Australia agrees on goals to end global poverty, but achieving them will take real action  

Campaigns and Advocacy, Climate Change, Foreign aid, Media Releases, News article written on the 24 Sep 2015

Oxfam has welcomed Australia’s adoption of a new set of United Nations global goals that seek to end extreme poverty in the next 15 years. But the international organisation warned the goals would not be reached without real political will from all countries, and a disruption of business as usual.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Helen Szoke said the new Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, include commitments to fight inequality and injustice and act on dangerous climate change.

“The new Sustainable Development Goals are ambitious and historic. They go beyond band-aid solutions as they set out to eradicate – not just reduce – extreme poverty and hunger in every country on this planet,” Dr Szoke said.

“Delivering on these ambitious goals will require real action – not bureaucratic box ticking – to ensure that these Global Goals will make a difference in the lives of the world’s poorest people.

“Australia’s new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must grasp these goals with both hands and seize the opportunity to create lasting positive change, both overseas and here in Australia. And he must be joined by all sides of politics, as well as non-government organisations and the private sector.

Building on the successes of the past Millennium Development Goals, the goals break fresh ground in the fight against poverty by promising to leave no one behind and prioritise the poorest. They move beyond social development targets to include environmental sustainability, economic and social inequalities, and human rights.

Oxfam praised the new focus of “leaving no one behind”, but warned this requires the participation of the most vulnerable and marginalized people.

“Women must be central to realizing these goals because equality for women is key to ending poverty, Dr Szoke said.

To ensure the goals are fully funded national and international financing rules must be rewritten, including a clamp down on tax evasion by multinational companies. We cannot go on, for example, accepting a situation where around $100 billion is lost annually to poor countries through the tax avoidance and dodging practices of some very powerful multinational players. Strong indicators and reporting measures that capture people’s voices will be key.

Additionally, an agreement at the Paris climate talks that delivers for the poorest must be made if “zero hunger” is to be achieved.

“We can be the first generation to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, and the last chance to avert disastrous climate change also rests with us. We are all responsible for making this happen,” said Dr Szoke.

“Our political leaders have set the goals. There is a collective responsibility now to achieve them.”

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