The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The UN’s 193 member states formally agreed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda) on 25 September 2015 in New York. The new agenda provides a roadmap for global development efforts to 2030 and beyond.
While non-binding, the 2030 Agenda will be highly influential, shaping development cooperation and finance flows from a range of sources, including nation states, multilateral organisations, the private sector and philanthropic entities.
Sustainable Development Goals
The 2030 Agenda succeeds the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but is a more comprehensive, progressive and innovative agenda that responds to the many challenges faced by the world today and into the future.
It includes 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 169 targets within those goals. The full list of goals and targets is available at: UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform
In addition to building on the MDGs, the SDGs include important new goals on economic growth, infrastructure, peace and effective governance, and oceans.
The 2030 Agenda helps Australia in advocating for a strong focus on economic growth and development in the Indo-Pacific region, and in promoting investment priorities including gender equality, governance and strengthening tax systems.
It is also well aligned with Australia’s foreign, security and trade interests especially in promoting regional stability, security and economic prosperity.
The 2030 Agenda is non-binding but has unprecedented buy‑in as a result of consultation and negotiations involving all 193 UN member states, the private sector and civil society.
Australia actively participated in international discussions to design the SDGs and supported the involvement of all development actors, including civil society organisations, the private sector, philanthropic organisations and academia.
International Development Finance
The third International Financing for Development Conference took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 13-16 July 2015. The Conference built on the outcomes of earlier financing conferences in Monterrey (2002) and Doha (2008). The focus was on broadening the range of sources of finance including from developing and emerging economies, the private sector and new philanthropic organisations. Importantly, it also emphasized the importance of building the right enabling environments in developing countries will promote economic growth and attract investment. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda outcome document places a strong emphasis on each country’s responsibility for its own development, the importance of focusing on economic growth, the vital role of the private sector and the ways in which the empowerment of women and girls can drive growth. At the Conference, Australia was proud to join the Addis Tax Initiative (ATI) and committed to doubling our investment in strengthening developing countries’ tax systems from $16 million in 2014-15 to $32 million in 2020.
Global Development Governance and Effectiveness
Australia is working to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of development efforts through a range of global programs.
Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation and the Busan Agreement
In 2011 Governments, NGOs, private sector organisations and other development partners came together to discuss and agree broad principles for effective development cooperation. The Busan Agreement recognised the value that all development partners bring to international development cooperation, and set out broad principles for cooperation: ownership of development priorities by developing countries, a focus on results, inclusive partnerships, transparency and accountability.
Born out of the Busan Agreement the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) aims to bring together all development partners to: maintain and strengthen political momentum for more effective development co-operation; ensure accountability for implementing Busan commitments; and facilitate knowledge exchange and sharing of lessons learned.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, attended the First High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) in Mexico City, April 2014. This meeting emphasized the importance of the global community working together to ensure development is effective.
Development Assistance Committee
The OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is an international forum for donor governments to exchange policy experience and identify good practice. The DAC is internationally recognised for its development statistics, and its peer reviews of members’ development programs are well regarded.
Australia is playing an active role in DAC processes to modernise Official Development Assistance (ODA) measures, standards and systems. This has included: recent adjustments to the way ODA loans are measured; a commitment in 2014 to target ODA to countries most in need; and, work on a new measure for ‘total official support for development’ to complement the ODA measure.
Australia also plays an active role in shaping the analytical work of the DAC, including through engagement and support of the DAC Program of Work and Budget as well as work on enhancing peer reviews. Australia is actively engaged in DAC networks, including for gender equality and governance (for which Australia is co-chair). Australia also works with those bodies and programs that align closely with Australia’s development priorities, in particular on conflict and fragility, leveraging other drivers of development such as domestic finance, and development finance statistics.
High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
The High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is a new UN entity and replaces the former Commission on Sustainable Development. The HLPF is mandated to play a coordinating role in the context of the 2030 Agenda, integrating the human and social development and sustainable development workstreams, reviewing progress against the agreed agenda and providing political leadership on sustainable development.
Millennium Development Goals
Australia is one of 189 countries that adopted the Millennium Declaration in 2000, which subsequently led to the formation of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs, which expired at the end of 2015, were a shared vision for reducing poverty; and improving health, gender equality, education and the environment.
The world has made good progress toward achieving the MDGs. Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. In fact the poverty reduction target was met five years ahead of schedule. The target on improving access to safe drinking water has also been met and other targets, including the target on achieving gender parity in primary education, are close to being met.
However, despite considerable success, several targets were not met, including halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger and addressing maternal and child mortality. In the Indo-Pacific, progress has been mixed and large disparities still exist in overall levels of poverty.
Like other countries, Australia has taken the lessons learned from the MDGs into the development of the 2030 Agenda.