Discussing future development challenges: Senator Mason (left) with the UN's Amina Mohammed, and Ewen McDonald from DFAT. Photo: Katherine Storey
Australia’s priorities for future development challenges were in the spotlight recently when Senator Brett Mason, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, met with UN representative Ms Amina Mohammed.
As 2015—the date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expiry—draws closer, Australia is working with the international community to develop the next set of goals.
Senator Mason said that Australia will be actively engaged in global discussions as they intensify in the lead up to 2015, and will be particularly focused on representing the needs of the Indo-Pacific region.
‘Australia is proud to have supported developing countries in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in our region.
‘In 1990, 54 per cent of people in the Asia–Pacific lived in extreme poverty. This has since fallen to below 22 per cent.
‘Globally, the MDGs have seen extreme poverty more than halve, access to safe drinking water increase, and access to better-quality housing, water or sanitation facilities improve for 200 million slum dwellers.
‘Beyond 2015, we need a set of goals that are simple, compelling, and focus the world’s efforts on the eradication of extreme poverty through sustainable development.’
Ms Mohammed, who is the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, said that the new agenda will aim to build on the success of the MDGs in rallying global development efforts.
‘We have seen the MDGs galvanise action, move finance and make a difference to billions of lives. Now we have the opportunity to do even more and even better,’ she told the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) during her visit.
‘This is an awesome task and a huge responsibility. We must generate political will and leverage new and innovative partnerships in order to meet the demands of this compelling agenda, and ensure that no-one is left behind.’
As a contribution to this task, in May 2013 the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel released its report on the post-2015 agenda.
The lead author of this report, Dr Homi Kharas, shared his insights on the agenda with DFAT last week.
‘The post-2015 agenda will not be MDGs version 2.0. It will be much more comprehensive,’ Dr Kharas said.
According to Dr Kharas, the post-2015 agenda is a unique moment in time to forge a new global partnership and harness new sources of finance—from the private sector, emerging economies and private individuals—to achieve common ambitions.
Millennium Development Goals