Opening Address of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Philippe Lazzarini “The Role of Parliament in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Lebanon” Library Hall, The Lebanese Parliament, Lebanon - October 12, 2017Oct 12, 2017
Excellencies Members of the Lebanese parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be with you on this day and to be part of the first activity of the Lebanese Parliament on the global Sustainable Development Goals.
This workshop is a result of the UNDP partnership with the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, who together developed a "Guide for Parliaments and Parliamentarians" in support of the sustainable development goals. Based on this guide, the Lebanese Parliament decided to organize this two-
day workshop to develop a road map for Members of Parliament to monitor and support the implementation of the SDGs in Lebanon. This is the first initiative of this kind before any parliament in the Arab region.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which was launched at the end of 2015 is the most ambitious anti-poverty, pro-planet agenda ever adopted by the United Nations. It tackles the root causes of
poverty, addresses challenges ranging from poverty and hunger eradication, gender equality, climate change to peace, justice and strong institutions to name a few. It unites governments to make a positive change in leaving no one behind.
While 2030 is only 13 years away, achieving SDGs concerns all of us. It requires the partnership of governments, private sector, civil society and citizens to balance today’s demands with tomorrow’s needs to leave behind a better planet for future generations.
2 days ago, during the conference of the UN Global Network of Lebanon, I have mentioned to the private sector that their way of doing business has a major impact on whether growth and development are inclusive and sustainable. When Lebanon has set its own voluntary target to reach 15% of renewable energy by 2030 under the Paris agreement of climate change, the government undertook the Lebanon Climate
Act initiative in 2016, which recognizes the private sector as an integral part of the global solution to address climate change through low emission or emission-neutral investments.
For a country such as Lebanon, whose private sector is known for its innovation, effectiveness and dynamism, this sector has big potential to move the country closer to SDGs achievement. I was impressed by the increasing number of businesses incorporating the SDGs in their mission, an extremely important step for the private sector to build further on.
At the same time, Governments have critical roles to play and the Lebanese government is doing great efforts in developing the appropriate frameworks for the implementation of the SDGs. It has established the national committee composed of ministries and public agencies as well as representatives of Civil Society Organizations to help implement and follow up on the SDGs. I am excited at the prospect that this committee will serve as a central mechanism for engagement with the UN, and key stakeholders including national civil society and private sector. Such a participatory approach will enable Lebanon to address the root causes of its development challenges, and should truly drive forward the SDGs in Lebanon.
The government has also, through a partnership between CDR (Council for Development and Reconstruction) and UNDP, committed itself to analyze the current situation under each of the 17 sustainable development goals. Through this partnership, the Government will also submit a Voluntary National Review on the SDGs to the UN next July 2018.
And today, I am happy to see that the involvement of the Parliament is progressing in support of the SDGs. The parliament plays an essential role in advancing the implementation of the goals in Lebanon through the enactment of legislation and adoption of budgets, and through oversight over government.
Parliaments across different countries have initiated their engagement process with the SDGs. In Pakistan, for instance, the Parliament established an SDG secretariat/Task Force which provides technical assistance to the parliamentarians to effectively address the legislative gaps and ensure the rights of their respective constituents. The Norwegian parliament is monitoring the progress of SDGs by receiving reports from respective ministries for budget proposals. Another example in Sri Lanka, a committee on SDGs within the parliament was established to monitor the progress of SDGs implementation by establishing following 4 cluster
committees: fundamental needs, poverty, discrimination and inequalities, social justice and human security.
I am pleased to say that in Lebanon, the newly adopted pieces of legislation this year by the parliament are important steps in the advancement of the SDGs. The Public Private Partnership law joins capacities and strength of the public and private sector to foster development and growth. It directly relates to SDG 17, as it focuses on partnerships to achieve SDG goals. It also enhances the accomplishment of other SDGs, such as SDG 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth and SDG 9 on Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.
Another legislation is the abolishment of Article 522 that allowed rapists to escape prosecution by marrying their victims. It relates to SDG 5, as it focuses on gender
equality, specifically on ending all forms of violence against women. Once again, Lebanon has an opportunity to be a leader, not just for the region, but for the global community.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In addressing issues that have been identified few years ago as highly relevant to Lebanon and its residents, such as equality for basic services, good governance and political reforms, economic growth and job creation, environment, peace building and conflict prevention, to name but few, the SDGs are an opportunity for the country to develop an ambitious achievable shared vision of the Lebanon you want by 2030.
The nature of the challenges means that no single actor, or no single sector, can solve problems alone. The mobilization requires all key actors, and on top the parliament, to work together to set priorities and joint work.
I wish you success in this workshop and thank you for your commitments and hard work.