UNIC Canberra launched the Millennium Development Goals Report 2014 in partnership with the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University (ANU) and the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) on the 14th of July at the Hedley Bull Centre in Canberra.
With reference to the World Cup Final of the night before, UNIC Canberra Director, Mr Christopher Woodthorpe outlined the main findings of the report to an audience of government representatives, diplomats, non-government organisations, academics and students.
“The account given in the Report, much like the story of the World Cup, is one of progress and shortfalls. Several key targets have already been met ahead of time or are within reach, however some MDG targets related to largely preventable problems with available solutions are slipping away from achievement by 2015, despite major progress,” Mr Woodthorpe explained.
Deputy Secretary at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ewen McDonald said he regarded the approaching 2015 deadline with optimism and concern, highlighting the lessons learnt by the international community from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“We now have the opportunity to refocus ourselves and step back into the fray so that we can make more progress in the future,” said Mr McDonald.
Vice President of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and Chief Executive Officer of CARE Australia, Dr Julia Newton-Howes AM, analysed the report’s findings highlighting the challenges posed by conflict, the urban-rural divide and inequality on MDG progress.
“We are only entering the final game now. How do we make the final push and get the MDGs the attention that they really deserve?” asked Dr Newton-Howes.
Dr Susan Harris-Rimmer, the Director of Studies at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at ANU reflected on the incredible impact of the MDGs as a set of common goals shared by governments and civil society alike, and her anticipation for the sustainable development agenda.
“There has been so much more consultation in the development of the sustainable development goals and it is going to be a difficult discussion to get any goals decided in 2015. But it would be a tragedy for us to lose the goals we have had for the past 25 years,” Dr Harris-Rimmer said.
A short Q&A following the launch with audience members asking questions ranging from good governance, Official Development Assistance (ODA) rates, inequality to the flexibility of goals and indicators.
To listen to the podcast of the launch click here.