Realizing the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development–engaging national parliaments?

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This article examines the role of national parliaments in policy processes related to the realization of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, adopted in the UN General Assembly in 2015. We outline three main roles of parliaments in the case of national policy-making based on intergovernmental agreements: legislative and policy approval, citizen representation, and accountability. The cases of Sweden and Ghana are examined with regard to those roles, looking for factors that impact the degree of parliamentary involvement with the 2030 Agenda. The cases show that while formal features of political systems impact how parliaments exercise those roles, political choice among policy-making elites and voters is an equally important factor shaping how those roles play out. Yet, political choice can in turn be circumscribed by competing domains, issues and actors in national 2030 Agenda processes. Even if the two countries chosen for comparison are dissimilar with regard to substantive challenges faced in realizing the 2030 Agenda, they are alike with regard to weak involvement of their parliament in policy-making related to the 2030 Agenda thus far. The conclusion puts forward possible implications of a lack of parliamentary involvement for the domestic democratic legitimacy and realization of the 2030 Agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-639
JournalPolicy Studies
Issue number4
Early online date2020 Aug 10
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

Free keywords

  • 2030 Agenda
  • accountability
  • Ghana
  • legitimacy
  • parliaments
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Sweden


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