UN chief tells parliaments across the world to back SDGs

1 Sep 15

United Nations secretary general Ban Ki Moon has urged legislators around the world to help drive forward the new sustainable development agenda.

Addressing a conference of parliamentary speakers at UN headquarters in New York, Ban said member states had taken a “bold step” in agreeing an “ambitious and transformative” development agenda for the next 15 years.

The 17 new sustainable development goals were both people-centred and planet-sensitive and would leave no-one behind, he said, adding that the contribution of parliaments around the world was necessary to ensure the ambitions translated from global to national level.

“People will look to you to hold your governments accountable for achieving the goals, and to write the laws and invest in the programmes that will make them a reality,” the UN general secretary said.

However, the success of the sustainable development programme was dependent on governments and civil society, in the form of non-governmental organisations, working together, Ban said, noting that many governments were limiting NGOs ability to operate or terminating their funding.

“As we embark on this new agenda, the state and civil society can and should be partners in building the future we want,” he said.

UN General Assembly president Sam Kahamba Kutesa echoed Ban’s comments on the importance of parliamentarians’ contribution.

“Parliamentarians should continue to ensure that the voices of the people are heard and included in the development process. This will enhance ownership of the new agenda and its implementation on the ground, which will be vital for its success,” he said.

He added that there was still unfinished business to address from the Millennium Development Goals, which have been incorporated into the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular in the areas of education, health, water and sanitation, gender equality and job creation.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament is meeting until 2 September. The global parliamentary summit takes place every five years.

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