Role of Parliament in sustainable development crucial

15 August, 2017 (Fiji Marriot Resort, Momi Bay) – The key functions of Parliament in the scrutiny of legislation, representation and oversight, underscores its central role in the sustainable development agenda.

Therefore, the capacities for Members of Parliament to conceive, analyse and provide oversight of appropriate policies for the advancement of human development is crucial.

As such, Members of the Fijian Parliament are currently engaged in a three-day intensive awareness session on key development issues, focusing on the twenty-third session of the Conference of the Parties (COP23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Trade and Development Minerals.

These three topics not only have intrinsic links to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but are also reflected in Fiji’s development priorities.

“The SDGs and targets require action by Governments and stakeholders which often necessitates legislative and policy reform; and Parliament is a key institution in these processes”, said the Speaker of the Fijian Parliament, Hon. Dr Jiko Luveni.

“Parliaments and parliamentarians need to complement the Government’s efforts by playing their legislative and oversight functions in an effective and efficient manner that commensurate with the national and international climate change initiative.”

“I believe Parliament has an important role here and should share in this responsibility”, said Hon. Dr Luveni, as she referenced Fiji’s commitment as the incoming President of COP23.

Sharing a quote from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Speaker said, “to be successful, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires engaged and committed parliaments to enable governments to act, while holding them accountable to their commitments.”

She added, “Parliaments are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals. As SDG 16 suggests, strong, transparent, accountable and inclusive institutions are key for the achievement of all of the goals.”

“This is why the Fijian Parliament needs to take an active part in progressing the SDGs.”

Echoing these sentiments, the Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji, and Head of Pacific Regional Programme and Policy, Bakhodir Burkhanov, said “Fiji is uniquely positioned to lead the world to achieve a successful outcome at COP23.”

“I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the Speaker’s vision and leadership in organizing this forum, and reiterate UNDP’s strong commitment as a partner of the Fijian Parliament as an institution and all of its MPs as champions of human development”, said Burkhanov.

“UNDP is a proud partner of the Fiji Government in its COP Presidency role.” He added, “we are already providing technical expertise and drawing upon our UNFCCC expertise and experiences from our projects in the region and the country.”

The 2017 retreat for Members of the Fijian Parliament is part of UNDP’s support through its Fiji Parliament Support Project which aims to strengthen the National Parliament’s capacities to engage with key development issues.

The retreat was funded by two projects – the UNDP Fiji Parliament Support Project funded by the New Zealand Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Government’s Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme which is funded by the European Union.

The retreat concludes on Thursday 17 August, 2017