Vital role of Parliamentarians in the Pacific to implement SDGs

Parliamentarians from the Pacific countries, including Papua New Guinea are meeting in Fiji to discuss Sustainable Development Goals and human rights issues. Over three days, members of parliament, human rights experts and development leaders will discuss Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how parliaments can contribute to their implementation. The meeting focuses on SDGs that are of particular relevance to the region, such as those related to climate change and its effects, gender equality and social equity. Participants will also look at international human rights norms and mechanisms to help ensure that the implementation of the SDGs is fully respectful of human rights.

As representatives of the people committed to defend their rights, parliamentarians can use their constitutional powers to adopt legislation, oversee government action and adopt the national budget to ensure the effective implementation of the SDGs. During the seminar, parliamentarians will explore how they can use their powers to advance economic and environmental pillars of the SDGs and their countries’ human rights commitments.

“Parliaments have the unique power to support SDGs and human rights. Every time a new law is introduced, parliamentarians can call attention to whether it is consistent with the SDGs and human rights, and amend if it’s not. They also can facilitate dialogue and build awareness, bring together different actors and make sure SDGs and the rule of law are priority for their Governments”, said Roy Trivedy, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea in a keynote speech.

He outlined some of the immediate actions that Parliamentarians can take to support SDGs:

·         Invite key government miniseries to discuss SDGs priorities;
·         Organize an event for all sectors of society to generate broad discussions;
·         Create awareness in respective constituencies through national media and other channels;
·         Monitor public spending and budget execution;
·         Develop action plan to align SDGs within various parliamentary committees.

During the workshop, participants will also discuss women’s rights and gender equality, examined opportunities for regional cooperation, exchanged good practices and explored the links between SDGs and human rights.

It is hoped that the workshop will bring greater awareness on the ways parliamentarians can contribute to the implementation of the SDGs as well as help them outline and implement practical actions.

The workshop is organized by the Parliament of Fiji and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The workshop is taking place in Nadi, Fiji on 16-18 of November, 2016.