"Achieving sustainable development in the Arab region faces structural barriers that are often shared among the 22 Arab countries, despite variations in income level, natural resources, and demographic profiles. Transformative change in the Arab region entails dismantling those barriers to unleash the existing potential of its people, and to meet the ambition of its commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth additional challenges to an already faltering progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Arab region. While some Arab countries have been hit harder by the pandemic than others, its impact will be felt in the region for years to come on various socioeconomic dimensions. Therefore, the response needed should recognize the interlinkages between the dimensions of sustainable development as reflected in the guiding principles of the 2030 Agenda.
Parliamentarians have a crucial role to play in ensuring that the policies and measures adopted to contain the spread of the pandemic and respond to its socioeconomic impact are responsive to the needs and priorities of their constituents and protect the most vulnerable amongst them. They are also responsible for overseeing the work of the executive government and scrutinizing the use of public finances, even if the executive authority is granted emergency powers to ensure swift and effective delivery. The role of parliaments during crisis is therefore necessary to ensure that the democratic values of governance are upheld, and the rights of the population are preserved.
Within this context, ESCWA, in partnership with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), will organize the Arab Regional Parliamentary Forum on the 2030 Agenda: The impact of COVID-19 on SDG implementation and the role of parliaments as an online event on 26 November 2020. It aims to address the role of Arab parliaments in crisis response from the 2030 Agenda lens. It will provide a virtual platform for parliamentarians to exchange experiences and lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also build on ESCWA’s previous efforts to support Arab parliaments’ contribution to achieving sustainable development, including through organizing the Regional Seminar for Parliamentarians on 2030 Agenda in 2017 and the Arab Region Parliamentary Forum on the 2030 Agenda in 2019.