Jaipur, 21 August 2016 : The First Meeting of BRICS Women Parliamentarians' Forum, which was inaugurated by the Lok Sabha Speaker Smt. Sumitra Mahajan at Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha Chamber in Jaipur on 20 August 2016, concluded today.
Addressing the delegates at the Valedictory Function, Smt. Sumitra Mahajan said that dialogue among parliamentarians is important to achieve SDGs. She felt that that Members of Parliament are a better interface between citizens and government. She exhorted parliamentarians to learn and benefit from the best practices in BRICS countries. She emphasized that the best way to predict future is to create it.
Smt. Mahajan hoped that three important subjects discussed during the Meeting, namely, 'Perspectives on implementation of SDGs', ' Achieving SDGs-Role of Women Parliamentarians in Involving Citizens' and 'Containing Climate Change-Imperatives of Global Cooperation' would encourage women parliamentarians to meet regularly to discuss issues and exchange views in order to acquire deeper insight and develop a perspective on the problems and challenges faced by them as law makers.
She said that the first subject bears great relevance in the context of our journey towards the Millennium Development Goals coming to an end and the way forward to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. She felt that these 17 goals and the 169 associated targets have the potential to transform the future of our countries by accelerating our endeavours and to take us on the path of a meaningful growth, in close harmony with nature. She advised women parliamentarians to make sincere efforts to achieve these goals, and it is their responsibility to oversee and monitor the implementation strategies and mechanisms of the SDGs.
On the second subject-Achieving SDGs- Role of Women Parliamentarians in involving Citizens, Smt. Mahajan observed that it was also of great significance from the developmental perspective because development must be gender inclusive, if it is to be equitable, sustainable and effective. Therefore, mainstreaming equity is vital for ameliorating the socio-economic conditions of the people within the framework of sustainable development.
Referring to another important subject covered during the Meeting viz. Containing Climate Change-Imperatives for Global Action, the Lok Sabha Speaker said that climate change affects humanity as a whole, but, at the same time we, as developing countries, have our own challenges.
Delivering the Valedictory Address, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan Smt. Vasundhara Raje said that women lawmakers who are also daughters, mothers and sisters, not only represent people and guide administration but also bring to the table compassion and caring. This makes them more able guardians of processes that lead to improving the quality of life of our citizens. Irrespective of differences in development indices and growth levels, all member countries of BRICS have large populations who need to prosper. To achieve this end, it is important that development processes are sustainable. BRICS can play a catalytic role in forging partnership among women lawmakers in mainstreaming SDGs, she noted.
Observing that India's democratic traditions are well known, she said that public representatives are its torchbearers for alleviation of poverty, eradication of hunger, health reforms and environmental protection. She referred to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's vision for tomorrow's India through a simple phrase - 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas'. To realize this vision, the NITI Aayog has been assigned the role of overseeing the implementation of the SDGs.
Referring to experiences of Rajasthan, Smt. Raje said that its development model is based on the triad of social justice, effective governance and job creation. In 2008, Rajasthan was the first state in India to introduce a financial inclusion programme aimed at empowerment of women - Bhamashah. Rajasthan's efforts in financial inclusion ensure transfer of direct and indirect benefits to citizens without fear of wastage, leakage and graft. Among other programmes, Skill Development and Livelihood Programmes of Rajasthan are nationally acclaimed. The Jal Swabalamban Abhiyan has emerged as a peoples' movement in which individuals, corporate houses, uniformed services and civil society came together to rehabilitate traditional water harvesting structures.
Earlier, the delegates participated in discussions on the subject 'Containing Climate Change-Imperatives for Global Cooperation'. The delegates were unanimous that climate change constitutes a grave, unprecedented, global challenge for the entire humanity and mitigating its hazardous effects calls for global cooperation. Women and children are worst affected by climate change. It is, therefore, imperative that countries take timely steps to switch over to clean, alternate sources of renewable energy and contain carbon-dioxide emissions. The delegates also called upon developed countries to devolve more financial resources to developing countries to address the ill effects of climate change. They were also of the view that women with their local knowledge and expertise and being more environment-conscious can play a big role in addressing this daunting challenge. The participants were of the unanimous opinion that women, especially Parliamentarians, have a critical role to play in containing climate change through effective legislation.