13 years of NorthSouthDialogue of Parliaments - we say goodby

Since 2006, the NorthSouthDialogue of Parliaments (PNSD) has coordinated long-term partnerships between the Austrian Parliament and national parliaments in Southern Africa. After 10 years of cooperation with the Assembleia da Republica de Mocambique (2006-2016) and the Portuguese Parliament (2010-2016), a cooperation with the National Assembly of Zambia was implemented from 2016/17 until the end of 2019.

The PNSD was initiated in 2006 by the Hon. Inge Jäger under the then President of the National Council Andreas Khol. The focus of the project was always the idea that peace, democracy and the rule of law are basic prerequisites for positive social and economic development in all countries. Parliaments are central actors in this area due to their important democratic and political functions as legislative, controlling and representative bodies. In addition, they play an active role in the implementation of international agreements through corresponding legislation, e.g. the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). From the beginning, the PNSD was funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and the federal province of Upper Austria. All actors saw the need to strengthen partnership-based thinking and acting at eye level between countries and institutions in the north and south.

Peer-to-peer and mutual learning

One outstanding feature of the project was its long-term partnership approach and the peer-to-peer approach used, i.e. a method that enabled peers in parliaments to exchange ideas, learn from one another and present good practice models in the respective areas together. Through the partnership-based development of ICT strategies (information and communication technologies) and the partial support in their implementation, both the Mozambican and the Zambian parliament were able to increase the efficiency of the processes within the parliaments and the digitization of the institutions, as well as enhancing their communication with the population. With the colleagues from Mozambique, i.a. an open house and a guided tours manual with tools and activities for school groups was developed. With Zambia, the educational strategy “Bringing the Spirit of Democracy to Zambian Learners” was designed. The strategy includes activities in both parliament and outreach programs.

Political cooperation

In addition to cooperation at the administrative level, there were also contacts at political level. Members of the same committees from the Austrian Parliament and partner parliaments dealt with challenges in their areas of work. With the colleagues from Zambia, a Joint Parliamentary Peer Group was founded, which paid particular attention to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4 “inclusive, equal and high-quality education for everyone.” In addition to coordinating the work between the parliaments, it was also part of the PNSD to discuss development policy issues and the area of ​​political coherence in a number of different events in the Austrian Parliament. In this, the project cooperated closely with many NGOs, experts, scientists and civil society.

To sum up

In the 13 years of its existence, the NorthSouthDialogue of Parliaments has achieved a great deal and certainly contributed to strengthening the relations between the Austrian Parliament and the partners in Africa and raising awareness of the importance of development cooperation. It is therefore noted with great regret that further cooperation is no longer desired. The PNSD thus says goodbye after 13 years of cooperation and extends many thanks to all members of parliament, staff of all parliaments and all organizations that have contributed to the success of the activities.

Parliamentary Cooperation

Austrian Parliament - National Assembly of Zambia

SDG Watch Austria

SDG Watch Austria is a civil society platform monitoring the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 in Austria.

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