Good governance and democratic institutions are fundamental to sustainable development. This was one of the conclusions of a regional seminar for parliaments of sub-Saharan Africa on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Members of 18 African parliaments attended the seminar, organized by IPU and the Parliament of Uganda in Kampala on 1-3 March. They discussed SDG 16 (Peace, justice and effective institutions), and governance, health, climate change and resources for implementing the SDGs.
In the outcome document, parliamentarians highlighted the role of parliaments in implementing the goals. The MPs said that, to be successful, they would need to work across party lines to build political will and to create parliamentary mechanisms. They called on all MPs to maintain a dialogue with key stakeholders, including the executive, citizens and civil society. They also advocated joint projects with parliaments from other countries to promote peace and stability.
Participants recognized the importance of achieving gender equality, which would also help to achieve several SDGs. They also stressed the need to involve youth in SDG-related national development plans. Young people are over 60 per cent of Africa’s population, and their lives would be directly affected by the success or otherwise of the SDGs.
The outcome document called for climate change challenges to be addressed by transposing international agreements into national legislation. Environmental degradation is a problem in much of Africa, and so MPs called for legislation that would provide incentives for behavioural change.
Representatives of IPU and UNDP presented the SDG Self-Assessment Toolkit for Parliaments. Participants were interested in learning to use the toolkit and signed a poster of the cover produced by UNDP.