OSCE PA webinar focuses on implementation of Sustainable Development Goals

020322 SDG photo 2OSCE PA Special Representative on SDGs Askar ShakirovCOPENHAGEN, 2 March 2022 – Opening the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s webinar on implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals today, President Margareta Cederfelt (Sweden) noted that while international attention is rightly focused on the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine, it is important not to lose sight of other matters on the global agenda. The Ukraine crisis demonstrates the importance of the OSCE PA’s work for peace and sustainable development, Cederfelt said.

Askar Shakirov (Kazakhstan), the OSCE PA’s Special Representative on Sustainable Development Goals, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately reversed some of the progress that had been made toward implementing SDGs, pushing many people around the world into poverty. The challenges posed by the pandemic require structural transformation and common solutions, he said, and today’s event provides an opportunity for the OSCE PA to increase its impact in this regard.

Tanzila Narbaeva, Chairwoman of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, said that her country has adopted all the goals of development with the help of the UNDP. Parliaments, she said, play a special role in the timely adoption of the SDGs. Narbaeva discussed in particular the work being done at the national level in Uzbekistan.

Dr. Hans Kluge, Regional Director for Europe of the World Health Organization, focused his remarks on the importance of achieving universal health coverage as a critical component for implementing the SDGs. What COVID-19 has highlighted, he said, is that no country has achieved this target, with many households still unable to pay for health care. Parliamentarians can help by investing in health systems, he said, including by ensuring affordable medicines and vaccines. Parliaments must remove access barriers, ensure accountability, and establish health care as a public good, Kluge said, underscoring that universal health care can only be achieved with a solid legal foundation.

The OSCE has much to offer in implementing the SDG agenda, noted Ambassador Luca Fratini, Director of the Office of the Secretary General of the OSCE. The OSCE’s comprehensive security approach, he stressed, aligns with the interlinked SDGs, noting in particular that SDG 16 emphasizes peace, justice and strong institutions. This is essential for implementation of all other goals, Fratini pointed out, with synergies needed to be developed in this regard with OSCE institutions.

Ben Slay, Deputy Director and Senior Economist at the UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS, noted that the Ukraine invasion is a reminder of the fragility of peace in our region, recalling the need to reduce poverty and insecurity. Parliamentarians have critical roles to play in driving forward people-centered development agenda, he said, pointing out that the UNDP has regularly engaged with parliaments to provide trainings on gender equality and other issues.

Delivering a statement on behalf of the Chair of the OSCE PA’s Chair of the General Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment Pere Joan Pons (Spain), Marco Bonabello highlighted the possible economic dislocations and waves of refugees that could result from the invasion of Ukraine. The SDGs, he pointed out, advocate for leaving no one behind, and collaborative efforts are needed to make them a reality.

In the debate, speakers raised concerns about climate change and related challenges such as threats to water supplies and energy security. Nuclear weapons were highlighted as an acute threat to the planet, with the current global tensions cited as a reason for governments to urgently move towards the elimination of these weapons. Parliamentarians also discussed how parliaments and the OSCE can further the sustainability efforts.

Today’s webinar, entitled “Implementation of The Sustainable Development Goals in the OSCE Region: A Parliamentary Perspective,” was moderated by OSCE PA High-Level Expert Amb. Lamberto Zannier, and was held as part of the OSCE PA’s Call for Action – Helsinki +50 process.

Video of the webinar is available here.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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