Print Article

Putting Democracy and Democratic Governance at the Heart of Sustainable Development

A special roundtable hosted by IPU in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, on 30th January attended by a UN-appointed high-level panel and MPs from around the world concluded that democracy and democratic governance should be at the heart of a new international development agenda.

The roundtable represented a first and important step in the Organization’s efforts to put democratic governance at the heart of new development goals to replace the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when they expire in 2015.

The meeting allowed an exchange of views between members of the high-level panel tasked with advising the UN Secretary-General on the broad parameters of a new development agenda and an IPU delegation including the Speakers of both houses of parliament in Liberia, leading Liberian MPs as well as parliamentarians from Bangladesh, UK, and Uganda. (Mr Hugh Bayley MP, a member of both the BGIPU Executive Committee and the House of Commons Select Committee on International Development was the UK participant).

Participants reiterated the need for national ownership of and commitment to development plans Parliaments would play a key role in achieving this. As a result, parliaments are strongly encouraged to participate in both national and regional UN-organized consultations in the coming months to define the new international development goals.

The Monrovia meeting also highlighted that a well-functioning parliament was essential to democracy and democratic governance. Consequently, its ability to be representative, transparent and accountability needed to be strengthened.

IPU has long argued that democracy and democratic governance underpin successful and sustainable development. It will use its upcoming 128th Assembly in Ecuador in March to also gather input from its members on the inclusion of a specific goal on democratic governance in any new development plan to apply to both developed and developing countries. The main theme of the assembly is in finding new ways to ensure development delivers well-being for all of the world’s citizens.

The Organization is also encouraging MPs to take part in an online survey called My World which is collecting individual views on development priorities. All responses will feed into the official UN-led process defining the new development goals.