Sustainable Development Goals: a win-win for Australia

The Millennium Development Goals that John Howard signed Australia up to in 2000 will expire this year, but the next set of goals — signed last week in New York — will apply to developed countries too. Australia is not short of areas for improvement, write John Thwaites and Tahl Kestin.

Unlike the Millennium Development Goals that applied only to developing countries, the Sustainable Development Goals will apply to all countries, including Australia. The new goals will have a key goal of eradicating extreme poverty, but they also have a much wider agenda.

While the MDGs achieved considerable success in reducing poverty in developing countries, key challenges of climate change, environmental degradation, rising inequality and conflict present a significant risk to the well-being of all of us, including Australians. These are truly global challenges that require global solutions involving all countries.

The SDGs offer the opportunity for a “win-win” for Australia: by promoting more sustainable development we can improve the quality of life and opportunity here in Australia while also promoting prosperity in the many developing countries in our region. This will be vital for our economic future and security.

Sustainable development in a developed country

The SDGs are relevant to developed countries like Australia in two ways.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.