Members of Parliament have been reminded of their integral role in making sure that the ongoing national planning process and other government developmental activities takes on board policies and approaches that will help Malawi achieve the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
United Nations Resident Representative, Mia Seppo made the call when the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Thursday organized an orientation session for the Parliamentary Committee on Government Assurances and Public Reforms on the AU Agenda 2063, Agenda 2030 and the SDGs.
According to Seppo, for Malawi to make real progress on the SDGs, parliament must be fully engaged and take active interest in implementation of the SDGs, which she described as a reflection of aspirations of the people.
“I believe Members of Parliament have an absolutely critical role to play as they are the ones who scrutinize and monitor the implementation of laws and policies. Also, they scrutinize the budgets and its expenditures. And it is important that when they are doing that, they should look at all those issues from the lens that the SDGs provide,” she said.
On budget scrutiny, Seppo said parliamentarians should ensure there is a budget taking into account both the national 2030 and continental 2063 agenda.
“They should be able to see if the budget serves the poorest of the poor and if it transforms the country along the vision of the SDGs and also if it does take into account the lessons that the world has learned in terms of moving from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the SDGs. This could really make a big difference,” she said.
Seppo said it remains to the Members of Parliament to articulate their roles and involvement in the SDGs.
“All we are saying is that in other developed and developing countries like Germany, Zambia, Pakistan and Norway; there are already parliamentary committees, caucuses or groupings on SDGs.
But we hope the session will influence their work in parliament and their conversation with the people they represent,” the Resident Representaive said.
Acting Chief Director in the Department of Economic planning and Development, Peter Simbani concurred with Seppo on the parliaments’ role in terms of overseeing that governments’ plans are being implemented.
Through the workshop, he hoped parliament will be providing the much needed checks and balances to make sure government is indeed implementing its commitments it has made through these two international agreements.
He revealed that Malawi Government has offered itself for the UN to review what it is currently doing to implement the SDGs.
“As you know there are 17 goals and 169 indicators and each country is expected to implement those goals or come up with programs that will lead to the attainment of those goals.
“So Malawi as a country, we have written the UN telling them we are ready and we would want to be assessed in terms of our performance on the same. The first assessment will be done in 2018. And going forward until 2030, the UN should be able to assess us as to when it sees it fit,” Sambani said.
Parliamentary chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Government Assurances and Public Reforms, Harry Mkandawire said the workshop had shared ideas and constructed a roadmap as to how the country will achieve both targets.
“This will also help us to see how we can reach out to our people in the villages to make sure they know about the governments programmes. And come June, we are going to make sure we scrutinize the national budget to see to it that issues of SDGs, AU Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 are incorporated,” he said.
Source: Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA