Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi has expressed concern over the slow pace of implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as per Namibia’s commitments at the UN Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
In particular, Katjavivi is concerned about SDG goal 16, which Namibia is expected to start reporting on the progress made by July this year.
Goal 16 of the SDGs is focused on the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.
Namibia formed part of the UN Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and SDGs held from September 25 to 27, 2015 in New York as a high-level plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly.
The SDGs, otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call of action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
They build on the Millennium Development Goals, while including new focus areas, such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among others.
Katjivivi and members of parliament held a two-day workshop that ended on Tuesday, which aimed to promote the culture of peace in policy making and the implementation of SDG 16. “I would like to bring it to the attention of the honourable members, that as parliament we are required to undertake a self-assessment on how our parliament is engaged with the sustainable development goals, as per our commitment at the IPU 2015 Assembly in New York,” he said.
He said the lack of commitment from national parliaments has been observed as the main cause of failure for countries to entirely achieve MDGs, at the New York meeting. Katjavivi added this prompted national parliaments to dedicate themselves to ensure deepened involvement in the implementation of SDGs, in collaboration with their respective governments.
Currently, he said his office is busy developing a concept note to that effect, which government will share with development partners in the hope of immediately kick-starting the work. “We are expected to commence reporting on progress in July 2017,” he remarked.
He told MPs that it is their duty as legislators to ensure they foster, enhance, promote and sustain societies that are tolerant, resilient and accommodative. He said it was only in this way that Namibia can co-exist and ensure sustainable development of “our global village.”
Further, he said it is their duty to ensure accountability, transparency and good governance, adding this can only be done if legislators craft laws and policies that uphold human rights and the rule of law.
“Peaceful, just and inclusive societies are societies that are governed by the rule of law and they are societies, which have competent institutions that promote and sustain good governance, where fair justice is for all, irrespective of one’s class or status in society,” he noted.
Gender-based violence continues to be a challenge, irrespective of the laws in place to curb it, he noted, saying it calls for concerted efforts to deal with this challenge and others that have involved senseless killings.