Jaipur, 20 August 2016: Inaugurating the First Meeting of BRICS Women Parliamentarians’ Forum at Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha Chamber in Jaipur today, Lok Sabha Speaker Smt. Sumitra Mahajansaid that India’s development agenda is mirrored in the Sustainable Development Goals. She highlighted a few recent initiatives launched by India for promoting inclusion and social advancement, such as 'Jan Dhan Yojana'/ 'National Mission on Financial Inclusion', the Beti Bachao/ Beti Padhao /scheme to promote Girl Child and educate Girl Child, Make in India, Skill Development, Digital India, etc.
Observing that BRICS is a relatively young group, Smt. Mahajan said that the BRICS countries together comprise 43 percent of the world’s population, and contribute 37 percent of the world GDP. As such, the success of the SDGs will be heavily dependent on their successful implementation in the BRICS countries. She lauded the fact that BRICS has taken impressive strides beginning from a forum for consultation on economic issues of mutual interest to evolving into a group which now has various topical global issues on its agenda. She hoped that during India’s chairmanship, BRICS cooperation will be further strengthened.
Smt. Mahajan said that the role of women parliamentarians as enablers of achievement of the SDGs need to concentrate on their role as people’s representatives helping to highlight the concerns of the people as well as mobilizing the participation of the citizens in issues of governance and sustainable development. She added that the 2030 Agenda also recognizes the essential role to be played by the national Parliaments in ensuring accountability at different stages of the policy cycle and their implementation.
Earlier, complimenting the Chief Minister of Rajasthan Smt. Vasundhara Raje for successfully organizing the meeting, Smt. Mahajan said that there could not have been a better venue than the state of Rajasthan to discuss the theme of the meeting, Smt. Mahajan referred to a remarkable tradition of the State of Rajasthan in the area of sustainable development. The State of Rajasthan receives scanty rainfall concentrated over barely 3-4 months of the year. This society has nurtured a strong tradition of water conservation and sustainable use of water resources. She lauded the fact despite nine droughts between 1997-2007, Laporiya village in Rajasthan did not require a single water tanker as the village has developed unique dyke system called the 'Chauka' .One of the first environmentalist movements which was inspired by women was the 'Chipko' movement (Women tree huggers) which was started in the early 18th century in the state of Rajasthan.
In his welcome address, Speaker of Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha, Shri Kailash Meghwal emphasized that in the coming years, we need to ensure elimination of poverty and hunger, quality education, availability of clean water and sanitation, gender equality and dignified living conditions for all through the achievement of these development goals. Shri Meghwal said that the role of women parliamentarians from BRICS countries will immensely help in attaining the targets of SDGs. He hoped that to obtain these objectives, women parliamentarians would prove their presence meaningful by taking active party in the deliberations at the time of law enactment. Further, women parliamentarians can create enough pressure in the different committees of the Legislature to get these legislations effectively implemented. He further added that social audit of schemes has proved to be a very effective instrument in examining the different project undertaken by the governments and hoped that women parliamentarians would be able to discharge the onerous, but precious, role of social auditor every effectively.
Addressing the gathering, the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces and Head of the Delegation of South Africa Ms. T.R Modise said that it is the responsibility of women parliamentarians to interrogate intentions, efforts and progress made by their respective Government in achieving the 17 SDGs and their 169 target areas. Acknowledging that the participation of women in the public life has increased, she felt that women are still not adequately represented in politics, economy and other important centres of power-security, financial, energy and markets. She said that Members of Parliament have to face up to the daunting task of transformation.
The Chief Minister of Rajasthan Smt. Vasundhra Raje added grace to the Inaugural session with her august presence. Professor Dorinha Seabra Rezende, MP (DEM/TO), Head of Delegation, Brazil; Ms. Galina Karelova, Deputy Chairperson of Council of Federation, Head of Delegation, Russia; Ms Wen Ma, Member of Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, Chairperson of the International and Judicial Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress of China, Head of Delegation, China; other delegates from BRICS countries, including India; and other dignitaries attended the function.
Thereafter, the meeting deliberated on the theme “Perspectives on implementation on SDGs’ in Plenary session. Ms. Galina Karelova, Deputy Chairperson of the Council of Russian Federation, chaired the Session and Smt. K. Kavitha, MP, Lok Sabha was the moderator.
Smt. Kavitha K., outlined the challenges faced by developing countries in the implementation of SDGs. She highlighted the situation in the BRICS countries and the role of women Parliamentarians in creating a broad mechanism on issues pertaining to SDGs. Professor Dorinha Seabra Rezende, MP, Head of Delegation from Brazil, said that the focus should be on mutual cooperation for energy efficiency. She felt that the participation of women should be promoted in every sphere and the emphasis has to be on making women partners to take measures as leaders for building a society which is globally sustainable. Ms. Wen Ma, Member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, appealed for collective efforts which would inject more strength into achieving these Goals, adding that China is ready to work with other BRICS countries for global cooperation. Ms. N. Marchesi, MP from South Africa, emphasized that capacity-building and the acquisition of technology and knowledge are important for achieving the desired goals. Kumari Selja, MP, Rajya Sabha, stressed the importance of finance, technology and capacity building in achieving SDGs.
In the afternoon, the First Session of the Meeting on the theme.: Achieving SDGs – Role of Women Parliamentarians in involving Citizens began. the Session was chaired by Ms. Wen Ma and Smt. Supriya Sule, MP, Lok Sabha. The Moderator of the Session was Smt. Geetha K., MP Lok Sabha. Opening the session, Ms. Wen Ma observed that development is crucial to national economy and people’s well being and is, therefore, the common responsibility of all countries. She added that it is important to make joint efforts to uphold the principle of people centered approach and to facilitate the participation of all individuals in sustainable development.
Prof. Drorinha Seabra Rezende, MP from Brazil, said women Parliamentarians need to bring positive change everywhere and fight for equality, citizenship and well-being for all. Ms. Salia Murzabaeva, MP, State Duma Committee on Health, Russia, said that by combining their efforts, the women Parliamentarians can make a major contribution in shaping public, opinion in promoting and implementing the new global development goals. Participating in the discussion, Ms. Geovania de sa, MP from Brazil opined that there is a need to rise above national levels to provide work access and dignity to women through integration of economies. Ms. Leandren from Brazil said, women should be drawn more and more to politics to reduce political inequality and to have more representatives. Ms. T. Wana, MP from South Africa referred to a unique programme of taking Parliament to people for public hearing . Ms. Damina Pereira, MP from Brazil said that the SDG’s should be the priority not only nationally but among the nations. Smt. Jaya Bachchan said the development strategies, should focus on gender equality, investment in basic health care, education and poverty eradication.
Smt. Santosh Ahlawat, MP, Lok Sabha; Smt. P.K. Sreemathi Teacher, MP, Lok Sabha; Smt. R. Vanaroja, MP, Lok Sabha; Km. Shobha Karandlaje, MP Lok Sabha; Smt. Jharna Das Baidya, MP, Rajya Sabha; and Ms.Darshana Vikram Jardosh, MP, Lok Sabha also participated in the discussions.