Global Goals are Australian Goals

Sam Mostyn, President Australian Council For International Development

19 Oct, 2015

Imagine a world that can sustainably support a population of 8.5 billion by 2030.

A world where more than 60 per cent of humanity lives in cities that are amenable, well serviced and prospering.  

Where new economies have developed and offer meaningful and fair employment to a youth population of nearly 1.3 billion.

Imagine the global economy has rapidly decarbonised and new renewable energies are ubiquitous. The price of new technologies has dropped way below fossil fuels with markets rapidly embracing this transformation. Planetary temperatures - while still to peak - are now estimated to remain within the crucial 2 degree celsius limit by the end of the century. 

Imagine that rapid developments in promoting the role of women has seen a whole generation of girls educated from primary school to university in countries around the world. Political and business leadership includes more women, and female leadership is displayed in most aspects of all societies. Violence against women has been eliminated.

These were the opportunities posed to world leaders as they met in New York on 25 September to sign on to the new UN Global Sustainable Development Goals.  

With 17 goals and 169 detailed targets, no-one can say the Global Goals avoid the complexity of the job of creating a more humane and sustainable future.

But poverty, inequality and environmental sustainability are issues that are not confined to national borders, and neither are their solutions. These goals require all countries - rich and poor - to make a contribution and to work collaboratively.

So, what will the Global Goals mean for Australia?

The Global Goals provide a comprehensive framework for Australia’s efforts to address a wide range of issues from climate change to inequality, water and ocean management to urban development. Australia will need to report on its progress in these and other areas at UN leaders summits on the goals every five years to 2030.

The Global Goals provide the opportunity for a national conversation on Australia’s role in world. They provide an ideal roadmap for Australia’s foreign policy and aid program. The opportunities and challenges we face are inherently connected with opportunities and challenges in other countries. Efforts to reduce carbon emissions in Australia will help prevent sea-level rise in the Pacific, while efforts to strengthen health systems and eradicate infectious diseases in the Pacific will ensure Australians are safe from pandemics.

Our aid program has a vital role to play in supporting progress on these goals. Our aid program helps build prosperity, stability and opportunity, working in collaboration with other countries. If we help build improved governance and access to health, education and employment opportunities in neighbouring countries, we can help build the stability of our region as well as help developing countries in their efforts to meet the Global Goals.  In the course of doing so, we will strengthen the bonds of trade, friendship, and understanding.

Delivering on the goals requires action across all sectors in Australia – government, the private sector and civil society. The Government can make its work easier by convening different sectors to drive action and build collaboration, and to set up a national plan to measure and report on Australia’s progress.

To take them up will require a change in mindset. It is not tenable any more to say charity begins and home and turn inwards. The opportunities and challenges facing Australia are inextricably linked to those facing the rest of the world. Our common purpose requires that we work both within and across nations to help build a better future.

  • Sam Mostyn, President Australian Council For International Development
    Sam Mostyn, President Australian Council For International Development

    Sam Mostyn is a Non-executive Director of Virgin Australia Holdings Limited, Citigroup Pty Ltd, Transurban Group and Cover-More Group Limited. She is President of the Australian Council for International Development. She is also a Director of Australian Volunteers International, Australia Council for the Arts, Carriageworks, St James Ethics Centre Foundation, the NSW Climate Change Council and ClimateWorks Australia. Sam is currently Deputy Chair of the Diversity Council Australia, and is Chair of AC for the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU. She is also a Commissioner of the Australian Football League.

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