As part of Anti Poverty week ASAP Oceania launched its report auditing the Australian Government’s progress toward meeting SDG targets. It is the first SDG audit led by the ASAP network.
Academics Stand Against Poverty Oceania (ASAP Oceania)(1). a network of academics and development professionals working in Australia and the Asia Pacific Region, has coordinated experts on several aspects of poverty to write brief, accessible responses to what the Australian Government says about poverty in the Voluntary National Review (VNR).
The report focuses on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the Australian Government released in June this year.(2).
The conclusions clearly suggest more action is needed by the Australian Government.
Excerpt: Introduction to the report (Keith Horton)
The 17 SDGs, which were adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2015, focus on a wide range of developmental and environmental targets. The first goal is ‘End poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030’, and many of the other goals are related to poverty in a broad, multi-dimensional sense of that term.
So what does the Australian Government say about poverty in the VNR, and how accurate and representative is what it says? Given the unsystematic nature of the VNR and the heterogeneity of its contents, it wasn’t easy to provide a template for responses.
That said, we suggested that contributors construct their responses around the following questions.
1. What does the AVNR write about your field of expertise? (What aspects of that field does the AVNR focus on? What are the main points the AVNR makes?)
2. Is what the AVNR writes about your field of expertise accurate and representative? (Does it potentially mislead by omission? Are the cases the AVNR focuses on representative, or are they cherry-picked? Is data provided where suitable data is available?)
3. In your view, which policies most need to be reformed to improve Australia’s performance in your field of expertise?
The linked document is the resulting report. The topics covered are Food Security, Indigenous Policy, Children and Families, Foreign Aid, Gender, Housing, Social Policy, and Disability. This of course is very far from a complete list of relevant topics, but is nonetheless broad enough to enable one to see if any common themes emerge across different sectors, and hence how systematic any failings are.
(2). Australian Government: Report on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (2018): https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/19592VNR_final_approved_version.pdf