Current priorities

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

The 2030 Agenda

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. ACFID’s approach to the SDGs is outlined below:


Diagram of the process for Transformational Change, broken into 4 quadrants: Thinking Systematically, Working Collaboratively, Beyond Business as Usual, and Reporting on Impact.

Toolkit: Implementing the SDGS - Applying Systems Thinking a Collaborative Approaches

ACFID has produced this Free Toolkit which is designed to help learners explore and test systems change and collaborative responses as a way of working differently to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The Toolkit has two tools: an Individual Learner Course that can be accessed online and Facilitator Guide.

This Toolkit has been created collaboratively by ACFID and its Development Practice Committee (DPC), Collaboration for Impact and CSIRO.  It has been tested by ACFID members as participants of pilot workshops.

This Toolkit was conceptualised by the DPC who 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 designed to provide practical assistance to ACFID members wishing to engage more deeply with the Sustainable Development Goals.

For further information please contact Kate Angus or email.

Australian SDGs Summit 2018: Unlocking the Opportunities of the SDGs

Following on from the successful Australian SDGs Summit in September 2016, Australia’s first high-level multi-stakeholder forum to advance national implementation of the SDGs, the Australian Council for International Development, Australian Council of Social Service, Global Compact Network AustraliaSDSN Australia/Pacific and United Nations Association of Australia  co-hosted the second Australian SDGs Summit in March 2018.

2018 is a critical year for Australia to build on the momentum being created by Australia’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) to the UN, and the Senate Inquiry on the SDGs. Both have significantly raised the profile and interest in the SDGs across all sectors, and the Summit aimed to ensure action continues to happen beyond these processes.

The Australian SDGs Summit 2018 explored ways to unlock the opportunities of the SDGs for all sectors, by taking stock of national progress in SDG implementation, and mapping priorities, opportunities and steps for driving implementation forward.

View the following links to learn more about the event. An Outcomes Report from the organisers is forthcoming.

You can learn more about the 2016 Summit by reading the Outcomes Report, program,  and each of the sectoral statements via the following links: Civil societyPrivate sectorAcademiaYouth

For more information please contact Alice Ridge, Policy and Advocacy Advisor at ACFID.

Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference Committee Inquiry into the SDGs

Late in 2017, the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade launched a parliamentary inquiry on the Sustainable Development Goals. The inquiry’s terms of reference cover Australia’s domestic and international efforts on the goals, how the priorities of partner countries on the SDGs can inform Australia’s ODA, and communication and public engagement around the agenda. 

ACFID spoke to Devex about the key issues before the inquiry and the opportunity it provides to advance implementation of the SDGs by Australia.

ACFID’s submission emphasised the need for a national implementation plan for the SDGs in order to drive a holistic approach across whole-of-Australia efforts. For more information, contact Alice Ridge, Policy and Advocacy Advisor at ACFID.

Australia’s first Voluntary National Review on the 2030 Agenda

Australia will submit its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the 2030 Agenda in July 2018. DFAT has coordinated a whole-of-government process to gather inputs from civil society, private sector, academia and other key stakeholders regarding Australia’s progress on the SDGs and financing for development agendas.

ACFID members have been contributing to the VNR process by providing case studies of their work on the Agenda to DFAT for consideration of inclusion in the Review, participating in a DFAT-DPMC convened multi-sectoral roundtable on the 2030 Agenda, and a consultation with ACFID members on the key issues for Australia’s international development program.

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 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 Dr Amrita Amahli.