Natadola, Fiji - The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as a representation of needs and aspirations of people, requires the full engagement and commitment of Parliaments.
Fiji members of parliament have recently concluded a three-day seminar on how to better integrate the SDGs into the work of Parliament – and especially into the work of the parliamentary committees. This approach recognises the important role Parliament plays in ensuring the success of the SDG agenda.
The seminar is part of the capacity building support to MPs through a project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) called the Fiji Parliament Support Project (FPSP) II which is supported by the Governments of Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
The Speaker for the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji, H.E Sir Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, stressed the importance of the work of MPs in impacting the lives of everyday Fijians and meeting these needs of people requires an engaged and committed parliament.
“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,” said H.E Ratu Nailatikau.
“In this regard, all policies, laws, and budget decisions impact in one way or another on the lives of people on the ground.”
“Parliament is uniquely placed to make a difference in development issues through the SDGs, through both its legislative powers and its powers of scrutiny of the actions of government.”
He added, “The parliament of Fiji’s active committee system, through its various functions and powers, provides the ideal framework through which oversight of government action on the SDGs can be undertaken.”
The Fiji Parliament with support from development partners such as UNDP, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association have conducted similar capacity development trainings for MPs on the SDGs and other development issues. This is in response to the need for MPs to identify and address laws that are not consistent with the SDGs and move to make necessary amendments if it is not.
The First Secretary and Head of the Economic Cooperation Section, Embassy of Japan, Mr. Taisuke Iwano, highlighted to MPs that the SDGs are the benchmark for humanity’s overall progress.
“Parliament is the heart of any democracy and you, the Honourable Members of Parliament make democracy function, and enable it to carry out its national decision making and legislative process, through parliamentary consensus. Your work and roles have such significance that it is seen as a service to the entire nation,” said Mr Iwano.
He added “The 17 SDGs are the benchmark through which the world is collectively striving to attain uniform progress for humanity overall. As such, the importance of this Seminar titled, ‘Mainstreaming Sustainable Development Goals into the Work of Parliament’ cannot be exaggerated.”
The 11th Fiji Speaker’s Debate was also integrated into the second day of the workshop held at the Nahigatoka Community Hall in Sigatoka. The debate focused on the issue of HIV/AIDS and was attended by the MPs and students of neighboring schools.
The training was held from Tuesday 27 August to Thursday 29 August.
For more information:
Bale Dolokoto (Mrs), Senior Media Officer, Civic Education & Media Unit, Parliament of Republic of Fiji, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: (679) 3305811, or Mob: (679) 9908 957
Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Associate, Effective Governance, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Email: email@example.com, Tel: (679) 3227 552 or Mob: (679) 7836 744