Bakhodir Burkhanov: Member of Parliaments Workshop on Parliamentary Engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals

Oct 2, 2017

Hon. Speaker of the Parliament, Dr. Jiko Luveni

Hon. Members of Parliament

H.E. Ambassador of Japan, Mr. Masahiro Omura

Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General and Staff of the Fiji Parliament

Resource persons from line ministries

Ladies and gentlemen:

Good morning, Yadra Vinaka, Namaste and Assalamu Aleykum.

It is my great pleasure to be here this morning to make a few opening remarks at this important event. I would like to start by acknowledging the Parliament of Fiji for embracing the vision of development, equity and peace embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals. Over the past months and years, MPs have had several sessions to deliberate what SDGs mean for Fiji. I would like to commend the Hon’ble Speaker for her leadership in keeping this important agenda central to many deliberations on the floor of the Parliament, and in various public discussions, notably the Speaker’s Debate. These are great examples of Parliament and MPs thinking globally and acting locally.

Let us once again define why SDGs are so crucial for the planet, countries and localities. Within the vision of Agenda 2030, SDGs are about raising the bar on what constitutes dignified life for humanity. The goals aim to end poverty, build inclusive societies and promote prosperity and well-being, while protecting the environment for current and future generations, with the overarching goal to “leave no one behind”.

A remarkable aspect of the SDGs is not only their broad scope and ambition, but also the process that helped produce them. Agenda 2030 has been developed during an extensive consultation process and intense negotiations at the global level involving states, civil society and the private sector. After unanimous adoption by the UN Member States, the global goals now need to be transformed into national priorities, policies and targets.

This is where the Parliaments globally are looked upon to set the tone on localizing the SDGs. Indeed, Parliament are the central place for debate, policymaking and oversight of the implementation of the SDGs.

The SDGs are global guidelines that need to be adapted at country level through a nationally-led participatory process to shape them into actionable national policies. This is a concerted effort in which public institutions, citizens, private sector and other non-state actors play their role.

The successful implementation of the SDG requires a comprehensive approach. They encourage all of us to re-think our assumptions about development. They are highly inter-connected as a testament to the fact that development is complex and can no longer be seen in terms of isolated sectors such as health, agriculture or industries. Progress or lack thereof in one area influences others in substantial ways. Laws, policies and strategies should examine people’s aspirations and human development needs much more holistically.

In Fiji and elsewhere, these principles of national ownership, inclusive space for debates, and holistic approach to development clearly point to the Parliament as the key actor to ensure the success of Agenda 2030. And this is why UNDP is committed to supporting the Parliaments in engaging with the SDGs.

Today’s workshop, organized by the Fiji Parliament in collaboration with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and UNDP, aims to promote debate around the SDGs and discuss the role of Parliament in attaining them.

I would like to thank our workshop partner, the IPU, and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand for their generous financial support to the Fiji Parliament Support Project Phase 2, implemented by UNDP. The project allows us to hold discussions such as the one today, and also organize the Speaker’s Debates, with the latest in a series being held this evening on the topic of Fiji’s transport system.

I hope that you find the content of today’s workshop useful to you in your role as lawmakers and overseers representing citizen’s interests and aspirations. 

Thank you, Vinaka Vakalevu, Dhanyavaad and Shukriya!

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