The Convention and Committee and the
Millennium Development Goals

Woman farmer harvests cucumber, Cyprus, 1983.
Woman farmer harvests cucumber, Cyprus, 1983. (Photo: World Bank/Yosef Hadar.)

In September 2000, building upon a decade of major UN conferences and summits, world leaders came together at UN Headquarters in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets — with a deadline of 2015 — that have become known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The eight MDGs — which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV and AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 — form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest [1].

Efforts to achieve the MDGs and to implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women are mutually reinforcing. The Convention obliges all its States parties to take all appropriate measures, including temporary special measures, to embody the principle of equality of men and women in their national constitutions or other appropriate legislation. Gender equality is both a specific MDG, and has been identified as critical to the achievement of all other MDGs. The identification of gender equality and the empowerment of women as MDG3 has given increased visibility to the critical importance of gender equality and thereby provided greater impetus for the implementation of the Convention.

At the same time, the work of the CEDAW Committee in monitoring States parties’ progress under the Convention provides a wealth of experience and analysis as to the most effective strategies for the achievement of gender equality. The CEDAW Committee itself has highlighted the clear linkages between the implementation of the Convention and the MDGs. The Committee has emphasized through its concluding observations that the full and effective implementation of the Convention is indispensable for achieving the MDGs, and has called for the integration of a gender perspective and explicit reflection of the provisions of the Convention in all efforts aimed at the achievement of the MDGs [2].

For more information on CEDAW and the MDGs see Pathway to Gender Equality: CEDAW, Beijing, and the MDGs.


  1. United Nations Millennium Development Goals: Background.
  2. Food for Thought from Dubravka Šimonović, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

Next: The Convention and the Beijing Platform for Action »