Parliamentary Taskforce on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Pakistan
The Parliamentary Taskforce started its business in by organizing an effective Parliamentary conference on Millennium Development Goals in June 2014, bringing together a broad spectrum of stakeholders. The timing of the conference, intentionally, coinciding with the transitioning framework from MDGS to SDGS where countries were documenting their various successes and priorities for setting new goals. For the first time in her history, The Parliament of Pakistan adopted a proactive approach towards the Development agenda by developing a monitoring and evaluation body on the SDGs committed by Pakistan to the UN in particular but more importantly to provide a better quality of life to her people.
All-Party and Provincial Representation
Parliamentary Taskforces on SDGs have been formed in all provinces, driving ownership of the development targets from all Provincial Assemblies including Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK). This task was made particularly important through the introduction of the 18th Amendment to the constitution of Pakistan in 2010 that devolved most apparatus of Government including education, health, climate change and others from a federal mandate to the independent provinces. In order to enhance representation complete regional representation, gender balance, minority representation of Parliamentarians and an all-party approach has been adopted. Previously the Parliamentary Taskforce constituted 134 members including Federal (43), Punjab (30), Sindh (10), Balochistan (20), Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (20), Gilgit Baltistan (06) and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (05).
The Secretariat of Parliamentary Taskforce Sustainable Development Goals
While the Parliamentary Taskforce was overseeing the implementation of SDGs since 2014, the need for research, data and institutionalizing the Taskforce was always felt. On February 16, 2017, Pakistan established an extraordinary benchmark for the international community by inaugurating the first of its kind, State of the art Secretariat of the Parliamentary Taskforce on Sustainable Development Goals at the National Assembly of Pakistan. Prior to the inauguration ceremony, the Parliamentary Taskforce organized a National meet on Malnutrition, featuring it as an epidemic to such unmitigated proportions that it was declared as a national emergency. Later, that evening Parliamentarians joined together at the National Assembly for the formal ceremony.
The Secretariat office
A fully functional Secretariat office was established in the Parliament House with the assistance of UNDP and inaugurated by the former Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq in 2016. UNICEF Pakistan partnered with the Parliament committing to provide Human resource and technical equipment to cater to the needs of the Secretariat and Taskforce members. The premises of the secretariat is equipped with the following state of the art facilities: Conference room with seating capacity of 25 around table and additional space for 15 chairs placed at the back. Ipads equipped with SDGs research and data are available for the Taskforce members, Audio system, multi-media projector, wireless internet facility and a plasma screen is also present. Taskforce meetings, working group meeting, stakeholders and partners meets and relevant consultations are held here. Six workstations equipped with Apple IMACS are placed and a colored printer.
Parliamentary Business on SDGs
The Taskforce meets during every session of the National Assembly. The meeting agenda revolves around various issues concerning SDGs and initiatives of the government. Data sharing, Awareness raising/knowledge sharing consultations with stakeholders and think tanks are held regularly for the Taskforce and secretariat staff. Effective oversight is underway through interventions in parliamentary business, integration of SDGs in the ‘Order of the Day’, and Standing Committees at the National Assembly. Since inception of the Secretariat these meeting have led to the enactment of valuable Parliamentary Business on SDGs including:
- Private Member Bills Passed by National Assembly (2) Gender Equality, Good Health
- Private Member Bills Introduced (5) Gender Equality, Mother and Child Health, Clean Energy and Water
- Resolutions (18) Health, Education, Climate Change, Gender Equality, Child Rights
- Calling Attentions (40) Climate Change, Routine Immunization, Women, Water, WASH
- Motion under Rule 259 (8) Health, Energy, Peace, Water, Quality Education