The East African Legislative Assembly has embarked on the process of adjusting and implementing the 17-step Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to an end in later this year.
Addressing the legislators meeting in Nairobi, EALA Speaker, Rt Hon Daniel F. Kidega maintained that Parliaments had a fundamental role to play in ensuring implementation of the SDGs, which include reducing poverty, achieving food security and enhancing gender equality among other development initiatives
“We must take a more prominent role in ensuring full realization of the SDGs. I can guarantee you that the fate of the SDGs will be equally sealed if Parliaments do not enact their own action plans and take up the mantle on some of the relevant areas to their mandate”, Speaker Kidega said.
The theme of the two-day workshop is the “Role of EALA in implementing the SDGs: Promoting peaceful and Inclusive Societies for Sustainable development“. The meeting brings together Members of EALA and resource persons from institutions working round the clock to ensure Africa’s concerns are taken on board fully when SDGs are rolled out.
The Institutions are Society for International Development, Africa Platform and the Institute for Economic Affairs. Its objectives include updating the Assembly on the status and details of MDGs and the post 2015 plus 2063 and the Vision of the EAC.
The Speaker said that EALA would hold Partner States accountable and enhance its oversight role in the dispensation.
He noted that it was important for the East African Community to allocate and appropriate more resources in the area of SDGs. He remarked that EALA was keen to enact a regional piece of legislation relevant to the realization of the SDGs.
“For example, on legislation, can we check if each of our Partner States have enacted laws in the areas on SDGs. If the laws are in place, are they being implemented? Has the public been sensitized about these laws? How much have we budgeted for the effective implementation of laws?” the Speaker asked.
The Head of the Africa Platform Secretariat, Paul Okumu remarked that it was time for African countries to fully implement laws and policies around development. He said a number of SDGs were in one way or another already encapsulated in policy frameworks.
“We need to understand that developing countries want to ensure an open democratic space where we can all make decisions and have a vote. This is why the arena such as SDGs that bring together all countries is vital,” He said.
The Associate Director of Society for International Development, Ali Hersi said it was necessary to have concrete binding commitments from Partners. He said the role of EALA was key in ensuring concrete steps are realised as the region moves to the comprehensive development goals.
Analysts contend that as the world transitions from a focus on MDGs to the more comprehensive SDGs, the need for effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels to achieve the goals will increasingly take centre stage.
Lack of accountability has been identified as a major weakness in MDGs implementation and the United Nations is expected to hold a global Summit in New York on September 25th-27th this year to adopt the Post 2015 Development Agenda.