Effective, inclusive, and accountable institutions and processes capable of sustaining peace and ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law are essential to sustainable development that leaves no one behind. Parliaments have crucial constitutional mandates concerning law-making, oversight, and representation and play a critical role in advancing sustainable development. They provide an essential forum for diverse parts of society to engage in policymaking, express their views, voice concerns, and demand accountability.
In many countries, however, there is an urgent need to reform and improve the functioning of parliaments, making them more representative, open, and accountable. Political life in many countries, for example, remains heavily dominated by male influence and networks, while women face restricted access to influential formal positions and informal networks.
Effective political institutions, such as parliaments and political parties, are central to advancing robust systems of democratic governance. Leveraging its unique position as a trusted partner, UNDP works with parliaments around the world to strengthen their capacities to fulfill their institutional responsibilities and to work more effectively as part of a system of partners, including with national ministries, local governments, independent oversight bodies, and civil society. This support helps ensure that elections, national planning, budgeting, and law-making efforts are more inclusive, gender-responsive, and risk-informed. More specifically, UNDP works to strengthen parliamentary bodies by:
- boosting efforts to reform and improve parliaments and local assemblies, making them more representative, open, and accountable;
- delivering training and building skills among parliamentarians and their secretariats on legislative scrutiny, gender equality, and international human rights obligations, and critical sustainable development issues that parliaments need to act on; and
- enhancing parliamentary transparency, using new technologies, tools, and capacities in data, budgeting, and finance.