With only 12 years to go, members of parliament from Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia met in Belgrade last week to discuss how they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. They focused on measures to reduce poverty in the region, particularly marginalized groups, as well as attain universal health care.
The seminar, hosted by the National Assembly of Serbia, is the fourth in a series for the region. As the global organization of parliaments, the IPU facilitates these seminars to give parliamentarians a platform in which to identify practical steps to put in place the SDGs in their respective countries. Members of parliament compare results achieved so far and exchange best practice regarding legislation, budget, and oversight mechanisms.
The seminar focused on six themes: (1) the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and priorities for the region; (2) the role of self-assessment; (3) poverty reduction in the region; (4) implementation of SDG 3: promoting health care; (5) climate change as an amplifier of poverty and public health challenges; and (6) inclusion of youth in social and political processes to achieve SDGs.
“We firmly believe that parliaments can play a crucial role in supporting implementation of the SDGs through their key legislative, oversight and budgetary functions,” said Gabriela Cuevas, IPU President, “The SDGs are a unique opportunity for parliamentarians to demonstrate their commitment to improving people’s lives and the health of the planet.”
Focus on Serbia
The seminar was also an opportunity for the host, the National Assembly of Serbia, to share its experience as the first parliament in the region to use the IPU-UNDP SDGs Self-Assessment Toolkit. The toolkit is designed to help parliaments assess their progress towards implementing the SDGs. Serbia has committed to doing this on an annual basis, setting an example for the region.
The IPU was also able to launch the Serbian version of the Global Parliamentary Report.