How We Work
Parliaments, the MDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda
UNDP strengthens the core functions of a parliament from the perspective of delivering sustainable development gains. Through their lawmaking, budgeting, oversight, and promotion of community dialogue and representational functions, Parliaments can make a direct difference by implementing nationally relevant development plans and budgets that are compliant with associated priorities defining the post-2015 development framework. The post-2015 agenda further brings parliaments at the heart of UNDP’s mandate in terms of delivering sustainable human development.
- Issue Brief: Parliament’s role in the Post-2015 Development Agenda
- A Manual on Parliamentary Engagement with the Millennium Development Goals
- Engaging parliaments in the millennium development goals
Parliaments, Energy and Environment
Parliament has a key role in developing sound environmental policies in a country, from setting the environmental agenda, to implementing and monitoring international treaties. The Parliamentary Action on Renewable Energy (PARE) Project, a three-year collaboration between UNDP and the Climate Parliament (2012-14) aims to build the capacity of parliamentarians to strengthen their advocacy and monitoring of the development of renewable energy sources and to promote sustainable energy policy and regulatory reform to encourage investment in renewable energy in ten countries in Africa, Asia and the Arab Region (Bangladesh, Congo-Brazzaville, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Tunisia).
In India, the MPs played the lead role in more than doubling India’s 2020 renewable energy target to 15% in the new Five Year Plan. Through an initiative in the powerful Estimates Committee of Parliament, they also doubled the renewables budget.
In Tunisia, a constitutional amendment proposed by the new Climate Parliament group passed by 144 votes to 21, making Tunisia the first country in the world to have a constitutional commitment to “protection of the climate".
In Senegal, MPs are pressing for the necessary Presidential decrees to implement a new Renewable Energy Law passed by the last government.
- Renewable Energy for Parliamentarians: a How-To Guide
- Climate Portal
Parliaments and Anti-Corruption
Parliaments and parliamentarians have a crucial role to play in combating corruption. They are responsible for the quality and effectiveness of legislation, for approving national budgets, government revenues and expenditures. They also play a key role in the oversight of the executive and in representing the views of constituents and relevant stakeholders when framing national policy. UNDP works to ensure that the effectiveness of these distinctive functions of parliament enhances the fight against corruption. UNDP has cooperated with the Global Organization of Parliaments Against Corruption (GOPAC) in organizing self-assessment workshops for parliaments in countries such as Burkina-Faso, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Morocco and East Timor. These workshops have focused on assisting parliaments in monitoring compliance with the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). UNDP is also supporting parliaments to become more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens, by engaging parliaments in the Open Government Partnership and the Legislative Openness Working Group.
Anti-Corruption Self-Assessment Tool for Parliamentarians
Parliaments and HIV / AIDS
UNDP provides advisory services to parliaments to reform provisions in domestic law which touch and concern HIV-AIDS, and to sensitize parliamentarians on the need for early reform of domestic laws negatively impacting persons affected by HIV. Such approach is being bolstered in the framework of the implementation of the recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law. In Myanmar, UNDP supported the legal review and national report developed on the impact of laws and policies in regards to HIV including access to health and HIV services for people living with HIV and key affected populations. UNDP also supported the parliament in developing a “Quick Win” action plan which focuses on key priority areas including the development of new guidance on HIV-related discrimination and confidentiality; universal anti retro viral access; reproductive rights of HIV-positive women; and access to affordable medicines. In Jamaica, UNDP developed a draft Strategy for Engagement with Parliamentarians on HIV-AIDS and implementation of the law reform recommendations of the Report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.
- Effective laws to end HIV and AIDS: Next steps for parliament
- Engaging with Parliamentarians on HIV and the Law: Practical Manual for UNDP Country Office and Regional Staff
Inclusive and participative parliaments
Although demand for inclusiveness was strongly voiced in the Arab region recently, it has also been reflected in post conflict recovery, democratic transitions and wider development processes in all regions throughout the past decade. Ensuring inclusive and participative parliaments is critical for promoting citizen expectations for voice, the rule of law and accountability. Inclusive parliaments need to ensure that all sectors of society – particularly the poorest and marginalized groups, including women, youth and minorities – are equally and fairly represented, and are given equal opportunities for participation. To this end, UNDP supports parliaments to perform core functions for improved accountability, participation and representation, by ensuring they have the structure, legal framework and capacity to represent and engage all citizens - particularly youth and women - in the political process. For example, within the framework of the Inclusive and Participative Political Institutions Project (IPPI) in the Arab States, a political development strategy was developed and approved by Parliament in Jordan, including legal reforms governing participation (Elections Law, Political Parties Law, Municipalities Law, and Press and Publications Law). A Gender Strategy and Action Plan were also developed to foster women’s participation in the electoral cycle including: a political parties’ legal framework review and trainings for women on political participation in local governance. An Action Plan for women parliamentarians was launched in Algeria. A Youth Palestinian Legislative Council was established. A gender legal review for the promotion of gender equality was conducted in Lebanon and 3 priority laws were addressed by the Woman and Child Committee. Policy implementation strategies were also developed on women and youth participation in party structures and elections in Lebanon.
The Global Parliamentary Report
Parliaments and Indigenous Peoples
UNDP and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) have worked together on producing a series of knowledge products for parliaments to better understand Indigenous Peoples’ rights, providing practical ideas for their full recognition and implementation. UNDP is also mobilizing indigenous MP’s, members of indigenous peoples organizations, NGOs, academia, the UN System, to foster cooperation among parliamentarians on ensuring compliance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Parliaments and human rights: A primer
Parliament’s role in crisis prevention and recovery
Parliaments are well-positioned to play a positive role in situations of crisis and conflict. They are representative bodies, with authority to oversee government action, and can serve as forums for dialogue or partners in negotiations. UNDP is empowering parliaments as actors in conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction. UNDP provided technical support for parliaments to play a stronger mediation role in local conflicts (Togo), worked to support crisis-sensitive legislative drafting (Kyrgyzstan), and worked with parliaments to develop comprehensive legal framework against gender-based violence (El Salvador). UNDP also supported parliamentary working groups in the Arab States, West Africa and Central America on topics such as community security, political violence and the role of parliamentary committees in mediation and conciliation. UNDP has also been providing support to newly established parliaments in post-conflict countries such as Libya, Somalia (Federal Parliament) and Myanmar.
Parliaments, Crisis Prevention and Recovery: Guidelines for the International Community
Parliament’s role in disaster risk reduction
UNDP strengthens the establishment of legislative frameworks for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). This involves the preparation and formalization of policy frameworks, the review and revision of existing legislation, the development of new legislation and the creation of national capacity building and management support programmes. The establishment of such legal frameworks is considered important from a governance perspective in view of minimizing losses and deaths from disasters, limiting disruption of socio-economic systems and reducing disaster risks.
- Effective law and regulation for disaster risk reduction: a multi-country report
- A Global Review: UNDP Support to Institutional and Legislative System for Disaster Risk Management
Supporting democratic and effective political parties
Political parties can play a key role in defining a country’s commitment to human development. Effective parties can give voice to marginalized members of society and be a means of representation for a diversity of public opinion. UNDP provides assistance to political parties through country offices (COs) worldwide and in the interest of human development. In Tunisia, as part of the transitional process, UNDP provided technical support to draft new laws for political parties and NGOs. UNDP also trained representatives from over 50 political parties on constitutional processes in transition, and provided support to women politicians in conducting successful electoral campaigns.
- A handbook on working with political parties
- Empowering women for stronger political parties