Video message by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark to the UK Commonwealth Parliamentary Association International Parliamentary Conference on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Nov 26, 2013

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark to the UK Commonwealth Parliamentary Association International Parliamentary Conference on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

London, United Kingdom.

I congratulate the United Kingdom Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association on taking the initiative to host this important conference on the post-2015 development agenda. UNDP is pleased to be a partner in this event, because we believe it is vital to bring the perspectives and experiences of parliamentarians to the debate about the shape of the new agenda.

A number of you attending today may have already shared your views on the future agenda through surveys and UN-led consultations; and you may also have encouraged your constituents to participate too.

When Members of Parliament are calling for transparency, and accountability in governance to be at the heart of the new agenda, this carries particular weight, because of your constitutional responsibility to scrutinise the executive arm of government.  

In the debate to date on the new agenda, we see increasing focus on the importance of honest and effective governance for development. For example:
•    In May, the High Level Panel on Post-2015, appointed by the UN Secretary-General, called in its report for an emphasis on good governance because it is so essential to achieving sustainable and inclusive development. The Panel offered practical examples of how to feature governance in the post-2015 agenda.

•    In the MY World global survey, there was a very strong call to prioritise honest and effective governance in the new agenda – and this call came from all corners of the earth. This issue was ranked fourth by the 1.6 million people from more than 190 states and territories who have offered their opinions. People are clear that they want a say in the decisions which affect them, and they want governments which can deliver decent public services, manage natural resources sustainably and fairly, and facilitate peace and security.
•    In September, at the Special Event on the MDGs at the UN in New York, the outcome statement by world leaders called for a post-2015 agenda which promotes democratic governance and the rule of law, along with peace and security, gender equality, and human rights, in the quest to achieve poverty eradication and sustainable development.

Tough negotiations on the post-2015 agenda lie ahead if UN Member States are to agree on an ambitious development agenda which can tackle global challenges effectively.

You, as Parliamentarians, can help promote agreement on a transformative agenda. The work of the CPA, the IPU, the Pan-African Parliament, and other parliamentary organisations, along with the leadership of individual parliamentarians, was invaluable in generating enthusiasm for the MDGs and action on them. Many Parliaments have groupings actively advocating for MDG action in their countries and monitoring the results.

Now the full attention of parliamentarians is needed on the post-2015 agenda. Back home, mobilising fellow MPs and your constituents, and urging your governments to engage fully in the debate, you can make a difference.

But your role will not end there! In March, the 128th IPU Assembly in Ecuador noted that “stronger parliaments will have to play a central role in the implementation of the future Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring that policies are drawn up through participatory, inclusive, and regularly reviewed processes.”

This is consistent with the calls for the future global development agenda to hold governments and other actors to account for delivering on the commitments they make. You as parliamentarians are a key part of accountability mechanisms in your countries.

A strong legislature is essential for democratization and public accountability. Capable parliaments introduce, scrutinize, and oversee national policies, legislation, and budgets; they ensure their implementation; and they ensure that all citizens, including the most marginalized and disempowered, have their voices heard.

In one-third of the total number of developing countries, UNDP is supporting parliaments to strengthen their capacity to carry out essential functions like these. From our experience, we know that strong parliaments help their countries to achieve the MDGs and advance human and sustainable development.

We call on all MPs gathered at this CPA conference to return home emboldened, empowered, and informed to play your part in advocating for a strong post-2015 development agenda which will seek to eradicate extreme poverty and put our world on course for a sustainable future.

UNDP Around the world