Women lawmakers engaged in a study circle in Islamabad at the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services on Wednesday to build an insight of the post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs)
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established by the UN in 2000 and was committed to eradicate gender inequality, poverty, child mortality, HIV/AIDS, malaria and other such diseases by 2015. It also aimed to improve maternal health and ensure environmental sustainability. The new development agenda is under negotiation. The SDGs are a proposed set of targets that relate to the future development of the international community. They are to replace the MDGs once they expire at the end of 2015.
The study circle conducted in Islamabad was a follow-up to the Beijing + 20 discussion on the SDGs Zero Draft. It was organized by the Aurat Foundation and moderated by MNA Shaista Parvaiz, secretary of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucas.
Maryam Aurangzeb, chairperson of parliamentary task force, highlighted the issues that obstructed MDGs and detailed the steps taken by the government to make sure they were achieved.
Aurangzeb also placed an emphasis on lining up the global development agenda with the national agenda, saying that the lawmakers could play a productive role on this matter. She pointed out the discord between civil society organizations and political parties by saying that Pakistan should have its own national agenda which should integrate into the international one.
Shehryayr Ghazi, Rutgers WPF Programme Development and Strategic Officer, said that the new development agenda was under negotiation. He outlined the role of parliamentarians for the effective implementation of commitments in sustainable development. Ghazi stressed the need for improving the lives of the country’s youth, particularly in terms of health.
Other important areas of priority included gender equality and women’s empowerment. Ghazi highlighted the issue of slow progress of maternal health in the country that resulted in MDG5 being off-track in all provinces. In the end, Pervaiz concluded the talk by saying that it was time for women lawmakers to go beyond questions and calling for attention notices in parliaments to the effective implementation and contribution towards the development of the country.
It is imperative to have women parliamentarians talk about and work towards the future developments of women empowerment. Women issues around the world are more or less the same and Pakistan is no exception. Their needs and concerns have to be addressed by women representatives. Similarly, all legislation and policy making has to be gender responsive.