By Dane Moores, Senior Economic Development Policy Advisor, World Vision Australia.
In January each year, millions of Australians make New Year’s resolutions. The most popular New Year’s resolution is — you guessed it — to lose weight. Other common goals are to spend less money, learn something new, eat better and to exercise more.
But all too often, the only thing slim about New Year’s resolutions is their success rate. Some studies have indicated that only 8% of us who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve them. According to US News, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail to make it to Valentine’s Day.
Fortunately, our New Year’s goals aren’t generally life-or-death issues. But some resolutions are.
In 2015, every country in the world agreed to achieve a set of 17 resolutions to tackle the most urgent issues of our time: to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. These resolutions are called the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs for short.
The SDGs are ambitious, but achievable. To end extreme poverty. Provide education for all boys and girls, everywhere. Fight inequality and injustice. Address climate change. Achieve gender equality. All by 2030.
The SDGs build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015), which saw a 45 per cent reduction in maternal mortality rates, 37 million tuberculosis deaths avoided and extreme poverty halved compared to 1990 levels, among other great advances.
However, unlike the Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs apply to every country, not just developing economies. The rallying cry of the SDGs is to ‘leave no one behind’ and to reach those who are furthest behind first – whether they are people living in pockets of disadvantage in comparatively rich countries like Australia, or whole communities and populations in poverty in poorer parts of the globe.
World Vision is an active contributor to the SDGs, both in Australia and abroad. World Vision provides both short-term and long-term assistance to 100 million people worldwide (including 77 million children). In 2015 alone, World Vision’s programs rehabilitated more than 160,000 acutely malnourished children under 5 years old, educated more than 8 million children in 55 countries, and improved water sources for almost 2.4 million people.
Alongside its international programs, World Vision Australia also implements community development programs and brokers public-private partnerships to support Indigenous communities around Australia.
For the SDGs to be achieved, everyone needs to do their part: non-government organisations like World Vision, as well as governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you have a role to play.
In July 2018, the Australian Government will report to the United Nations on its contributions to the SDGs so far. It has already been three years since the Goals were agreed to in New York, so World Vision calls on the Government to not only report on plans, but to demonstrate the measurable progress it has made towards realising the SDGs and empowering children and their communities.
Goal 17 – ‘Partnerships for the Goals’ – encourages developed countries like Australia to invest 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) in aid for developing countries and 0.15-0.20% to least developed countries to help them realise the benefits of sustainable development. However, instead of rising to meet this challenge, Australian aid fell to its lowest levels in history in the current 2017-18 year, reaching 0.22% of GNI or $3.912 billion. This places Australia 17th out of 28 countries in the OECD’s aid rankings. It’s simply not good enough. Australia needs to invest its fair share to achieve the SDGs, as it promised back in 2015.
We need to make sure that the countries that signed onto the SDGs – including Australia – do not forget their resolutions. Between now and 2030, we must make sure that resolutions made become resolutions kept. And resolutions don’t get more important than ending global poverty and advancing sustainable development for all.
Want to find out more about the SDGs and World Vision’s work?