The Commission meets once a year for eight working days. Participants include representatives of the 45 States members, observers for other States Members of the United Nations and for non-member States, representatives of organizations of the United Nations system as well as observers for intergovernmental, non-governmental and other organizations.
In order to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of its work, the Commission encourages broad-based participation not only during each session, but also in the preparatory process. The documentation prepared for each item of debate is available in all official languages in sufficient time to ensure active and wide participation in discussions. Experts, whose fields lie within the critical areas of concern are selected from various parts of the world to participate in the pre-session expert group meetings as well as in the panel discussions during each session.
During the session, dialogues are held between organizations within the UN system; between the UN system and civil society, and among governmental delegations. The results of dialogues are normally reflected in concise, action-oriented agreed conclusions transmitted to the Economic and Social Council by a Commission decision. They also contain policy recommendations as well as identify coordination issues to be dealt with by the Council.
Offical documents for the following CSW sessions are available online: