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The Power of Parliamentarians: Opportunities & Challenges for Effective Development Co-operation

Parliaments and parliamentarians are valuable partners in ensuring the accountable, inclusive, participatory, and transparent governance that is necessary to achieve sustainable development for all. Parliaments in both developed and developing countries have a crucial legislative, budgetary and oversight role to play in improving country’s ability to lead and assume full ownership of national development polices and programmes. Essentially, parliamentarians help ensure development cooperation is effectively delivered and utilized to maximize sustainable development impact.

While we agree on the role parliamentarians can play, what are their challenges (including during the ongoing pandemic)? What are the opportunities for parliamentarians to fully exercise their role in development cooperation and hold governments and development partners accountable for the decisions they make about how cooperation resources are spent? The Inter-Parliamentary Union, the voice of parliaments in the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation Steering Committee, recently launched, together with UNDP,  guidelines for enhancing the engagement and contribution of parliaments to effective development cooperation. These aim to provide parliamentarians with an understanding of what development co-operation is and how it works, as well as ideas on how parliaments can promote more effective and accountable use of resources, both financial and non-financial.

More specifically, the Guidelines provide key recommendations for what parliaments can do to improve the effectiveness of ODA and development co-operation, from scaling up their role in national sustainable development planning and the national budget to ensuring their voices are heard during the development of national development co-operation policies. The research also guides parliaments to think what development cooperation looks like beyond ODA, including parliaments’ critical role in advocating for domestic resource mobilization and private sector partnerships.

As part of the Global Webinar Series, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation is hosting an informal discussion/Q&A session with two experts, highlighting parliamentarians and the unique value they bring in strengthening the effectiveness of development co-operation and partnerships at the country level for the SDGs.