On 24-25 January, tens of parliamentarians from the Arab region and abroad reached a set of outcomes revolving around raising awareness among parliaments and their institutions on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), enhancing the capacities of parliamentarians and their teams, bolstering engagement with other stakeholders including national statistical offices, supreme audit institutions, civil society organizations and others.
“This engagement not only contributes to effective law-making but also provides Member of Parliaments with invaluable resources and expertise they often require to carry out their work, particularly in light of limited institutional resources available to them,” the Sustainable Development Officer in the Unit on 2030 Agenda at ESCWA, Maisaa Youssef said.
At the annual forum and one of a series of regional meetings that feed into the Arab Forum on Sustainable Development (AFSD) and the High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF), participants from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Sudan, Syria, and Tunisia shared their countries parliaments experiences and achievements in relation to the 2030 Agenda.
Conferees also called for activating the parliaments independent role in sustainable development plans and Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). The involvement of parliaments in the VNR process varied substantially across country reports and many shared that their parliament was not involved at all in the process.
In addition, discussions tackled means to examine the budget from an SDG lens throughout the budget cycle and the particular resources and mechanisms available to parliamentarians. Many lawmakers stressed the need to be involved the national budgeting process.
The forum was organized in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Arab region, and in collaboration with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
During the opening session, the Acting Executive Secretary of ESCWA, Mr. Mounir Tabet, stressed that participation, equality and inclusiveness pave the way for discussion and allow access to the different parliamentary experiences in rights-based legislation.
The UNDP Director of the Regional Hub in Amman, Mr. Khaled Abdel Shafi, urged parliamentary institutions to be efficient and open, and to best fulfil their legislative, monitoring, and representative functions for the sake of 2030 Agenda.
For his part, the Advisor to the President and Special Envoy on the Sustainable Development Goals at the IsDB, Mr. Rami Ahmad, urged Arab Parliaments to efficiently reflect the hopes and demands of their citizens regarding development and called them to think strategically, monitor achievements and implementation.
A roundtable discussion was devoted to delve into practical steps and mechanisms to enhance the parliaments role in the implementation and follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda. It was guided by the "Draft action plan on strengthening the role of parliaments and parliamentarians in the implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda" (page 5 of the first Parliamentary Seminar report), which was adopted during the first edition of the Parliamentary Forum in November 2017.
For more information:
The event page: https://www.unescwa.org/events/2019-arab-parliamentary-forum-2030-agenda (where the outcomes will soon be uploaded)
Photo album: bit.ly/2UdkfKZ
For more information:
Nabil Abu-Dargham, Head, ESCWA Communication and Information Unit
+961-70-993-144; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms Rania Harb +961-70-008-879; email: email@example.com