Australia actively participated in the UN global discussions to design the 2030 Agenda and supported the involvement of all development actors, including civil society organisations, the private sector, philanthropic organisations and academia. In September 2015 Australia became one of the 193 signatories to endorse 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in doing so recognises the 2030 Agenda as both a domestic and international agenda. This means the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets should be aligned to both national policy and the International Development Assistance Program. The 2030 Agenda is well aligned with Australia’s foreign, security, development and trade interests, especially in promoting regional stability, security and economic prosperity. As a member of the G20, Australia has recommitted to contributing to the global efforts through the ‘G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.
With regards to domestic implementation of the SDG’s the landscape is a little less clear. Australia is expected to establish national frameworks to measure achievement of the SDGs and report against progress. Australia has several policies and National Action Plans (NAPs) to address key issues, including NAPs Violence Against Women and Girls, and Women Peace and Security to draw on as Australia develops these national reporting frameworks. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is in the process of mapping the indicators against available data sets and has been part of the discussions around the SDG indicators at the UN and is supporting a number of other countries to develop data sets that fit their national context.
Australia was scheduled to present the Australian Voluntary National Report (VNR) to the High Level Political Forum July 2018. In the lead-up to an Australian national reporting framework, there have been a number of initiatives to identify the opportunities and challenges of the SDGs for Australia, including the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) (September 2016) Australia/Pacific co-hosted Inaugural Australian SDGs Summit, Australia’s first high-level multi-stakeholder forum to advance national implementation of the SDGs.
This summit held in September 2016, co-hosted by the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA), SDSN Australia/Pacific held the inaugural Australian SDGs Summit. 2018 is viewed as 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.
A second Australian high-level multi-stakeholder forum to advance national implementation of the SDG’s took take place on 13 March 2018 co-hosted by ACFID, ACOSS, GCNA, SDSN Australia/Pacific and United National Association of Australia (UNAA). It was an op opportunity bring together government, NGOs, research institutions, and the private sector to discuss Australia’s progress and challenges in implementing and monitoring the SDGs.
Takeaways from the 2018 Australian SDG Summit
Partnerships and collaboration were highlighted as the piece in the puzzle that would plug many gaps in the SDGs, including building the capital needed. The resources of both public and private sectors are required to achieve global transformation.