Parliament is uniquely placed to make a difference in development issues through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through both its legislative powers and its powers of scrutiny of the actions of Government.
In order for Parliament to become a full and active partner in the SDGs and the National Development Plan (NDP) implementation, we need to make the SDGs and NDP central to the work of the Parliament, and in particular, the work of the Standing Committees.
These were the comments by the Speaker of the Fijian Parliament, Sir Ratu Epeli Nailatikau while opening the training for Members of Parliament (MPs) mainstreaming of SDGs in Parliament.
“As MPs, we need to continuously ask ourselves what difference our work and actions make for the people. The day-to-day concerns of Fijians, such as jobs, education and healthcare are all related to the SDGs.
“Making progress towards achieving the SDGs translates directly in the improvement of the lives of Fijians.
“It is important to keep this in mind as we look at ways to strengthen the capacity of our Parliament to implement the SDGs to give our country the greatest chance of success,” the Speaker said.
He also recognized that knowledge-building and capacity development of MPs and staff are critical to the institution’s effectiveness.
“Research has shown that a Parliament that lacks training and skills to support members and committees – could see the quality of adopted policies and their implementation affected, ultimately impacting the people on the ground.
“In this regard, all policies, laws, and budget decisions impact in one way or another on the lives of people on the ground,” Hon. Ratu Epeli added.
The Speaker also acknowledged the assistance by the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for the facilitation of the training, which ends on Thursday, 29 August 2019.