Global Goals must guide Australian policy at home and abroad

Global Goals must guide Australian policy at home and abroad

Every area of government policy will be touched by the new global compact for development to be adopted by world leaders this week, World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello said today.

“The new Global Goals are universal. All countries – as well as aid agencies, businesses and the public, working collaboratively – will play a part in implementing them, and a deliberate effort will be required by policy-makers to reach those who are currently missing out,” Mr Costello said.

More than 150 heads of state will gather at the UN in New York from 25 to 27 September to adopt a wide-ranging agenda to eradicate extreme poverty within the next 15 years. The Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals) apply to all countries and outline 17 goals to tackle the root causes of poverty, inequality and environmental destruction. They will also seek to promote peaceful and inclusive societies.

“The new Global Goals, replacing the Millennium Development Goals, show that shared peace and prosperity means we need to care for both people and the planet.

“We can finally end the debate about whether development and the environment are in competition with one another – they are not,” Mr Costello said.

“At a time of massive global upheaval, people movement and geo-political instability, we can all see plainly how our lives and our prospects are inextricably linked – whether we live in a poor village or a rich nation.”

Mr Costello called on the Australian Government, as it prepares to sign on to the ambitious roadmap for human progress, to adopt the goals as the framework for the Australian aid program – and make a serious commitment to a new approach to financing its implementation.

“These goals should be a blueprint for the future of our Australian aid and development policy. However, the goals are only aspirations without a serious commitment from all nations to fund their fair share of aid, alongside new and innovative financing mechanisms.”

Mr Costello added that the success of the Global Goals in ending extreme poverty within a generation was dependent on policy-makers redoubling efforts to bring peace to conflict-ridden regions, and including people living in the world’s most difficult circumstances.

“Without a universal, focussed effort on improving the lives of hundreds of millions through better health, education and inclusive growth to generate meaningful work, the massive gains in global development since 2000 could plateau, or even backslide.

“Children, in particular, represent the key to a better future and must be a focus if we are serious about reducing human suffering, and offering hope for a better life for billions,” Mr Costello said.

“Politicians and policy-makers must take urgent action to ensure the most vulnerable children are reached first. They are the children in remote areas, in the worst urban slums, in the midst of intractable conflicts and buffeted by droughts or flooding caused by the effects of climate change.”

Since adoption of the MDGs in 2000, substantial gains have been made: the number of people living in extreme poverty has been halved, while the proportion of undernourished people in the developing world has fallen to around 12 per cent. These statistics represent millions of lives saved.

However, this week’s commitment to new Global Goals is needed because more than a billion people still live in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 a day. Most of these people – some 800 million – are undernourished.

Mr Costello said that when you look behind that stark figure, it is children who suffer the most. “Their young bodies and minds are less able to endure periods of hunger. Around 1 in 4 of the world’s children are stunted. They will grow into adults with diminished physical strength and mental capacity.

“It is possible for Australia – as a relatively wealthy, generous and outward-looking nation – to play an important enabling role in assisting other countries to drive down these damning statistics.”


New Global Goals: key facts

The Global Goals are a set of targets designed to end extreme poverty over the next 15 years. The goals are universal so are expected to guide the policies and practices of all countries. They replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which end this year.

There are 17 Sustainable Development goals including:

  • End poverty in all its forms
  • End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture
  • Ensure access to water and sanitation for all
  • Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

You can find a full list of the goals and targets, which will take effect in January 2016 here.

Were the Millennium Development Goals effective?

Since adoption of the MDGs, the number of people living in extreme poverty (less than US$1.25 per day) has more than halved to 836 million. The number of preventable child deaths also fell dramatically, from 12.7 million in 1990, to six million today.

World Vision was an active contributor to the goals:

As part of its efforts to reduce the number of maternal and new-born deaths, it trained and continues to support over 100,000 community health-workers, including midwives.

World Vision is also the largest non-government supplier of clean water in the developing world; reaching a new person with clean water every 30 seconds. This is particularly important when you consider that diarrhoea is the second biggest cause of death for children under five years old.

Further, between 2010 and 2014, World Vision was able to protect 20 million people from malaria by distributing long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets.

Find out more about what the MDGs achieved here.


Media contact: Kris Gough, 0481 005 468

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