Conflict, climate change and corruption are among the most deep-rooted and wide-ranging challenges that we face. These trends are contributing to rising insecurity, growing numbers of people facing hunger and forced displacement, unprecedented threats to biodiversity, mass migration, and political instability.
Considering their multifaceted impacts, the only way to tackle them effectively is with a holistic, comprehensive approach. We shouldn’t see these issues as isolated or as separate. They are international in scope and interrelated in nature, so we need to make a concerted effort to work on a multilateral basis to simultaneously curb corruption, promote good governance, and protect the environment as part of an overarching agenda to achieve sustainable development and promote security.
This is the ambitious goal that I hope to advance this summer at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly’s 28th Annual Session in Luxembourg. As rapporteur of the economic and environmental committee, I have tabled a report and draft resolution under the theme “Advancing Sustainable Development to Promote Security: The Role of Parliaments.” Some of the priorities that I have identified include the need to curb money laundering and the financing of terrorism, fight drug trafficking and trafficking in human beings, promote environmental good governance, expand the use of renewable and sustainable energy, and limit the use of fossil fuels.
Parliaments can play a key role in advancing this agenda by developing preventive anti-corruption legislation, promoting universal ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change and ensuring that its CO2 reduction goals are met, modernising the legal framework to facilitate technological advances to mitigate global warming, harmonising laws for migration, and promoting the integration of migrants.
When it comes to migration, climate change, sustainable development and combating corruption, the challenge that we face is not a lack of international cooperation, but a lack of political will. There is no shortage of multilateral agreements that have been negotiated by global leaders at the highest level and signed by governments solemnly acknowledging their obligations to take specific actions in order to meet economic and good governance goals and to address existential threats to the planet’s health.
In 2003, for example, the United Nations (UN) adopted the Convention against Corruption, which requires state parties to implement measures related to prevention, law enforcement and information exchange. More recently, the international community has adopted agreements on refugees and migrants, as well as climate change. National parliaments should push for compliance with the UN’s Global Compact for Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees, and must accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement ahead of the UN’s Climate Action Summit this September.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals also provide an action plan to promote peace and prosperity and to protect the planet, providing 17 targets on areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation and sustainable consumption.
If countries of the world acted in good faith to implement their commitments under these instruments, we would all be much better off. We could have a rational and fair approach to migration that prioritises human rights and considers the unique needs of the countries of origin, transit and destination. We could ensure that necessary action is taken to meet the challenge of climate change - which threatens us all with extreme weather and rising sea levels - and to tackle poverty, corruption, and crime.
At the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, we are trying to play our part in developing legislative responses and promoting regional cooperation based on the principles of the OSCE. These principles are outlined in the OSCE’s founding document, the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which recognised that “efforts to develop cooperation in the fields of trade, industry, science and technology, the environment and other areas of economic activity contribute to the reinforcement of peace and security in Europe and in the world as a whole.”
Coming from Albania, which will hold the chairmanship of the OSCE next year, I understand how interconnected these issues are. Since the fall of Communism, my country has seen waves of popular discontent triggered by perceived lack of progress in reforms targeted at upholding the rule of law, combating corruption, fighting organised crime, and improving the media landscape.
But this is not just an Albanian phenomenon: popular discontent is seen across the globe. If we are serious about addressing this discontent and creating conditions for long-term peace and prosperity, we must address the very essential needs of the population and pursue truly sustainable development. This is the ambitious agenda that we will tackle at the OSCE PA’s Luxembourg Annual Session on 4-8 July.
Elona Gjebrea Hoxha is a member of parliament from Albania and serves as rapporteur of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment
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