7th to 13th of May 2017 – Vienna, Austria. Members of the Austrian AWEPA Section helped organizing an exchange programme for a parliamentary delegation from Zambia to the Austrian Parliament.
During their visits, the four Zambian MPs of the Joint Parliamentary Peer Group (JPPG) were able to gain a comprehensive picture of the political and administrative functioning of the Austrian Parliament as well as of numerous aspects related to SDG 4.
The program included a guided tour of the Austrian Parliament, an introduction into the legislative process in Austria, a presentation on the ways of communication between parliament and the Austrian population, and on the democratic education of children and young people.
In the context of the last aspect, the seven members of the JPPG participated in the democracy workshop (DemokratieWerkstatt) with a student group from Upper Austria.
The focus of the program, however, was the exchange with numerous organizations and institutions in Vienna, Upper and Lower Austria, which are in any way connected to the implementation of the SDGs in Austria.
The main focus was on dual education as well as reproductive and sexual health and education in Austria. The MPs visited, a.o. the Austrian National Association for Family Planning (ÖGF), the Teaching Center for Young People at Work, the NGO “Selbstlaut” (Prevention of Sexualized Violence against Children), the Vocational School Längenfeldgasse, the Salzkammergut Klinikum (Universitätslehrkrankenhaus), the hospital Gmunden, the Energy AG in Gmunden (Water and solar energy), as well as the agricultural vocational and technical school in Gießhübel.
The representatives from Zambia were accompanied by the project director as well as an Austrian MP member of the JPPG and they were extremely interested in the different ways that Austria has established to achieve its national (education) goals.
In a joint workshop, concrete goals and communication structures were also developed for the future cooperation of the JPPG.
The Peer Group consists of four members from the Zambian Parliament and three members from the Austrian Parliament. Within the framework of the NorthSouth Dialogue of Parliaments, the MPs will deal with the challenges and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) in their respective countries. Exchange at bilateral level is an enriching experience and should help to ensure or promote the national framework conditions for “inclusive, equitable and high-quality education and opportunities for lifelong learning for all”.