Thank you to the ACFID and UNIC for hosting this meeting.
Can I acknowledge:
- Marc Purcell, Executive Director of the Australian Council for International Development;
- Chris Woodthorpe, Director of the United Nations Information Centre; and
- Tanya Plibersek, the Opposition’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson.
There are 193 member states of the United Nations.
All of these states have different priorities, different populations, different – and often competing – interests.
So it is remarkable, these 193 countries have reached a consensus in identifying the Sustainable Development Goals.
But the negotiations, which took over two and a-half years, not only included United Nations member states, it also included robust engagement with civil society, business and international organisations.
That gives the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, unparalleled international legitimacy and inclusivity.
The 17 SDGs build upon and extend the Millennium Development Goals with an important new focus on economic growth; peace and effective governance; infrastructure; and oceans and climate change.
The 2030 Agenda provides us a road-map to chart international development for the next 15 years.
That’s a daunting task – just think how much the global development landscape transformed in the past 15 years since the Millennium Development Goals were agreed.
We have as strong a moral responsibility as ever to address global poverty.
Around one billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day.
Around 800 million people do not have enough food to eat.
Women continue to fight for equal rights, and too many women still die in childbirth.
The 2030 Agenda sets out what we want to achieve in the next 15 years.
The question for all of us is how we do it.
A key priority for Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, is ensuring we are innovative in our approach to foreign policy and development.
Historical views on aid – that aid alone will deliver on the ambitious goals we have before us – no longer ring true.
We must focus on economic development, and we must have the long view in mind.
Emerging economies, the private sector and philanthropic organisations have a bigger role to play.
Critically, in line with our Government’s focus on economic diplomacy, the 2030 Agenda recognises economic growth is essential to sustainable development and reducing poverty.
It recognises the need to bridge the global infrastructure gap – a major constraint to economic growth.
It also recognises the fundamental role of the private sector.
In very many ways the 2030 Agenda endorses the Government’s modern approach to development.
This is no accident.
Australia’s contributions to the negotiations on the new agenda were based on our development policy, and on our policy for economic diplomacy.
Australia is a trading nation.
And Australia benefits from greater openness in markets, rules-based norms, and being well-integrated into our region.
The 2030 Agenda recognises how vital trade is to development.
In 2014, the Australian Government introduced our own aid for trade benchmark, with 20 per cent of our aid program funding to be dedicated to aid for trade initiatives.
The 2030 Agenda provides a chance to advance Australia’s priorities – linking foreign policy, trade and development.
It will support our efforts to enhance regional stability and resilience, with targets on good governance, the rule of law, anti-corruption and inclusive institutions.
Minister Bishop has been a champion for women’s economic empowerment as fundamental to reducing poverty, creating jobs and stimulating growth.
That’s why gender issues was one of our highest priorities in negotiating the 2030 Agenda. We will use the 2030 Agenda to advocate for women’s equal rights, access to services and economic opportunity.
The 2030 Agenda is ambitious – but so it should be.
Organisations like ACFID and UNIC have a critical role to play – especially in communicating and advocating for the Agenda.
We will work with you.
We look forward to the formal endorsement of the SDGs in New York this month.
And we look forward to working with NGOs, business, international organisations and UN member states to achieve them.
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