Australian action needed on UN goals

Posted 18 October 2016

United Nations Sustainable Development GoalsAustralia must prioritise climate action and global partnerships if it is to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on water, sanitation and hygiene, a new University of Queensland publication shows.

In response to the research question ‘where to begin to enable maximum positive impact’ of the SDGs, UQ assembled a multidisciplinary team of 13 researchers to map the influences the SDGs have on one another.

“Our analysis found that health and wellbeing (SDG 3) is really the ultimate goal that all the other goals are contributing towards. Water is midway in that big picture,” said co-author and UQ's Global Change Institute (GCI) Sustainable Water Program Manager Dr Nina Hall.

Based on this analysis the researchers concluded that climate action and global partnerships should be a priority.

“We found that taking action on climate (SDG 13) was one of the major goals that affected everything else—so if you don't address climate change all the other goals will be unobtainable,” Hall said.

“We also found that the goal for global partnerships (SDG 17) also affects everything else because—we are living in a globalised community and if we can't get interaction and partnerships then we can't deliver on all those goals.”

Hall said the analysis found that health and wellbeing (SDG 3) was the ultimate goal that all the other goals were contributing towards.

For Australian utilities and water resource managers wondering how to operationalise the SDGs, Hall and colleague, Associate Professor Eva Abal, will provide a foundation in an upcoming webinar.

“We'll be giving some depth such as talking about the targets that fall beneath the goals and the indicators for evaluation … we'll give a snapshot around the need for the SDGs in the Asia Pacific … then the implications and challenges that remain to achieve the SDGs in Australia,” Hall said.

The webinar also aims to shape future training modules on the SDGs.

“We will be seeking a discussion with the attendees to find out where they're really stuck, what don't they understand, what do they need, what are the gaps?” Hall said.

“I think there's a strong interest from AWA members around where do you even start?”

In November, the GCI plans to release a third discussion paper. It will provide examples of community-led participation in achieving the SDGs across the Asia Pacific.