Swakopmund, Namibia – AWEPA addressed the 38th Plenary Assembly Session hosted by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum, which took place from 20-25 November 2015 in Swakopmund in Namibia. AWEPA was represented by Mr. John Corrie, member of the AWEPA Governing Council.
The Session brought together Speakers of national parliaments and parliamentarians from the SADC region to discuss the theme “From MDGs to SDGs: Towards a greater parliamentary role in the development agenda”. It aimed to highlight the scope and opportunities for parliamentary involvement in facilitating and overseeing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at national, regional and global levels, as well as promoting understanding of the links between the SDGs and Regional and National Development Plans.
Mr. Corrie addressed the role of parliamentarians in the implementation of SDGs and stressed the primacy of a nationally-owned and -led planning process. “If any development process is to be effective and sustainable, it has to be owned by national stakeholders,” he stated.
He further suggested that countries integrate the SDGs into national and regional development plans as well as collaborate to benefit from economies of scale. He cited the examples of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana who are reportedly building large-scale solar plants as individual countries, and called for cooperation among countries implementing similar programmes.
Speaking after the Conference, Mr. Corrie expressed his enthusiasm about the Session and its potential results:
“The Conference was extremely well attended, and there was a great interest in the subject matter. The UNDP speaker Mr. Neil Boyer and his assistant gave a resume of the MDGs , and laid out the new SDGs. This gave a perfect foundation for my address which contained a full statement from AWEPA President Ms. Smet, and points raised from the Final Declaration of the AWEPA International Parliamentary Seminar held on 8-9 October in Brussels, Belgium, with specific reference to what parliamentarians could do to progress the delivery of the SDGs.
Topics covered included the progress made in the SADC region since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000; the focus of the new SDGs, which outline the developmental framework up to 2030; and the link and transition between the two sets of development goals. Parliamentarians were encouraged to draw lessons from the MDGs in their support for the implementation of the new development agenda.
The many questions asked during the discussion gave clear testimony of the serious will and drive of the Parliamentary Forum to complete its transformation process to becoming a Regional Parliamentary Assembly, along the lines of other regional parliaments in Africa and the European Parliament.