Post-MDGs: Australia must rejoin poverty fight

Foreign aid, Media Releases, News article written on the 07 Jul 2015

The fight against poverty will never be won unless countries like Australia rediscover the bold political leadership that forged and delivered the Millennium Development Goals, Oxfam said in response to the release of the UN’s final MDG progress report today.

Oxfam Australia’s Public Policy and Advocacy Manager Jo Pride said the UN report demonstrated the value of setting global goals, inspiring global action.

“The achievements of the Millennium Development Goals show what can be achieved when political leaders unite to tackle pressing global issues. With millions more children surviving and making it into school the results speak for themselves,” Ms Pride said.

However, progress has been mixed. Not all goals have been met and there are regions and countries that have been left behind.

“The MDGs were made possible largely because of a scale up in the quantity and quality of aid in the early years. Sadly progress has stalled since the financial crisis and a lack of accountability has allowed rich countries to turn their backs on the world’s poorest people,” Ms Pride said.

“Much has been achieved in the last 15 years, but as today’s report shows, there is still a lot to be done. This has not been helped by governments like Australia not keeping up their end of the bargain.”

Countries including Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom exceeded the ODA target of 0.7 per cent of GNI, shaming Australia, whose aid contribution is set to fall to 0.22 per cent by 2016-17.

The new Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to eradicate poverty and protect the planet, are due to be agreed in New York in September. Significantly, they aim to tackle rapidly growing inequality and ensure that no-one is left behind.

“We will not lock in the gains achieved under the MDGs, or deliver on a new set of ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ unless we tackle the extreme concentration of wealth, resources and power in our world. This will take political courage,” Ms Pride said.

“Getting a fair and effective financial framework in place is a critical first step. Governments must seize the opportunity of the Finance for Development meeting in Addis next week to reform the global tax system and clamp down on corporate tax dodgers who are cheating poor countries out of billions of dollars every year – money that could be spent on tackling poverty and inequality.   Rich governments must also recommit to deliver on their decades’ old promise to deliver 0.7 per cent of their national income in aid and ensure at least half of this money is spent in the world’s poorest countries.

“Governments including Australia’s must now commit to the Sustainable Development Goals to deal with the unfinished business set out in this report.”

For interviews or more information, please contact Angus Hohenboken on 0428 367 318 or