A sweeping new reform agenda for a sustainable world is set to be adopted at the biggest ever gathering of global leaders next week, and WWF is urging the Australian Government to get behind it.
The UN’s newly renamed and much-anticipated Global Goals have already sparked a raft of celebrity endorsements - including from Pope Francis, pop superstars One Direction and the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt - but they represent much more than simply the latest mass campaign to target poverty.
193 world leaders are set to sign off on the new 15-year business plan for the planet at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 27, which will put environmental health at the heart of global efforts to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.
“With sea level rise, overfishing and deforestation affecting the safety, food security and livelihoods of millions in our region, it is clear that environmental health must be at the heart of Australia’s international aid efforts,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.
“We call on the Australian Government to make the UN’s new Global Goals a living reality by using them as a framework for the policies, priorities and performance benchmarks of Australia’s aid program.”
If adopted, the 17 goals and 169 targets will drive trillions of dollars in public and private aid and investment, and prompt significant legal and administrative reform in all countries.
“The new Global Goals represent an understanding of the links between poverty, inequality, human rights, and the need to stop deforestation, keep rivers flowing, keep fish in the oceans, and minimize disruptions to the global climate,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.
“These links are particularly relevant for our region, where sea level rise, overfishing and deforestation have already taken a heavy toll on people and the environment.”
More than 85 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries that demand more from nature than their own ecosystems can renew. UN population, energy and food projections indicate that by the 2030s humanity will need the biocapacity of two planets to support its food, fibre, fresh water and lifestyle demands.
“To address poverty, inequality, human rights abuses and food insecurity in our region, Australia’s aid efforts must follow the lead of this new agenda, including by promoting innovative solutions to enable communities to do more with less, as natural resources inevitably decline and consumption grows,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“Needless to say, Australia also must start living within its own ecological means, and WWF calls on Prime Minster Turnbull to shape his government with a far greater focus on reducing carbon pollution.”
For Australia to do its fair share towards supporting countries in our region, it needs to increase its aid budget from $4 billion in 2015 to at least $5.5 billion by 2019 – which represents approximately 0.3% of gross national income - and to at least 0.7% of gross national income by 2030.
Unfortunately, Australia’s generosity has lessened over time, with aid invested as a percentage of national income falling from 0.5 per cent in the early 1970s to around 0.2 per cent today.
“To fulfil our obligations to the world’s most vulnerable people, we need a more generous Australian aid budget, coupled with strong plans to secure our planet’s life support systems and help people adapt to the changes in climate that are already taking place,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“Fortunately the new Global Goals provide a way forward for us all.”
WWF-Australia Media Contact:
Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571