2015 UN Summit Plenary Meeting for Sustainable Development

  • Speech, check against delivery

When Australia signed the United Nations Charter 70 years ago we committed to promote peace, social progress and better standards of living for the people of the world.

Australia has taken this commitment seriously, and today we agree a new 2030 Agenda that seeks to end extreme poverty within a generation.

It's an ambitious, bold – and necessary – objective.

Indeed, it is a global objective, the product of unprecedented consultation and negotiation.

In the 15 years since the Millennium Development Goals were agreed, we've made great advances and have lifted hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty.

This achievement should be celebrated.

But in an ever-changing world, new challenges continue to arise.

The 2030 Agenda recognises a more modern, contemporary understanding of the drivers of development and the changing distribution of global wealth.

The last fifteen years have shown us the benefits of building economic resilience – and so the 2030 Agenda rightly has a strong focus on economic growth.

Every single resource should be harnessed – so the rights and opportunities of women and girls are recognised in a standalone goal, and also across the 2030 Agenda.

Many countries that have struggled in their efforts to achieve the MDGs have experienced instability and conflict, as we have seen in our region with the experience of the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste.

The World Bank estimates that more than 40 per cent of the world's extreme poor live in conflict affected and fragile environments.

Further Bank research predicts that this percentage will at least double by 2030.

So the goal on peace and governance, for which Australia strongly advocated, will be critical for the eradication of extreme poverty – and for the success of the entire 2030 Agenda.

The Sustainable Development Goals can only ever be a statement of ambition unless we plan for how we will achieve them.

Here we look to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda agreed in July.

Countries' domestic resources are now the largest source of development finance.

Australia is pleased to be part of the Addis Tax Initiative to strengthen tax systems and we'll double our investment in domestic resource mobilisation by 2020.

This builds on the work of the G20 in strengthening national tax systems and reducing illicit flows, as articulated in the G20 Summit meeting in Brisbane last November.

The private sector, a critical driver of economic growth, job creation and an important source of development finance, has a key role to play.

Australia is increasingly partnering with our private sector, including on projects to provide access to finance for remote communities in the Pacific.

We have a strong focus on innovation – investing in new ways to solve enduring problems and finding creative means to overcome seemingly intractable development challenges.

While the 2030 Agenda is a major achievement, it cannot be the end of our work.

Australia is committed to taking strong and responsible action on climate change and I hope the ambition and momentum here in New York carries through to Paris.

In particular, Australia was integral to the establishment of the Green Climate Fund and it remains central to our efforts on climate change, especially in the Pacific.

Australia is represented on the Board of the Green Climate Fund and we have committed $200 million, our initial $70 million contribution has been paid.

Australia is a land of opportunity, prosperity and inclusion, however like all nations we face challenges.

We're taking action to sustainably manage our land, forests, waterways and precious marine resources, including the Great Barrier Reef – a world heritage site that we have committed to preserve and conserve.

We are investing in the skills of our people, diversifying our economy and increasing productivity.

We are taking steps to promote gender equality, close the gap on indigenous disadvantage and support those with disability, including through a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

In giving effect to the new Agenda, we can share lessons from our own experience.

Through our development program, engaging with the private sector, working with partners, we are promoting prosperity and reducing poverty on a sustainable basis in the Indo-Pacific.

As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has said, the true measure of success is not how much we promise but how much we deliver.

It will be by working together that we will deliver on the ambition of the 2030 Agenda.

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