The Sustainable Development Goals in Australia: How are we tracking, and what is the IWAA doing?

How are we tracking?

View report The Transforming Australia SDG Progress Report – 2020 Update was launched in November this year. The report tracks Australia’s progress on 56 of the 232 SDG indicators from 2000 to 2020, and it aims to stimulate a national conversation about what Australia can and should be in the future, especially in the face of COVID-19 recovery. Its main contributions include providing quantitative targets for 2030, assessing progress, and evaluating the impacts of COVID-19 on Australia’s capacity to achieve the SDGs.

The report highlights that Australia is failing to reduce CO2 emissions, waste and environmental degradation. Of the two indicators assessed for SDG 6 (water and sanitation for all) one is on track and the other needs improvement. 

The authors of the report propose that Australia uses the SDG framework to design a COVID-19 recovery strategy that improves our resilience to future events and builds a sustainable future for all Australians. 

“...there is a huge opportunity to design a recovery strategy that begins to substantially address  climate change, strengthens our resilience to future shocks and ensures long-term, sustainable prosperity for Australia.” 
Professor John Thwaites. 

What is the IWAA doing for SDGs?

On our part, the IWAA committee has been actively working to encourage dialogues about SDGs through national and global online events. 

In November, the IWAA committee hosted the webinar SDG 13 – A Thirst for Action on Climate Impacts with three though leaders from the front line of impacts of climate change in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia. The experts shared their insights on water policy, research and practice, as well as the role that diversity, equity and inclusion play in a changing world. The session was hosted by IWAA committee members, Michael Storey and Darryl Day, and moderated by IWA President-elect Tom Mollenkopf.
Watch the webinar recording
Watch the webinar recording here

In another online event, Kathryn Silvester who is the IWAA Committee Chair and a member of IWA’s SDG Task Force, facilitated the webinar SDGs for smarter, liveable cities. The webinar had a diverse line-up of speakers from Denmark, Senegal, the UK, and Australia, and explored how utilities can benefit from implementing the SDGs. The speakers shared how they have incorporated SDGs into strategies and daily operations, and what have been the challenges they had to overcome, as well as lessons learnt. 

A highlight was the presentation from Alice Greenhill, Sustainability Manager from Yarra Valley Water (YVW), who shared how they report on each SDG, and how YVW embedded the SDGs in their new 2030 strategy.  
Watch the webinar recording
Watch the SDGs for smarter, liveable cities webinar recording here