Addis Ababa – African parliamentarians play a critical role in improving the continent’s resilience to health emergencies, such as the new coronavirus, by implementing effective policies to support economies and the general population.
This was stated on Friday by the acting director of the Economic Commission for Africa’s Division of Macroeconomics and Government, Bartholomew Armah, during a webinar organized jointly with the Interparliamentary Union (IPU) on the topic; “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the implementation of sustainable development goals in Africa: What role do parliaments play?”.
He said with the twin health and economic crises facing the continent, parliaments could be a strong agency for change, especially in ensuring that African countries have the capacity to implement the sustainable development goals.
“With 27 of the world’s 28 poorest countries being Africa, the SDGs are the most important for the continent of Africa. The call of the decade of action by the UN Secretary-General to significantly accelerate action around the SDGs by 2030 “So we are more urgent than ever. By working together in solidarity and the use of regionalism, we can get back on track,” said Armah.
He said parliamentarians play a central and integral role in this effort by ensuring that stimulus packages adopted are kept people-centered; that national and regional plans for the SDGs be budgeted for and that resources be allocated; governments are held accountable for their international obligations; and lands are placed on sustainable roads for restoration, leaving no one behind.
“By ratifying international agreements, translating the SDGs into action-oriented national programs that respond to country-specific development priorities, monitoring their implementation and ensuring that the government is accountable to the people for the national progress with the SDGs, the parliaments can the change drives it is necessary, ‘Mr Armah said.
In the absence of trillion-dollar stimulus packages, as it seeks to rebuild COVID-19 better, Africa must look for innovative alternatives, he said. Armah said. These include the use of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) as the stimulating vehicle of Africa that will consolidate a $ 2.5 billion market that could generate approximately 5.6 million jobs; to bring down loans; the promotion of trade and exports within Africa; make use of deeper and stronger intra-African ties and trade relations
Prioritizing a green recovery path; resilient energy and infrastructure; climate-smart food production; nature-based solutions and green value chains so that Africa can respond quickly and deliver long-term resilience are also important.
He said the ECA was ready to lend its support to the IPU and the African member states. “We remain committed to building a stronger, more inclusive and resilient Africa,” he said. Armah said.
In turn, IPU Secretary-General Martin Chungong said parliaments should ensure that recovery strategies integrate the SDGs.
“Consensus is needed and all communities must be taken into account so that no one is left behind. Members of parliament must be at the heart of this transformation,” he said. MPs added that governments are responsible for how resources are accounted for. be issued.
“Legislative oversight and budgetary responsibilities make them key players in improving health coverage, combating inequalities and building peaceful, just and inclusive societies,” he said. Chungong said.
He added that structural responses to COVID-19, based on the SDG framework, were much needed as well as effective and efficient parliamentary oversight.
“SDGs provide a roadmap to help countries improve preparedness, respond to COVID-19 and implement recovery plans that deliver social and environmental sustainability,” the IPU SG said.
Namibia’s Peter Katjavivi said despite COVID-19 and recent droughts, Namibia is committed to developing a resilient mechanism for implementing SDGs. He said local resources as well as global partnerships are essential.
Zimbabwe’s senator Veronica Tsitsi Muzenda, in turn, said the parliament of the Southern African country was an institution for an SDGs that wanted a special thematic committee for SDGs to ensure that the government put in place measures to achieve the goals successfully implement.
Oliver Chinganya, director of the African Center for Statistics, at the ECA, said COVID-19 exposed the vulnerabilities and structural inequalities of African economies, adding that parliamentarians could help ensure adequate budgets and policies were in place. is to be able to build better going forward.
Urgent action, Mr. Chinganya said, is needed to implement both Agenda 2030 and Agenda2063.
Legislators from more than 17 African countries attended the meeting and focused their discussions on their role as parliamentarians in implementing SDGs amid COVID-19.