Current priorities

This page outlines ACFID’s key policy and advocacy action on sustainable development.

The 2030 Agenda

On 25 September 2015, Australia joined with other nations to agree the Sustainable Development Goals.  The 17 Sustainable Development Goals apply to all nations and set us on a path to end poverty, reduce inequality, promote peace, and sustain the environment to 2030.  Australia, like all nations, needs to align its policy priorities to the Global Goals, including the support we provide to developing countries through our Australian Aid Program

ACFID is focused on building support and understanding for the new Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring their integration into Australia’s aid and development policy.

Recent Events

SDG Tools Development


ACFID’s Development Practice Committee (DPC) held a co-designing workshop in September 2016 with ACFID members, the Research for Development Impact Network, the private sector and ACFID staff to develop a conceptual draft for a toolkit that can provide practical assistance to ACFID members wishing to engage more deeply with the Sustainable Development Goals.


These tools will be further developed around the headings of ‘transformational development’, ‘systems thinking approach’, ‘collaboration’ and ‘measurement’.  You can find a more detailed summary of the day here and the DPC will be progressing this work over the next six months.  To get involved or ask questions please contact Kate.

Australian SDGs Summit

ACFID, together with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA) and Australian Council for Social Services (ACOSS), hosted the inaugural Australian SDGs Summit in Sydney on 7 September.  The Summit brought together more than 150 leaders from academia, business, civil society, Government and youth to discuss Australia's role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals at home and abroad.  

There was strong attendance and engagement by Government, with the Minister for International Development and the Pacific and the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation addressing the Summit. DFAT Deputy Secretary Ewen McDonald announced at the Summit that DFAT and PM&C would jointly convene an Inter-Departmental Committee to look at Australia’s response to the SDGs.  This is directly in line with ACFID’s previous calls.

One of the key parts of the Summit was to demonstrate the already significant momentum and support for the SDGs across all sectors in Australia, shown through four statements of commitment from the different sectors involved.  

You can find the Summit’s program here and a copy of each of the statements via the following links: Civil society; Private sector; Academia; Youth.  A full summary document is available here.

Past actions

In April 2016, shortly after the commencement of the SDGs, ACFID released its report From Policy to Action: Australian Aid and the Sustainable Development Goals.  The report maps examples of Australia’s existing aid policies against each of the 17 SDGs, and sets out ideas and opportunities for how Australia can further our efforts toward the Goals.

A key pillar of ACFID’s engagement with the SDGs has been around engaging with Members of Parliament to build their understanding and showcase the cross-sectoral buy in for the SDGs in Australia.  Likewise, ACFID has been engaging with civil society partners in Australia to look at what more can be done to build understanding and give momentum to achieving the 2030 Agenda over the next 15 years.

In the years leading up to signing the Goals, ACFID worked with our members to provide insight into what the Australian NGO community was looking for through the process of negotiating the SDGs and engaged with DFAT to inform Australia’s position.  To help frame and contribute to the negotiations of the SDGs in Australia, ACFID jointly hosted an SDGs Civil Society Forum in August 2015 and developed the discussion paper, Post 2015 Agenda: Driving international development after the Millennium Goals in October 2013. 

To learn more about what ACFID is doing on the SDGs and how you can be involved please get in touch with Alice Ridge.


Climate change and sustainable development

ACFID is focused on building greater understanding and action on climate change to reduce poverty and inequality and promote sustainable development.

Climate change presents significant threats to the achievement of poverty reduction in our world today. Natural disasters, rising sea levels and water shortages could roll back decades of development gains and threaten future development prospects. The good news is that tackling climate change and reducing poverty can, and indeed must, go hand in hand. The Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change are important landmark agreements for driving action on both fronts.

ACFID has been calling on the Australian Government to take necessary action on climate change including releasing a policy position paper in July 2015 on Tackling climate change and promoting sustainable development.

ACFID works as part of a cross-sector coalition, with environmental organisations, the private sector, Government and other stakeholders, to raise awareness and promote policy propositions on climate change and sustainable development. Since April 2016, ACFID has co-hosted two climate finance roundtables to build understanding and opportunities for collaboration and partnerships around climate change and sustainable development. The roundtables are focussed on Australia’s role in financing climate change for development and have involved high-level participants from NGOs, Government, private sector and academia. Out of these Roundtables ACFID has begun to explore the importance of bringing visibility for the sector’s work in climate change adaptation, in particular. We expect to be running a mapping project in the first half of 2017 and will be working with our members to ensure this project captures and represents their work.

ACFID members have a critical role to play in supporting communities to adapt to and reduce climate change impacts. Through the ACFID Climate Change Community of Practice and ACFID Disaster Risk Reduction Community of Practice, member agencies come together to share, learn, collaborate and advocate.

Australian NGOs also play a vital role in providing humanitarian assistance following emergencies and supporting rebuilding processes.

To learn more about ACFID’s work on climate change or to get involved contact Jo Pradela.