The IPU brought together more than 140 parliamentarians from 50 parliaments to review progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the annual High-level Political Forum at the United Nations in New York this week.
The main theme of the 2019 session, held under the aegis of the Economic and Social Council, was “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. The session examined progress towards the SDGs with a special focus on Goals 4 (Quality Education), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), 13 (Climate Action), 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
The IPU organized and supported several events, including a Parliamentary Forum, a workshop for parliamentarians to assess parliaments’ readiness to engage in SDG implementation, and side events on inclusive decision-making and effective institutions, and on the right to nationality and ending statelessness.
MPs shared successful examples of policy initiatives to help reduce inequality. For example, how to shift tax burdens to redistribute income and wealth more effectively, or affirmative action to give women and minorities better access to education and health care.
On SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, MPs recounted experiences of how to reconnect with voters who expressed disenchantment with democratic institutions due to stagnant or falling living standards or lack of representation of large swathes of society.
The parliamentary meetings at the High-level Political Forum follow on from the IPU’s global SDG survey, which provides a snapshot of the role of parliaments in implementing the SDGs – some parliaments are leading the way on good practice, while there are opportunities for others to go much further in their oversight role over government.