Welcome address by G.Zandanshatar, Chairman of the State Great Hural of Mongolia to the Second Regional Seminar for the Asia-Pacific Region Parliaments on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
Her Excellency Madame President of Inter-Parliamentary Union,
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development is a historic milestone. It is universal and we all have a responsibility for its implementation. The Sustainable Development Goals represent the most universal, ambitious and comprehensive agenda ever seen which promises to leave nobody behind. This is a real paradigm shift which requires us all to act in new ways.
Parliaments, under the leadership of IPU have an important role in translating the goals into concrete actions. A good example is a Hanoi Declaration “The Sustainable Development Goals: Turning Words into Action” adopted by the 132nd IPU Assembly in Hanoi on 1 April 2015.
This Declaration offers a unique opportunity to meet global challenges, using a universal, integrated approach that applies to all countries and links poverty eradication to sustainable development.
In May 2017, the parliaments of the Asia-Pacific region met for the first time in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to discuss concrete steps that would help implement the SDGs in their countries and the region.
Today we are gathered here for the second regional seminar on “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”, which will become an important landmark, bringing together Parliamentarians to review progress on the 2030 Agenda.
I wish to take this opportunity to inform you that the State Great Hural of Mongolia has been and remains deeply committed to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2016, the State Great Hural of Mongolia adopted the "Sustainable Development Vision-2030", translating internationally agreed goals to the national level.
In order to ensure policy coordination and to find effective ways to hold government accountable, we have established the Subcommittee on Sustainable Development goals. The subcommittee is now localizing IPU toolkit – the self-assessment methodology, which will guide its work. In addition to that the Subcommittee is coordinating SDG review process in order to present a national voluntary report of Mongolia to the High-Level Political Forum in July 2019.
The second session of this seminar will focus on education. We believe that ensuring quality education for all is not only central to the achievement of all of the Goals, but in particular the goal to end poverty.
The Education sector is a top priority for the Mongolian Parliament and the Government. In 2019, 4.7 percent of GDP and 17.2 percent of the state budget revenue was allocated to education. Since 2016, the Government has been implementing a comprehensive education reform with a special focus on professional development of teachers, improvement of learning environment, expanding inclusive education, closing the gap between education and employment, and life-long learning. In the coming fall session of the Parliament, we will discuss and review a revised Education Law, which should facilitate acceleration of SDG-4 implementation.
During this seminar, you will have an opportunity to get more information on education sector reform from the report of our 2 Members of Parliament.
Health is a human right, and despite notable progress, many challenges to achieving SDG3- Good health and well-being remain. One of the successful Government strategically important programs is the national program “Healthy Liver Mongolia”, which Mongolia has been implementing since 2017 to decrease infection rates.
According to the Sustainable Development Vision-2030, Mongolia has set ambitious target to reduce the maternal mortality ratio to 15 per 100,000 live births by 2030. In 2018, the maternal mortality ratio reduced to 27.1 due to the Government National Program on Mother and Child Reproductive Health.
We live in a time of huge transformation. The defining challenge is countering climate change. We need a course of action to create a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy.
Mongolia is focusing on adaptation to climate change, contribution to climate change mitigation, through introducing ecologically-friendly advanced technologies, increasing efficiency and productivity, and introducing green tax and green procurement systems designed to reduce environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The State Great Hural Mongolia has revised the Law on waste (2017), amended Law on water pollution.
Last but not least, I would like to stress the important role of engagement of citizens and local communities, as well as high quality data in implementation of SDGs. I am sure that during your deliberations, you will find an innovative ways to enhance citizen interaction and effective communication, and access to big data which helps measure the progress towards SDGs.
I appreciate IPU’s leadership and pivotal role in assisting Member States by developing a global guidelines, toolkits and strategy which help Parliaments to better fulfil their legislative roles and responsibilities.
In Mongolian democracy, the Parliament plays a very important role. The new global framework – SDGs give us a focus for our core purpose – the advancement of democratic values, the rule of law and strong, representative institutions, and the promotion of gender equality and human rights. Therefore, I have initiated a development of the Parliament Strategic Plan just after assuming the Chairmanship of the State Great Hural in February this year. Building strong and democratic parliament, promoting gender equality and human rights, reducing inequality are some of key objectives of this Strategic Plan.
We believe this Strategy will facilitate not only advancement towards SDGs but will pave the strong foundation for democratic governance.
As you all know last week, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won a second term in office following the world's largest democratic exercise ever. I would like to remind you that historically Mongolia and India are spiritual neighbors. It is symbolic that during the election campaign, Modi occasionally wore Mongolian traditional costume. This is just one example of fruitful cooperation and partnership between countries.
Last but not least, we must celebrate successes, learn from our mistakes and use the best evidence to inform our decisions. We also need to tackle challenges that we are facing. Inequality, air pollution, child violence, low quality of education are key challenges, Mongolia is struggling to fight.
Time is short – 2030 is not far away and resources are finite – we must make important decisions about how to invest for the biggest impact.
I wish you every success in your debates and discussions, which I am sure will produce substantive outcomes.
I sincerely hope that this meeting will help to light the way towards accelerated implementation of SDGs.