The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, has challenged Members of Parliament to take ownership of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the wake of the expiry of the Millennium Development Goals.
“It is our responsibility not only to understand but to be able to appreciate the fundamentals in order to facilitate the implementation of the SDGs.”
Kadaga was addressing the plenary session of the 132nd Inter Parliamentary Union Assembly currently taking place in Hanoi, Viet Nam.
The global body is meeting under the theme: “The Sustainable Development Goals: Turning words into action” from 28th of March – 1st April 2015.
The Ugandan Speaker decried the way MDGs were implemented citing that as Parliamentarians, they “did not have an opportunity to participate in the discussions, the designs and the final output of the MDGs,” and yet they were expected to facilitate their implementation.
Evaluating the performance of Uganda in attaining the MDGs, Kadaga noted that notwithstanding our various successes, the country had faltered in sectors of the economy as well as in the control of maternal and infant mortality.
With regard to the tools required to implement the SDGs, Kadaga had some pertinent questions for the assembly; “Is it not time that we moved away from only auditing expenditure but also the other sectors like social and environmental, gender and equity and climate change?”
“We shall need to establish common minimum standards which will require new focus and capacity building,” she added.
Kadaga proposed that the SDG’s be incorporated into the activities of specific parliamentary committees “because the 17 proposed goals are multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional.”
“We should not leave the implementation of the SDGs to chance. We may need to design an action plan within Parliament,” Kadaga said, “We need to introduce into our processes the requirement for an annual report from the government on the status of the SDGs.”
Speaker Kadaga said for that to be achieved, there was need for national parliaments to develop targets, norms, benchmarks and indicators to be used to assess the performance of government.
She said it would also require continuous capacity building within the parliaments, both for the MPs and the staff so as to stay the course.
Kadaga also endorsed the strategy the IPU had taken to establish an SDG unit, which would assist Parliaments in building not only technical capacity, but a resource of useful information in best practices.
Charting the way forward, the Speaker said that her delegation had taken a decision to “strike while the iron is still hot.”
“We shall convene a special sitting in Parliament in May 2015 to discuss the 17 proposed goals so that it can inform the final decisions in September 2015,” she said, “In that way we shall begin to turn words into action.”