On 25 September 2015 the General Assembly of the United Nations formally adopted ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.
A partnership between all 193 UN Member states, the 2030 Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity aimed at implementing strategies in areas of critical importance to humanity and the planet. The focus of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is directed at ending poverty and hunger, protecting the planet from degradation, all the while increasing global prosperity, equality and peace in a sustainable manner.
The 2030 Agenda will be met through 17 Goals and 169 targets that tackle everything from poverty, hunger and inequity to economics, consumption, environmental degradation and climate action. The onus of meeting these ambitions will rely on individual countries to successfully implement their own sustainable development policies, plans and programmes.
Business and industry will also have an important role to play in achieving the SDGs through responsible operations, new business models, industry led investment and technological innovation. To achieve the SDGs will require both national and international collaboration between the public and private sector, across all forms of business.
‘Promoting prosperity while protecting the planet’
Central to sustainable development and the SDGs is the eradication of poverty in all its ‘forms and dimensions’ creating a link between issues of social equity and the sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems. To meet the SDGs will require the promotion of sustainable, inclusive and equitable economic growth, which raises standards of living, increases opportunities and inclusiveness all the while driving down inequality and halting the global degradation of our natural systems.
While economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection are crucial for the well-being of individuals and society, the ability to balance these elements can be heavily reliant on the wealth of a country and the capability with which it can mobilise both time and money in addressing areas of concern. Both developed and developing countries will take on the challenges of achieving the SDGs, but as the core of the SDGs highlights, social and resource inequities across the globe will mean that everyone’s starting point will differ and our contributions will need to reflect our place in the world.
What role can Australia and Australian agriculture play in this Global Agenda?
With around 60% of our agricultural production exported, Australia has a global leadership role to play, in helping to feed the burgeoning world population in a way that is sustainable. Reducing on-farm energy intensity, increasing water efficiency, ensuring sustainable production, reducing food waste, conserving productive land and building climate resilience are day to day realities for our industry. Our efforts and investments to address these challenges are efforts and investment in addressing the SDGs.
As our global markets begin to embrace the SDGs, it will be important for Australian farmers and exporters to demonstrate their SDG credentials. It is crucial that the Australian agriculture sector embraces this discussion. How the goals are translated into action by governments, business and industry will affect our sector. Action needs to be responsible, realistic and relevant to the Australian context, our production systems and supply chains.
Here at NFF, our view is that farmers need to be part of the discussion on sustainable agriculture and food production, and not have others have that discussion for us. For this reason, we are a supporting partner of Sustainable Development Goals Australia 2016 - SDGA16.
Presentations and key note speakers from leaders from business, industry, civil society groups, academia and the agriculture sector are all part of a busy program for SDGA 2016.
SDGA 2016 will be held at Sydney University on the 29 and 30th November. For more details about the conference, visit the SDGA 2016 website and book your seat today!
Sources and further reading: