United Nation member states adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in 2015. Despite becoming a signatory four years ago, Australia has long wrestled with the question of how to best implement the SDGs to achieve the 2030 agenda successfully.
Now, Australia could see a clear national implementation plan on the horizon.
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A new report, released by Australia’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, has put forward 18 recommendations for the nation to implement — including establishing a national SDG secretariat and regular reports of Australia's performance against the goals.
The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the Australian Council of Social Services, and United Nations Association Australia released a joint statement Wednesday applauding the report.
"The SDGs provide a framework for collective action to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges such as climate change, poverty, inequality, and sustainable growth,” the statement reads. “We congratulate the Committee for a thorough and well-considered report and support the Committee’s recommendations which provide a clear pathway to implementing the SDGs.”
In a joint statement, the @UNAA_National, @ACFID and @ACOSS have welcomed the findings and recommendations of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee’s Report on the @UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 🇺🇳— UNA-Australia (@UNAA_National) February 21, 2019
Read more: https://t.co/pRTFQazosqpic.twitter.com/qDQKBLC0bb
ACFID CEO Marc Purcell told Pro Bono News that in the three years since the SDGs were adopted, Australia has ultimately fared well — especially in the areas of health and good-quality education. This national implementation plan, however, would allow Australia to address various shortcomings.
“Governments do best when they plan and actually set out what they are going to do,” Purcell stated. “And, at this point, we don’t have that.”
The Committee's recommendations offer a blueprint for the next stages of Australian implementation of the #SDGs. Peak organisations from civil society and business will be writing to political leaders to seek a commitment to their delivery. #AAC2019@globalcompactAU— ACFID (@ACFID) February 19, 2019
Alice Ridge, International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) policy advisor, similarly commended the report.
“We remain committed to the potential of this agenda to drive joined up efforts towards transformative change in Australia and around the world,” Ridge told Pro Bono News. “We encourage Parliament to use the SDGs as a framework for change.”
The Senate inquiry report comes six months after Australia revealed how it is progressing in achieving the SDGs in an inaugural Voluntary National Review. The report has used the review as a benchmark of national progress and has taken into consideration public and NGO submissions, including from Global Citizen.
Various non-governmental organizations and the parliamentary committee will now aim to work alongside the government with the goal of implementing the report's recommendations.