On February 14, 2019, the Australian Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade released a report which examined Australia’s implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, following a year-long Inquiry.
The Senate Committee launched the Inquiry into the SDGs in 2018, inviting individuals, organisations, and the public to contribute their input on topics such as: the understanding of SDG awareness across the Government and wider community, the costs and benefits of domestic SDG implementation, and how performance against the SDGs can be monitored and communicated in a way that engages all sectors of society. SDSN Youth Australia, New Zealand & Pacific (AusNZPac) saw this as an opportunity take part in the national conversation surrounding the SDGs, express to the Government our perspective on Australia’s progress in achieving them, and advocate for mechanisms to facilitate greater youth participation in the processes.
Our submission to the Inquiry emphasised the significant contributions young people and youth organisations have made towards the agenda, and highlighted the importance of their inclusion in the decision-making and implementation processes of the SDGs. We also produced a supplementary report, Challenges, Impacts and Benefits of Increased Youth Participation in Sustainable Development in Australia, which analysed the relationship between youth and the SDGs, and the potential of young people to make a much greater impact. View our submission here.
After a series of public hearings in which SDSN Australia, New Zealand & Pacific gave evidence, the Senate Committee released the final report, outlining the terms of references, and identifying key recommendations on improving Australia’s implementation of the SDGs. A number of SDSN Youth’s responses, activities and recommendations were referenced in the report, such as how the advancement of particular goals can benefit youth, our 2016 Youth Pledge for the SDGs, and our call for the establishment of a Future Generations Commission. We hope that the findings in this report will spark efforts to strengthen Australia’s ability to achieve positive sustainable development outcomes domestically and internationally. Please also take a look at the submissions made by our colleagues and members of our network:
Mr. Clinton Moore, SDSN Youth Local Pathways Fellow 2017
Oaktree, Australia’s largest youth-run international development organisation
This activity is just one of several efforts from SDSN Youth AusNZPac to elevate the role of young people in dialogues surrounding SDG implementation in Australia. Others include the youth sector consultation towards Australia’s Voluntary National Review, and our recent forum on ‘Youth at the Forefront of SDG Implementation’. We encourage young people and youth organisations around the world to seek opportunities to engage in important discussions around the SDGs in their own countries, and look forward to seeing these efforts transpire.
Michelle Huang is the Youth Network Coordinator/Program Coordinator for SDSN Australia, New Zealand & Pacific, based at the Monash Sustainable Development Institute. She holds a Masters of International Development Practice at Monash, and also has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Studies and Politics.