Permanent Mission of Australia
to the United Nations
New York

220715 - High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development: National Statement


15 July 2022

Next year we will reach the half-way point of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Given this, 2022 gives us a critical opportunity to take stock.

The world is facing multiple crises – in health, climate, food security and energy.

These crises have caused unprecedented disruptions to people’s lives, health systems and economies – in every corner of the world. 

They have set back progress on the SDGs and made implementation against individual targets uneven.

And yet, the 2030 Agenda and SDGs are as relevant, ambitious and targeted as they were when we agreed them in 2015. 

They give effect to our shared commitment to generate and preserve global public goods, which benefit all nations.

They are a roadmap to sustainable growth and development. And they are centred on full respect for international law and human rights.

They remain the only globally agreed framework that can drive sustainable partnerships for development and COVID-19 recovery – and in doing so, shape a more secure and humane world.

What’s needed now is to double down on concrete implementation to deliver on the commitments we all made.

We need to ensure that “leaving no one behind” means a world where all people – including women, persons with disabilities, First Nations Peoples and LGBTIQA+ persons – can speak and are heard.

Because we cannot achieve sustainable development unless we improve lives and livelihoods for all.

Australia has always been steadfastly committed to the 2030 Agenda. But we know there is more to do.

We have heard our development partners calling for acceleration, and we are responding.

Australia is directing our development program and annual Official Development Assistance (ODA) budgets, including $4.456 billion in 2021-22, to meet the challenge.

For example, on the SDGs under review this year:

  • In 2021-22 we invested $587.9 milliom to address school closures due to COVID-19 (SDG4).
  • We provided $1.5 billion in 2020-21 to support gender equality globally (SDG 5), with $500 million spent on the Pacific.
  • We’ve joined the High Ambition Coalition for People and Nature, along with more than 90 countries, to call for the adoption of a global target to protect and conserve 30 per cent of the world’s land, and 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030 (SDG 15). 
  • In support of SDG 14, we’re investing $150 million (2009-2025), in regional priorities in the Pacific. This includes establishing maritime zones, supporting sustainable coastal fisheries management and reducing single-use plastics. This is in addition to our $100 million Ocean Leadership Package (2021-2025) investment.
  • Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17) play a key role in Australia’s development program. For example, the Katalis program ($40 million, 2020-25) will help maximise the mutual benefits of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement – supporting two-way trade and investment and promoting inclusive economic growth in Indonesia. 

We also know there is more to do for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). 

For 30 years now, SIDS – such as Pacific Island Countries neighbouring Australia – have been calling for changes to development support eligibility criteria. These countries need such criteria to move beyond economic measures, and better reflect the unique vulnerabilities they face.

Now is the time to deliver on our commitment to SIDS.

Australia supports the development of a multidimensional vulnerability index to provide the UN and development partners with an evidence-based tool to better understand – and therefore better support – the development of SIDS.

Australia recognises that while we are all impacted by the changing climate, it is SIDS that are on the forefront of this crisis.

That is why the Australian Government will strengthen climate ambition and step up our work with Parties to rally an effective global response.

Last month, Australia submitted an updated commitment under the Paris Agreement that increased our 2030 emissions reduction target to 43 per cent below 2005 levels, aligning with our commitment to achieve net-zero by 2050.

We will work to enshrine these commitments in law.

We are committed to supporting enhanced climate action in our region through increased climate finance and new partnerships in the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Australia will also work to ensure the voices, perspectives and practices of First Nations Peoples have a stronger place in international climate discussions and actions.

We are also playing a leadership role in international environment forums. We are strong supporters of the proposed new treaty to reduce marine plastics. And we are pushing for the adoption this year of an ambitious and comprehensive treaty to sustainably manage the high seas.

Australia is doubling the number of Indigenous Rangers to combine traditional knowledge with conservation training to protect and manage their land, sea and culture. We are also boosting funding for Indigenous Protected Areas. We are doing so because we recognise the importance of drawing on Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge and experience when investing in the health and resilience of our ocean ecosystems. This includes expanding management of our Marine Protected Area networks from 37 per cent to 45 per cent of our waters.

We need to work together to address the links between climate, environment and disaster risk reduction, and to prepare for increasingly complex, cascading risks.

Australia looks forward to doing so when we host the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (APMCDRR) in Brisbane later this year, as we rapidly approach the halfway point to 2030. 

Australia is committed to working with our fellow member states and UN partner agencies in the years ahead to achieve a sustainable and resilient world. Together, we will build a better future, for all.