« a lot needs to be done to empower parliaments to step up to this SDGs’ implementation challenge. Many parliaments lack the resources or the legal authority to carry out their constitutional functions and to maintain their independence from the executive branch. The pressure of the short-term electoral cycle makes it difficult for parliamentarians to maintain the long-term perspective that is required to carry forward the SDGs. (…) Parliaments are often excluded from key processes such as the design and monitoring of national sustainable development plans. Lastly, most parliaments lack an appropriate institutional structure to mainstream such a comprehensive framework in their work, ensuring policy coherence and linking the various goals in an integrated manner ». IPU Concept note for the General Debate on The Sustainable Development Goals: Turning Words into Action
What can a Member of Parliament do to support the realization of the SDGs?
1. Get informed about the SDGs and their purpose. For support, contact the UN office in your country or download the online material from UN websites.
2. Assess the level of engagement your country has already made at this stage. Has the Parliament already discussed the SDGs? What official contributions or commitments have been made? An overview of the current engagement with the SDGs in your country will help you convince your fellow MPs that (more) parliamentary action is called for. You might also include the national achievements of the MDGs as success cases.
3. Ask the parliament´s secretariat to put the SDGs on the agenda of the plenary.
4. Ask the relevant committee’s secretariat to put the SDGs on the agenda.
5. Request the parliament to adopt a non-binding resolution declaring the support of SDGs.
6. Get in touch with any MPs that are or might be interested in working on the SDGs. Exchange ideas, and prepare for the next steps. Is it feasible to set up a working group, or a parliamentary caucus?
7. Request information on the SDGs from relevant ministries (facts, statistics, current projects). This helps you get the latest numbers, and its puts some pressure on the government to look into these issues.
8. Invite a UN staff member or expert to the plenary or committee session to introduce the SDGs, explain their importance and discuss possible strategies of implementation.
9. Get in touch with Civil Society Organizations working in fields connected to the SDGs, for example organizations working on poverty, water sources, education, or peace building. Ask them to present their experiences and views on the current situation, and to share their plans and expectations.
10. Assure the participation of the citizens in the policy making cycle through ICT. MPs can request the development of an online platform to reach out to the citizens regarding the SDGs, and receive their opinion and hear their voice. This will give more credibility to your work and decisions which will be based on representativity.
11. Once you are properly informed, make a shortlist of goals that are critical to achieving sustainable development in your country. This list can be the baseline for your engagement with fellow MPs, committees, civil society groups and other stakeholders as you seek to build political and social support for the implementation of the SDGs.
12. Initiate a discussion at the committees you are a member of about the goals and the way the parliament can get involved to achieve them.
13. Get young people involved. Create a network where young people can submit their suggestions, participate and volunteer for implementing the SDGs.
14. Together with other MPs, from your parliamentary group or from the other parties, initiate policy recommendations or laws which will ease the implementation of SDGs.
15. Campaign for SDGs to be implemented: spread the word in your community and among your constituency.