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From Policy to Action: Australian Aid and the Sustainable Development Goals

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The Australian aid program is at an important crossroads as the government decides how to go about implementing Australia’s commitment to the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

In a report released today, the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) – the peak body for international development and humanitarian NGOs – calls on the government to scale up the efforts of the Australian aid program to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote sustainable development.

ACFID’s report, From Policy to Action: Australian Aid and the Sustainable Development Goals, maps current Australian aid policy against the 17 goals and sets out ideas and opportunities for how Australia can help achieve the goals and play our part in building prosperity and stability in the region.

“The Australian government must go beyond business as usual to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s continued leadership is crucial if we are to make a difference in eliminating extreme poverty by 2030,” said Mr Marc Purcell, CEO of ACFID.

“Our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific will be developing their own priorities for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and Australia should be a leader in providing support and assisting them in this task.

ACFID calls on the Australian government to develop a plan for implementing and communicating to the Australian public its efforts to achieve the goals. Australia must have a plan if our efforts are to be meaningful.

As well as recommitting to our aid program, we need to ensure all of our policies across trade, migration, taxation and the environment contribute to better outcomes for our developing neighbours,” said Mr Purcell.

The Sustainable Development Goals sit at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, a landmark agreement signed in September 2015 by all 193 United Nations members to achieve peace, prosperity and sustainability for all people by 2030.

The goals apply to all countries, but require developed countries like Australia to provide greater support to countries that face particular challenges and have a harder road to travel to meet the goals, such as African countries, Pacific Island states and countries in conflict or post conflict situations.