The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide parliaments with a plan of action towards coherent and inclusive development. To foster interregional exchanges between African and Asian parliaments, the IPU and China’s National People’s Congress organized a seminar in Beijing from 5 to 7 September. Participants included parliamentarians from Benin, Cameroon, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Laos and Viet Nam; and experts from research institutes and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The seminar aimed to reinforce South-South development cooperation on SDGs, with special emphasis on climate change, and agricultural and industrial modernization, as critical preconditions for achieving the goals. The seminar was an important platform for parliamentarians to share experiences and reflect on concrete strategies, actions and recommendations to advance parliamentary engagement on, and reinforce its oversight of, the implementation of the SDGs.
Participants agreed that climate change was an issue caused by progress that needed an innovative and sustainable development approach that took into account low-carbon initiatives and the use of renewable energies. They stressed the importance of interregional and global parliamentary cooperation to tackle climate change.
Participants shared their experiences and challenges on engaging with the SDGs and debated on the importance of strengthening the rule of law; building effective, accountable, inclusive and transparent institutions; and improving public participation.
In a message to the seminar, Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, said: “We live in a world full of challenges. We have to find new engines of growth, ensure that development is more inclusive and more equal, and reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. Accelerating development and improving people's living conditions is the mission for developing countries.”
“South-South cooperation is an essential component in the fight against climate change”, said IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong. He went on to say that: “The sharing and transfer of experiences, knowledge, and of joint research in different sectors (for example, agriculture, technology, science) are also highly recommended as they impact substantially the process of poverty reduction and the implementation of Agenda 2030. As a leading country in these fields, China has the responsibility to facilitate and strengthen inclusive cooperation to be able to establish a sustainable model of development.”
The seminar was followed by a field trip to familiarize the parliamentarians with Chinese climate change mitigation models and developments in technology.
The Interregional Seminar on Parliamentary Capacity Building and the further Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals is the second in a series of IPU regional seminars in China aimed at advancing the work and contribution of parliaments to the SDGs.