Lawmakers and planners from six provinces in Nepal have identified key challenges and opportunities in Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) financing in their respective provinces.
Over 400 members of provincial assemblies including chief ministers, ministers, speakers and deputy speakers sat together in a series of interactions and orientations organized by UNDP in partnership with Province Governments, which focused on SDGs, SDG financing, and the role of provincial assemblies in developing financing laws and policies.
During the orientation, experts and former government officials shared insights on various aspects of SDG financing, including its historical context, financing strategies of the government, and the role of other stakeholders such as the private sector in mobilizing resources. The lawmakers also learned about integration of SDGs in province policies, budgets and programs, revenue mobilization, including fiscal transfers and tax policies aligned with constitutional mandate of the provinces.
“The discussion helped newly elected lawmakers understand the SDGs and the challenges related to financing these goals. Since many of the lawmakers are new [only around 10% of the lawmakers in Karnali were re-elected for the second term], the interaction on SDG financing and related laws and processes was helpful. The discussions also helped us understand how the goals are interrelated and how our programs and interventions in one area affect another area, either negatively or positively,” said Chief Minister of Karnali Province Raj Kumar Sharma.
During the orientation, Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada, Former Minister of Finance and UNDP SDG Champion for Asia Pacific, presented several aspects of financing strategies of Government of Nepal. He also highlighted how Nepal’s constitution is aligned with the spirit of the SDGs and how financing arrangements including fiscal transfer are made for provincial governments under the new constitution. Dr. Swarnim Wagle, Former Vice-chair of the National Planning Commission of Nepal briefed the participants about the historical context of the development of the SDGs, targets, and indicators and their interconnection with Nepal’s development aspirations such as graduation from LDC status and upgrading to the middle income country.
In addition to discussing SDG financing solutions, participants also learned about parliamentary processes and protocols, key techniques to become an effective member of the provincial assembly, and the role of parliamentary parties, thematic committees, in achieving SDGs focusing on policies promoting gender equity and social inclusion in line with the principle of Leave No One Behind.
During the orientation, Member of the Constitutional Assembly and Senior Advocate Mr. Khim Lal Devkota briefed the participants about parliamentary process and protocols, and key techniques to be followed by the members to become an effective member of the provincial assembly. Whereas, Ms. Puspa Bhusal, Former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives and Senior Advocate, discussed the role of parliamentary parties and thematic committees to bring the issues of Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) other social policies on the forefront.
The lawmakers also presented their understanding about several aspects of SDGs, including their role in mainstreaming gender into government programme and policies.
Addressing the interaction in Gandaki on 20 March 2023, UNDP Resident Representative in Nepal Ayshanie Medagangoda-Labe encouraged political party leaders to make special efforts to bring in women lawmakers in the leadership positions of the committees of provincial assemblies. Aligning province programme and budgets with SDGs is critical and while doing so they should also leverage additional financing, including the private sector to meet the 2030 target, said Dharma Swarnakar, Economic Advisor at UNDP Nepal.
The orientation was chaired and moderated by the speaker of the respective provincial assemblies and was part of the ongoing UNDP project, Reorienting Public Finance for SDGs Acceleration and Leveraging Additional Resources in Nepal, which is being implemented in coordination with UNCDF and UN Women and funded by the UN Joint SDG Fund.
Originally published in UNDP Nepal Medium