What is the NGO CSW Forum?

The NGO CSW Forum is the civil society gathering that runs parallel to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Over the two weeks of the UN CSW, NGO CSW/NY organizes almost 800 events during the Forum that inform, engage and inspire grassroots efforts and advocacy needed to empower women and girls. This provides civil society organizations (CSOs) and activists the opportunity to engage in the processes and CSW sessions without ECOSOC-accreditation or a UN grounds pass.

What is the UN CSW?

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principle global intergovernmental body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

During the two-week session, UN entities, Member States, and civil society discuss issues pertaining to women, girls, and gender equality. The Commission assesses progress and gaps in the implementation of global women's rights documents like the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA), as well as issues happening on the regional, national, and local levels.

Each year, the Commission focuses on specific themes related to gender equality, known as the 'priority' and 'review' themes.

Learn more about the CSW on UN Women's website here

What is the difference between the two?

The NGO CSW Forum is totally separate from the official UN Commission on the Status of Women session. Below are some important distinctions between the two events.

NGO CSW Forum:

  • Organized by NGO CSW/NY (a civil society organization)
  • Civil society forum (not part of the formal UN system)
  • Do not need to be ECOSOC-accredited to attend
  • Has Parallel Events hosted by civil society


  • Organized by UN Women (a UN agency)
  • Official United Nations Commission
  • Must be ECOSOC-accredited to attend
  • Has Side Events hosted by Member States, UN agencies, and ECOSOC-accredited NGOs

Aspects of the NGO CSW Forum:


One of the key components and the most popular aspect of the NGO CSW Forum is the Parallel Events. Each year, we invite civil society organizations around the globe to apply to host a Parallel Event, regardless of their ECOSOC status. These events are totally organized by the host organization and address the CSW priority theme in some way.


Conversation Circles provide a place to raise issues and exchange ideas on different topics in a semi-structured space during CSW66. Each conversation presented a specific topic related to women’s rights and gender equality and were guided by co-facilitators who are experts on the topic.


Hosted by the NGO CSWs in the Regions and the North America & Europe Caucus, regional caucuses are informal, loosely moderated spaces for participants to discuss and reflect upon regional advocacy and their region's most relevant and pressing issues.


Co-hosted by NGO CSW/NY and UN Women, the civil society briefings bring together civil society, UN agencies and Member States to share the state of play as developments within the CSW and outcome document negotiation process unfolded.


Meet fellow activists and connect with old friends. The NGO CSW Forum is the perfect place to network with other organizations and advocates in the global gender equality and women's rights movement. NGO CSW/NY and the YLYPs host different sessions that allow for networking and connection between participants.


Advocate for your organization and the issues you're passionate about to Member States and the UN during the NGO CSW Forum. NGO CSW/NY and the YLYPs host advocacy trainings and provide advocacy resources to ensure that you are prepared to engage effectively.