is the first in a series of TGCI planned interviews with monitors of UN sponsored agreements, conventions, and treaties. Our objective is to gain insights into the challenges faced by countries who are party to these instruments and lessons learned in efforts to comply with their international commitments.

 

TGCI: Thanks Professor Bailey for taking time to do this interview with us. Let’s begin by asking you to tell our readers about how you became interested in gender equity issues and a member of CEDAW’s Expert Committee.

Barbara Bailey: My work on women’s issues started with my involvement with women of the Jamaica Methodist Church as President of the Women’s League Organization. The Jamaica District is  part of the Conference of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA) and in 1980 I became the founding President of MCCA Women.. Serving in this position gave me an opportunity represent Methodist women of the Caribbean at the 1981 Assembly of the World Federation of Methodist Women held in Hawaii. That was my first foray into the international women’s movement and at the NGO Forum of the UN 3rd World Conference on women in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985. At that time, I was also invited to be part of the Jamaican Government’s delegation to the government meeting of that conference. I also subsequently attended the UN 4th World Conference held in Beijing, China in 1995 as well as being a member of the Jamaica Delegation to the Beijing + 5 Women’s Conference held at the United Nations General Assembly in 2000.

My introduction to the CEDAW Committee was when, in 2007, the Government of Jamaica asked me to lead the delegation to present Jamaica’s progress report to the Expert Committee charged with monitoring the Convention. In the following year I was nominated by the Government of Jamaica as a candidate for the Expert Committee and was duly elected. I am now in my second four-year term as a member of the CEDAW Committee, and currently serve as one of the Vice-Chairs of the Committee.

TGCI: Can you tell us about how the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination  (CEDAW) came to be?

Barbara Bailey: The 1960s saw the emergence in many parts of the world of a new consciousness of the patterns of discrimination against women and a rise in the number of organizations committed to combating the effect of such discrimination. The adverse impact of some development policies on women also became well known, and it was felt that the United Nations needed to take action to spur efforts to promote the equal rights of men and women in countries around the world.

In 1974, at its twenty-fifth session, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) decided, in principle, to prepare a single, comprehensive and internationally binding instrument to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.  This instrument The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, was drafted and was finally adopted in 1979 at the UN General Assembly by 130 votes to none and with 10 abstentions.

TGCI: What is required of countries that ratify the CEDAW convention?

Barbara Bailey: Let me quote the Convention’s definition of discrimination against women. It defines discrimination against women as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.” States that ratify the Convention, therefore, commit to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all its forms, including: by incorporating the principle of equality of men and women in their legal systems, abolishing all discriminatory laws and adopting appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women; establishing tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and ensuring the elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.

TGCI:  To date, how many countries have signed and ratified the CEDAW Convention?

Barbara Bailey: Currently 189 countries have signed and ratified CEDAW, the most recent being South Sudan. Only six countries have failed to ratify CEDAW —- the United States, Iran, Nauru, Palau, Somalia, Tonga, and Sudan.

In Tonga, the Parliament originally agreed to the Convention but then withdrew its agreement in the face of protests from women of the Catholic Church. The protestors claimed that adopting CEDAW would alter the culture of the country by forcing Tonga to permit abortion and same sex marriage (although neither of these practices are explicitly mentioned in the Convention).

TGCI: How many members does the Expert Committee have and how does the Committee monitor the implementation of CEDAW?

Barbara Bailey:  The Expert Committee has 23 members. The role of the Committee is to monitor the degree to which countries are complying with their obligations under the articles of the Convention. Every four years countries that ratified the Convention are expected to submit a Periodic Report to the Expert Committee. These Reports are reviewed and, where necessary, further clarification is sought through questions based on a List of Issues (LOIs) to which responses are invited. The Committee’s review process also takes into account “shadow reports” submitted by NGOs working in the country under review. These submissions as well as information gleaned from alternative sources is used as the basis of a “constructive dialogue” with the State party in which it issues impacting full compliance with the Convention are discussed with the delegation. Once that process is completed the Committee makes an assessment of the strengths, weaknesses and gaps in implementation of the Convention by the State party and recommendations for further action are issued in the Committee’s concluding observations, which are transmitted, to the State party for further action.

 

TGCI:  We understand the Committee recently has instituted a follow-up procedure where it identifies those issues that it deems to be a priority for country action.

Barbara Bailey: Yes six years ago we instituted a follow-up procedure whereby the Committee, when it issues its concluding observations, selects two issues of which it regards to be of paramount importance for immediate action. It asks the country to address these issues within one to two years and to send back an interim written Report. The Committee reviews this Report and assesses the response and sends further feedback to the country regarding whether or not the issues have been ‘implemented’, ‘partially implemented’ or ‘not implemented’. In some cases, further information is requested but mostly further information is requested in the State’s next periodic report.

TGCI:  But the CEDAW Committee has no enforcement ability; is that right?

Barbara Bailey: That’s right. The Committee can recommend what countries need to do to comply with different articles of the Convention, but it cannot unilaterally interfere in matters of the State and force compliance with the Convention. However, we see many countries that are voluntarily making a definite effort to comply with the terms of the Convention and to pursue further measures as required. This is clear, for example, in responses to the follow-up procedure.

TGCI: Does CEDAW Optional Protocol help with compliance?

Barbara Bailey: The “optional protocol” (OP) came into force in 2000. It allows for complaints to be filed on or behalf of individuals whose rights under the Convention have been violated and on condition that those who file such a complaint have (a) exhausted all domestic remedies to seek redress and (b) it is established that complaint is, in fact, a violation of the Convention. Under the OP the Committee can also act on reliable information received indicating grave or systematic violation of rights and can, if this is established, invite the State party to cooperate in an inquiry, as warranted, which may include a visit to the country in question.

TGCI: How many countries have ratified and are making use of the Optional Protocol?

Barbara Bailey: To date the Protocol has been ratified by 106 countries. This is a smaller number than those who have ratified the Convention because, in some cases, states are reluctant to do so if they feel that the judicial infrastructure in place would not allow for affected individuals to seek and obtain domestic remedies in a timely manner.

TGCI:  Have individuals and NGOs made use of the Optional Protocol?

Barbara Bailey: To date we have had many more complaints than inquiry requests. The Expert Committee has set up a Working Group to investigate complaints brought by individuals. The Working Group reviews each complaint, makes recommendations as to whether it is admissible and has merit, and then brings a recommendation for approval by the whole Committee.

A similar Working Group has now been established to review inquiry requests brought by NGOs.  Such requests are considered if the Working Group determines that they constitute a grave and systematic violation of the Convention. The most recent complaint was brought by a group of NGOs in Canada and focused on the growing number of murders and disappearances affecting aboriginal women and girls.

TGCI: What has been the impact of the CEDAW Convention? Do you think there has been much improvement in addressing issues affecting women’s rights in countries around the world?

Barbara Bailey: In general I think there has been improvement. However, implementation of the Convention has been uneven, and varies depending on factors such as geography and economic, political, and religious differences. On the whole developed countries have done a better job than developing countries, but even developed countries still have important issues to deal with.

The universal issue that you find affecting women in every country is the level of violence against women. This issue takes many different forms; for example in conflict-torn countries women are usually the chief victims of conflict-related violence. In developed countries violence against women frequently takes the form of domestic abuse cases and intimate partner violence.

TGCI:  I know you feel that there also are deep ideological factors that constrain women’s equality. Can you share your thoughts on this?

Barbara Bailey: Gender inequality is both structural and ideological and, in my opinion, the overarching factor driving gender inequalities is the entrenched patriarchal ideology that undergirds most gender equity issues. This patriarchal ideology imposes on society what is what is regarded as appropriate roles and responsibilities for men; whereby men usually play the dominant roles and females the subordinate roles in most relationships. This holds true in the private family domain, where domestic violence is the expression of unequal power between men and women and is also played out in the public domain as reflected in the positioning of women relative to men in the workforce and in political processes and decision-making positions.

TGCI: And do you think that CEDAW has been able to affect the “ideological dimension”?

Barbara Bailey: Although, on the surface, this may not appear to be the case, I believe that there has been a lack of significant progress in disrupting the ideological domain. A clear example is what obtains in my region and in many other countries, which have made significant progress in improving the rate of girls’ enrollment and completion of school. In this regard, education has helped many women better manage their lives as evidenced in reduced fertility rate, and in many cases women now have greater opportunities for employment in paid work. Yet, in spite of their educational achievement women in most labor markets are predominately clustered in low paying sectors such as the clerical, nursing, and service industries. In addition, women still remain underrepresented in higher management, on Boards, and in political leadership roles. So at the end of the day, although education has helped women in certain ways it has not significantly impacted prevailing gender ideologies or disrupted the private/public dichotomy and the accompanying uneven power relations with women still primarily positioned in subordinate roles in both these domains.

TGCI: What, if any, changes would you make to improve the effectiveness of CEDAW’s Expert Committee?

Barbara Bailey: I think that by and large CEDAW’s Expert Committee has been doing a good job in monitoring State compliance with the Convention. The new “Follow-up Procedure” and the “Optional Protocol” have helped improve our capacity to help countries comply with CEDAW.  However, it would be good if a way could be found to assist those countries that lack the technical skills or resources that are needed to adequately comply with CEDAW and the recommendations of our Committee.

The Committee’ efforts have been helped by our ability to make General Recommendations which provide authoritative guidance to States parties on various aspects of the Convention. The Committee makes these recommendations to address issues that affect the rights of women that the Committee feels that States who have ratified the Convention need to pay more attention. For example in 2013the Committee adopted General Recommendation (GR) No. 30 which highlights issues related to “women in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations and the fact that states parties are obliged to uphold women’s rights before, during, and after conflict when they are directly involved in fighting, and/or are providing peacekeeping troops or donor assistance for conflict prevention, humanitarian aid or post-conflict reconstruction. The GR also points to the fact that ratifying states should exercise due diligence in ensuring that non-state actors, such as armed groups and private security contractors, be held accountable for crimes against women.

TGCI:  Do you have any additional recommendations regarding issues related to the issue of getting countries to comply with UN conventions and agreements?

Barbara Bailey: Smaller countries face the need to fully comply, not just with CEDAW but with other international conventions as well but with limited capacity. For this reason it has been suggested that in the Caribbean, and elsewhere, there needs to be a greater effort to a harmonized approach to both implementation and reporting requirements in that there are overlaps both in substance and reporting obligations. For example, certain provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child overlap with provisions of the CEDAW Convention and for that reason we have just been able to do a joint General Recommendation on harmful practices. Further, the United Nations Human Rights Commission recently completed a review of the UN human rights treaty system, and has recommended several ways in which the work of the treaty body system can be harmonized and consolidated. If there is follow through on these recommendations it will, in the long run improve the efficacy and efficiency of the system for monitoring compliance with a wide range of human rights issues.

TGCI: Thank you Professor Bailey.

Request for Research Project Expressions of Interest

The Country Global Citizenship Report Card Project requests expressions of interest in collaboration from development researchers and research institutions.

 

The Report Card Project is developing a data driven methodology for assessing the degree of commitment by nation states to international agreements, conventions, treaties, and best practice standards. To date we have compiled data that assesses country commitments in six domains—human rights, gender equity, environmental stewardship, poverty reduction, good governance, and global peace and justice. We have applied our methodology to define the degree of commitments being made in these six domains by twelve countries —– Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Peru, and the United States.

The Report Card Project team now invites collaboration from researchers and researcher institutions that are interested in working with us to carry out one or more of the following studies:

# 1  An Analysis of the Implications for Policy Change Based on Report Card Data for a Single Country in a Single Domain

# 2  A Comparative Analysis of Why Countries Performed Better in Certain Domains Than In Others

# 3  A Comparative Analysis of Why Two Countries Performed Differently in the Same Domain

Interested researchers and research institutions are encouraged to visit the Report Card Project website, and become familiar with our methodology and data. If you are interested in collaborating with us on one or more of the above studies, please send us a short Expression of Interest. The Expression of Interest should contain the following information:

— Name of researcher or research institution and contact information (email/phone number/ address)

— A short biographical description and a resume, if you are a researcher

— An institutional capability statement if you are an institution

— A one-page statement as to why you’re interested in collaborating with the Report Card Project, what you can contribute to our effort, and how you hope to benefit.

We will contact those Expressions of Interest that meet our qualifications, and provide more detailed information on the Terms of Reference for each study.

Please note that at this time, The Report Card Project is not in a position to provide funding to our collaborators, although we may be able to do so at a later point in time. We will however publish all research reports and post them on our website.

Deadline for Expressions of Interest: August 1st, 2015

Please send information to: Ron Israel, Report Card Project Coordinator, roncisrael@gmail.com

Read the complete Request for Expressions of Interest here.