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Regional parliaments asked to play a Central role in development agenda

East Africa Legislative Assembly Speaker, Daniel F. Kidega. (PIX: Courtesy).

Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Daniel F. Kidega wants Parliaments and legislators to play a more central role in development as the globe charts its path on the post 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Agenda.

The EALA Speaker also wants legislators to ‘walk the talk’ in fighting inequalities, ending poverty and institutionalisation of rights based approach to development.

Mr. Kidega was speaking when he opened a two-day Parliamentary Exchange workshop in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Speaker implored legislators to explore opportunities envisaged under the Global Development Framework as the timeframe given to implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) winds down.

“Despite all concerted effort, we have not fully realized what was anticipated for the 2015 MDGs Agenda. Part of the reason perhaps, may also be attributed to our very own shortcomings as Parliaments. I say so in good faith since Parliaments have a crucial role to play, particularly in improving their country’s ability to assume full ownership of national development policies and programmes,” he said.

“But this should not discourage us from plotting for our future. The time is ripe and opportune for us to map out on the post 2015 agenda. National development approaches cannot and should not be shaped and driven purely by Governments and Development Partners as Parliaments similarly have a fundamental contribution to make,” he said.

The workshop, themed “Institutional Strengthening of International Parliamentary Bodies and their Role in Development” brings together continental, regional and national legislators.

In attendance are Parliamentarians from the Parliament of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), led by the Speaker Vincent Mavooungou – Bayou, legislators from Pan African Parliament and EALA Members.

Legislators from the Partner States’ National Assemblies are also attending. The workshop is supported by the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA). The Workshop aims at enhancing institutional development of supra-national Parliaments and their interactions and in the sharing of experiences by Parliaments at national, regional and continental levels.

The workshop participants will explore strategies key to ensuring the Global Development Framework (Post 2015 Agenda) is implemented and realised.

It is anticipated the knowledge base on processes revolving on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) shall be enhanced. The workshop also hopes to renew and harmonise structures for the Network of African Parliaments and other networks of engaging Parliamentarians towards achieving the MDGs/SDGs.

The EALA Speaker asked the Assemblies to continue advocating for the achievement of democracy and good governance.

Mavoungou- Bayou said integration was fundamental in strengthening regions. He said CEMAC as a young institution will study the EALA model, which had proven to be effective in strengthening integration.

John Corrie, a Member of AWEPA and a Honorary Life President of the African Caribbean Pacific – European Union (ACP-EU) said institutional strengthening of Parliaments was fundamental adding that AWEPA is committed to partnering with Parliaments in the region to enable them continue to play the vital role in development.

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