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Parliaments of Eastern and Central Europe and Central Asia meet to discuss climate change and SDGs

Participants at the Regional Seminar.

Participants at the Regional Seminar. © Zsuzsa PETHŐ.

Parliaments of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia met to discuss the next steps in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The seminar, which took place in Budapest on 23­-24 February and was co-organized by IPU and the Hungarian National Assembly, was a follow-up to previous meetings that had called for concrete parliamentary action in key areas, such as environmental risk and climate change.

Participants from 22 countries assessed their progress and developed further recommendations for parliamentary engagement with the SDGs. Experts addressing the seminar included staff from the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe and UNDP, Hungarian climate scientists and members of civil society who had productive exchanges with MPs. The IPU regional seminars in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia are becoming a forum for productive parliamentary exchanges on SDGs, climate change and related issues in the region.

The seminar focused on climate change and water as an enabler of sustainable development. The majority of the water resources in the area are transboundary, making countries dependent on water that is outside their boundaries, making cooperation among parliaments crucial. Participants discussed ways in which water could support the sustainable development of the region.

IPU President Saber Chowdhury presented IPU’s SDG toolkit and encouraged MPs to use it. He encouraged them to share their experiences in using the toolkit at the upcoming Assembly in Dhaka.

The seminar was also a follow-up to the 2016 Budapest Water Summit, which helped promote the early implementation of water-related targets under SDG6.

The next regional seminar for Eastern and Central Europe and Central Asia will be held in Belgrade in 2018.