South Asian Speakers underscore SDGs success

South Asian Speakers underscore SDGs success

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Dhaka – The South Asian Speakers in a summit here on Saturday stressed joint efforts and sharing best practices to successfully implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) giving an improved life and better future for people in the region.
They also called for adopting ‘effective and innovative’ ways for successful implementation of laws, policies and strategies to overcome the barriers to the SDGs implementation.“Let’s unite, join hands, respond to the cause and shape the future we want,” said Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury while addressing the inaugural session of the two-day summit.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Bangladesh Parliament and Washington-based organisation Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) are jointly hosting the summit — South Asian Speakers’ Summit on achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel.
Speaker of Afghanistan Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, India Sumitra  Mahajan, Speaker of the Majlis, the Maldives Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed, Speaker of the National Assembly, Bhutan Jigme Zangpo and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) President Saber Hossain Chowdhury spoke at the inaugural session. However, there has been no representation from Pakistan and Nepal in the inaugural session.
Shirin Sharmin, also the chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), said the Summit is a high-level event demonstrating strong commitment to ensure their role in achieving the SGDs.
Parliamentarians have to be ‘vigilant’ with a ‘proactive role’ in monitoring and ensuring that the governments properly dispense their key strategies and functions to overcome the barriers in achieving the SDGs, she said.
The Speaker laid emphasis on joint efforts to create a sustainable future in an interconnected world meeting the need of future generation.
Sumitra Mahajan said they have to improve the life of people in the entire region and hoped that deliberations in the summit will be productive and fruitful one to that end.
Emphasising joint efforts, she said, “Together, the South Asia will have something to show the world that yes, the goals can be achieved together. That is our motto.”
“The 21st century belongs to Asia and South Asia has tremendous potential in terms of human and other resources,” Sumitra Mahajan said.
She said they must share best practices and learn from each other and mentioned that mutual cooperation among all will surely accelerate the growth and help achieve SDGs to improve the lives of people in the region.
Appreciating Bangladesh’s progress the Indian Lok Sabha Speaker said under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Bangladesh is ‘really developing so nicely and going ahead.’
She congratulated Bangladesh for having two key posts — IPU and CPA chiefs which she described as the first time in the world.
The Speaker also said Parliaments have to play a key role in implementing the SDGs and laid emphasis on the oversight and legislative functions. “Parliaments need to be strengthened by focusing more on SDGs and associating all stakeholders with the governments.”
Terming the SDGs very ambitious and challenging goals, Saber Hossain said the goal 16 which talks about governance is going to be ‘absolutely’ critical one and it is going to be the driving force and engine for achieving other goals.
The summit, through various sessions, will define the opportunities and challenges facing parliaments in fully exercising their role in the implementation of the SDGs.
It will also assess whether parliaments in South Asia are fit for purpose to advance the vision of the SDGs.
Apart from Speakers, parliamentary delegations from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka are joining the summit
Besides, representatives from different international organisations, including Canadian Cancer Society, American Cancer Society, IPU, UNDP, ESCAP, CTFK, WHO and Thai Health Promotion, are also participating in the two-day conference as discussants.
The summit is focusing on five issues like importance of SDGs for the South Asian region, role of parliaments in implementing SDGs and review of its implementation progress, global health and well-being goals of SDGs, controlling tobacco epidemic and strategy and policy for controlling the use of tobacco in the South Asian countries.
The summit will develop a national and regional roadmap to help parliaments periodically assess national and regional progress on tobacco control.- UNB

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