The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reaffirm the right of all people to a decent life, peace and a healthy environment. Parliaments are essential to achieving this ambitious agenda. They play a key role by enacting legislation, adopting national budgets and overseeing how governments implement national and international commitments, including those related to development cooperation. This is particularly important as implementing the 2030 Agenda will require considerably more funding than is currently mobilized, as well as more effective ways for such funding to be allocated and overseen.
In spite of the recognition of parliaments’ key role in development cooperation, their oversight in this area tends to be weak. The Guidelines for enhancing the engagement and contribution of parliaments to effective development cooperation, co-published with the United Nations Development Programme, aim to remedy this by providing parliamentarians with an understanding of what development cooperation is and how it works, as well as ideas on how parliaments can promote more effective and accountable use of resources, including financial and non-financial aid.
Development cooperation has evolved considerably over the years to include more than traditional aid but also work that governments, parliaments, civil society, business, unions and others do together with the aim of, among other things, raising more domestic revenue, curbing illicit financial flows, or facilitating sounder private and public partnerships. The Guidelines provide important insights into these modalities of development cooperation and how parliaments can help ensure they are consistent with relevant international commitments as well as national priorities.
The Guidelines include a chapter on the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) as the leading multi-stakeholder actor helping forge key commitments on development cooperation as well as the basic framework for all development partners to work together at both national and global levels. As a member of the Steering Committee of the GPEDC, the IPU advocates for stronger parliamentary oversight of development cooperation and is looking to engage parliaments in both developed and developing countries in all relevant processes for effective development cooperation.