"Our responsibility as a Parliament is to discuss and approve legislation, provide oversight of the Executive and to represent the people."
Dr Jiko Luveni, Speaker of the Fiji Parliament, addressed fellow MPs at a recent workshop on the MDGs and SDGs:
Welcome to this very important workshop on the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Our responsibility as a Parliament is to discuss and approve legislation, provide oversight of the Executive and to represent the people. Nowhere is this more important than when we are discussing the development issues that are included in the MDGs and the SDGs. I wish to thank UNDP for arranging this workshop in conjunction with Parliament and I want to thank all the resource people and experts who we will hear from today.
The Millennium Development Goals were an ambitious agenda for reducing poverty and improving lives agreed to by world leaders at the Millennium Summit in September 2000. As you will hear during the presentations today, for each goal, there were also targets to reach by the year 2015.
Although it was the participating governments which signed the Millennium Declaration agreeing to the MDGs on behalf of their respective countries and which ultimately have the responsibility to deliver the targets, Parliaments can also play an important role.
The central role that Parliaments can play in reducing poverty in the country and attaining the MDGs has been further reinforced in international agreements such as the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in 2005 and the Accra Agenda for Action in 2008. Parliaments and Parliamentarians have a clear and important role to play in ensuring that progress is made in achieving the MDG targets. Effective Parliamentary engagement can be a catalyst for accelerating progress towards the achievement of the MDGs.
As we move away from the MDGs and towards the new SDGs, the Parliament will once again be an important body in ensuring development progress. If new laws are needed to accelerate progress in achieving the new SDGs, it will be us in Parliament that will decide the content of these laws. If more funding is needed for certain Ministries to achieve these new SDGs, it will be us in Parliament that will scrutinise the national budget with these SDGs in mind. If citizens have any concerns on any issues, including progress made on development issues in their areas, it will be to us in Parliament that many of them will come to raise these concerns.
Today’s workshop is an opportunity to hear from the experts on the MDGs and the SDGs. You will all get your chance in Parliament Committees and the Chamber to debate these issues and ask questions of Ministers on some of the topics. The experts here are to provide the information needed to make debates on these issues in parliament more informative.
The broad overview of the issues that we will hear about today will also provide the platform for more in-depth discussion on key development issues that we will have at the 4 day forum in June.
I thank you all for attending today and trust that you will find the sessions useful and informative."
SOURCE: Parliament of Fiji http://www.parliament.gov.fj/News/Opening-remarks-by-Hon-Dr-Jiko-Luveni-...