Parliaments and the Sustainable Development Goals: A self-assessment toolkit

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a ground-breaking global commitment to end poverty and set the world on a sustainable path to inclusive development. It was endorsed by government leaders at a United Nations summit in September 2015. A set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 actionable targets lies at the core of this ambitious agenda.

The SDGs are intended to focus and coordinate national policies towards a common vision for humanity. The SDGs build on past efforts to implement the poverty reduction agenda known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They aspire to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They include the three pillars of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. While the SDGs are not legally binding, governments have assumed a moral commitment to implement them to the best of their capacities and in accordance with national priorities.

The 2030 Agenda and its SDGs are the outcome of an extended consultation and negotiation over several years. IPU, UNDP, national parliaments and hundreds of parliamentarians played a very active role throughout the process and advocated strongly for the inclusion of goals related to democratic governance.

The purpose of this self-assessment toolkit is to assist parliaments and their members to:
assess their preparedness to engage with the SDGs;
identify additional strategies, mechanisms and partnerships to support implementation of the SDGs more effectively.

The toolkit is designed to enable parliamentarians to identify good practices, gaps, opportunities and lessons learned. That will equip parliamentarians to effectively institutionalize the new agenda and mainstream the various goals into the legislative process. The toolkit is not prescriptive. It has been designed to be relevant to all parliaments, whatever their political system and stage of development.

Self-assessment is a method that parliaments can use to start their own process of internal benchmarking and to assess their state of preparedness for engagement with the SDGs. The conclusions of the self-assessment should allow parliaments to set priorities for reform in order to strengthen their response to the SDGs. The ultimate objective is to ensure that parliaments are fit for purpose to play a full role in realizing the 2030 Agenda.

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