Mobilizing parliaments for the SDGs

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This meeting focused on mobilizing parliaments to implement the twelfth sustainable development goal (SDG 12), namely, sustainable consumption and production. In the opening remarks, Ms. Gabriela Cuevas Barron, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) President, acknowledged the lack of implementation of SDGs in many parliaments. Seeing this, she urged parliamentarians to review SDGs and include them in parliament discussion.

The introduction was followed by keynote speeches given by parliamentarians. Ms. Elizabeth Cabezas from Ecuador presented how SDGs were incorporated into the constitution. She highlighted balancing environmental protection with economic growth. She also touched upon social security and labor laws which guarantee domestic workers’ rights and reduces poverty. To be more specific about SDG 12, Ms. Petra Bayr, President of the Committee for Development in Austrian Parliament, emphasized that the current economic system with infinite growth is not sustainable. She called for a legal framework at the national level to reduce over-consumption. Concerning about the budget side, the third speaker Mr. Thilanga Sumanthipala from Sri Lanka applauded many countries for establishing committees to deal with SDGs. In addition, he recommended parliaments to incorporate SDG indicators in national laws to lead politicians at the local level.

During discussion session, countries focused on sustainable economy. Parliamentarian from Canada brought up the idea of circular economy to change the pattern of consumption and reduce wastes. Ms. Petra Bayr agreed with it and called it a good approach. Lastly, Ms. Gabriela Cuevas Barron concluded that parliamentarians should understand the value of SDGs, take accountability and strengthen institutional mechanism.

Meeting: Mobilizing parliaments for the SDGs (organized by Inter-Parliamentary Union)

Date/Location: Monday 16th July 2018; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 1, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Speakers:

Ms. Gabriela Cuevas Barron, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) President;

Ms. Elizabeth Cabezas, President of Ecuador’s National Assembly;

Ms. Petra Bayr, Member of Austrian Parliament and President of the Committee for Development;

Mr. Thilanga Sumanthipala, Member of Parliament of Sri Lanka.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

Enacting Gender Equality Legislation

 

 

The event was hosted by the IPU and UN Women to highlight the important role of parliamentarians in ending discriminatory laws and implementing legislations that promote gender equality within countries. Recalling both the 1995 Beijing world conference and the ratification by 189 states of the CEDAW, importance was placed upon the urgency of finally realizing gender equality. As Ms. Mensah-Williams noted, it is time that parliaments ensure that women empowerment is both protected as well as promoted throughout their legislation. Parliaments must become gender-sensitive entities. “Let us complete the unfinished business of women empowerment. It can no longer be business as usual.”

Mr. Glemarec noted that only through the attainment of gender equality can a sustainable future be reached. Parliaments can ease this process through passing/reforming legislation, voicing concerns of their constituents, ensuring that gender laws are adequately financed, and holding their governments accountable.

Mr. Claros explained that the World Bank has surveyed through constitutions to examine how countries use their laws to discriminate against women. Of the 173 countries surveyed, only 18 of them had laws across all areas that did not discriminate in some way. Ms. Duncan, shared the launching of a new UN Women database that lists gender equality provisions in constitutions across 195 countries: constitutions.unwomen.org/en.

Ms. Emaase said that KEWOPA has managed to pass and repeal legislation in a male-dominant parliament through lobbying, advocacy, and collaboration. Through the creation of the 2010 Kenyan constitution, KEWOPA has also gained greater voice in parliament.

Mr. Chauvel further highlighted the importance of supervising the gathering of data and statistics at the national level. In achieving the SDGs, it must be ensured that no one is left behind in data reporting. He urged that the economic situation of women be considered holistically and not be compartmentalized.

Meeting: “The Power of Legislation for Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development.”

Date/Location: Tuesday, March 15, 2016; 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.; ECOSOC Chamber

Speakers: Ms. M. Mensah-Williams, President of the IPU Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians; Mr. Y. Glemarec, UN Assistant Secretary-General, Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Programme, UN Women; Ms. Y. Hayashi, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; Mr. A. Lopez Claros, Director, Global Indicators Group, Development Economics, World Bank Group; Ms. Y. Hassan, Global Executive Director, Equality Now; Ms. B. Duncan, Justice and Constitutional Advisor, Leadership and Governance, UN Women; Ms. M.O. Emaase, Member of the National Assembly (Kenya); Mr. C. Chauvel, Team Leader, Inclusive Political Processes, Bureau for Policy and Programmes Support, UNDP

Written By: WIT Representative Emilie Broek

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick