Parliaments the Key to SDGs Success

The goals have been set. The priorities are clear — and there are many. From ending age-old problems of poverty and inequality, to the more modern but equally vital issue of saving our planet and its diminishing resources — the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a reflection of the daunting and wide-ranging challenges our world is facing and the scale of the action required to overcome them.

Ambitious — yes. They have to be. A global vision for a transformed world demands ambition. Are the SDGs realistic? Yes — but with one critical qualifier. The success of Goal 16 will determine the outcomes in 2030.

Why do I believe that? Fifteen years ago, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) also attempted to create a new global reality. However, the absence of governance and accountability in the planning and execution of the MDGs is largely why poverty, hunger, health, education, gender and inequality once again feature so prominently in the new sustainable-development agenda. Governments were not held accountable for reneging on commitments. There was a mismatch between national budget provisions and national development plans. Corruption, lack of political buy-in and capacity to implement the MDGs at an institutional level contributed to the slow pace of progress.

The SDGs are the first major UN agreement to include action on governance in an acknowledgement of that fact. Goal 16 on peace, justice and the building of effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels is a mandate for the firm political change that is needed. It is the key to unlocking progress on the 16 other goals for it will shape their implementation and management.

The institutions that have the unique responsibility for the ratification of international agreements, ensuring governments keep true to their commitments, passing the necessary laws and overseeing their effective implementation, —> Read More