The recent advent and adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the global community have afforded a unique opportunity for Nigeria to define and proactively pursue an unprecedented strategy of progress for generations to come. The expiration and experiences of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 have informed this defining moment across a number of fronts. At the same time, the historic line-up of interdependent international agreements sealed in 2015 on disaster risk reduction, financing for development and climate change, the historic Paris Agreement, underline the need for a coherent, holistic national implementation strategy that is furthered and protected by legislation which delivers on the critical political-will needed for progress in Nigeria.
The Nigerian National Assembly which I lead is at a pivotal crossroads to anchor the pursuit of these new SDGs and of related commitments on disaster risk reduction, development financing and climate change with a level of collaboration and defining political will that could undoubtedly steer Nigeria towards a greater good. I find it necessary that we prioritize them according to realistic targets and develop indicators to measure our performance, as we proceed. Given our dwindling resources and slow level of development, we are exploring alternatives in order to appropriately finance our ambitions.
The 8th Nigerian Senate believes that adopting a multi-stakeholders participatory approach where through partnerships with civil society organizations, private sector and the diplomatic community can boost the process of linking law makers with the people at home and abroad; which in-turn provides feedback on policy, legislative projects and program matters that can produce shared prosperity for Nigerians. Working with Nigerians we can align our strategies with the long list of commitments we made in the past year.
As we implement the Sendai Framework over the next 15 years, Nigeria will work tirelessly to reduce the risk of disaster, sharing the responsibility of any such unfortunate occurrence with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders. We shall ensure the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives and livelihoods of ordinary Nigerians, as we take concrete steps to improve the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental needs of our people.
In the same vein, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda has set a solid beginning for the overhaul of global finance practices, and the generation of investments to tackle Nigeria’s major challenges. It is evident that the implementation of all agreements, especially the SDGs, revolves around proper financing. As this Agenda addresses all sources of finance, and covers cooperation on a range of issues, Nigeria stands prepared and committed to cooperate with our international partners as we commit to combat corruption, and strive for greater equality for all in our country.
GLOBE Nigeria, in collaboration with my Office, Civil Society and other stakeholders are talking to host a roundtable in the first half of 2016, aimed at producing a legislative oversight framework template on the successes/failures of the SDGs in Nigeria.
GLOBE Nigeria is a member of the prestigious GLOBE International network of legislatorswww.globelegislators.org, which has pioneered the ‘Coherence and Convergence’ approach to the major UN agreements emerging from 2015, supported by major bodies such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). We are working with GLOBE partners to ensure effective national integration of these agendas by lawmakers working closely with government, civil society, business and other stakeholders.
The roundtable meeting is expected to be a platform for engagement with critical stakeholders (CSOs) on a biannual basis. It will be a great opportunity to meet personally, and brainstorm with a view to aligning our development trajectory in measurable and quantifiable metrics that can help the 8th Nigerian Senate effectively implement and monitor her Legislative Agenda in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and our national priorities. The 8th Senate of Nigeria will equally be initiating necessary research to create adaptable and adoptable legislative strategies for state, national, and regional bodies to integrate into their own respective legislative frameworks.
As legislators, we must bridge the gaps of knowledge between us and the people, creating an atmosphere for further collaboration and constructive engagement with parliamentarians. Having hosted the Maiden National Assembly Interactive Session on the 2016 Budget with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) recently, I stand confident in my belief that policymaking must involve every Nigerian. With the CSOs effectively contributing crucial information on the needs of the public in the 2016 budget discussion, we turned our focus to stronger policy choices. We must stand united, working as a team. Together, everybody achieves more.
Senator (Dr.) Abubakar Bukola Saraki (CON)
President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria