The COVID-19 pandemic represents the greatest threat to humanity since World War II, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) says.
Despite the far-reaching impacts of this crisis, many governments have struggled for access for science-based recommendations to support an effective response, and governance challenges have also led to uncoordinated activities in a number of countries.
Now, more than ever, science-based recommendations are needed alongside effective collaboration, to ensure that additional outbreaks are contained and the economic impacts are minimized.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by all countries in 2015, offer a useful framework for considering these challenges.
They can help countries balance social goals, such as protecting public health and reducing inequality, with economic ones, such as ensuring decent work for all and eradicating extreme poverty.
On June 9, IPU, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and Parliamentarians for the Global Goals (PFGG) organised a high-level dialogue on re-opening the economy and achieving the SDGs during the Decade of Action.
Participants included legislators and staff from approximately 100 countries, as well as experts on the SDGs and the economy.
Opening statements were made by the event organisers.
IPU President, Gabriela Cuevas, says “we are currently at a crossroads, and we must make a choice: we could be the generation that dooms the world, or we could be the one that transforms it. As parliamentarians, the choice is ours to make.
‘’The elaboration of fairer laws, the approval of inclusive budgets, and the oversight of government action is up to us. If we truly are to leave no one behind, as stated by the 2030 Agenda, then we must undertake a people-centred approach to decision making.
‘’Only then can parliaments translate – as they should – global agreements into national solutions. If all 46,552 parliamentarians sought to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, then we would become the generation that chose to transform the world.”
Founder of Parliamentarians for the Global Goals, Kirsten Brosbøl, highlighted the importance of the event, saying “as parliaments all over the world are designing their economic recovery plans, we want to give MPs a space to inspire and learn from each other on how to Build Back Better.
‘’With the SDGs as the framework, we can make the recovery an opportunity to redesign a more sustainable and resilient world in better harmony. Parliamentarians are crucial in this process as they allocate budgets, hold governments accountable and serve as a link between people and power.”
Four experts presented on how economic recovery packages can be implemented to protect human health, foster economic growth, and achieve additional environmental and social goals, such as reducing inequality and slowing climate change.
Recommendations were presented by Dr. Yuning Gao, Professor, Tsinghua University School of Public Policy and Management, China; Dr. Jayati Ghosh, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India; Dr. Martin Muhleisen, Director of the Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF), USA; and Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor, Columbia University, USA.
This is the first in a series of webinars to support parliamentarians with scientific evidence for decision making. They are meant as a forum for peer-to-peer learning, mutual inspiration and exchange of best practices that can inspire more political action on SDGs.