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  • 2023 Global Voices fellow

ASDIP: Australia’s Plan to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030

By Callum Noone, Curtin University, UNFCCC, 2023

Executive Summary


Australia committed to achieving the United Nations Agenda 2030 in 2015, including satisfying the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals primarily focus on collective outcomes for people, prosperity and the planet. Australia has made steady progress in achieving the SDGs, however, it is not projected to complete a single SDG in full. Many of Australia’s global partners, such as Finland and Japan, have effectively embedded the SDGs into their national decision-making frameworks, resulting in significant progress in achieving the goals. 


Creating an Australian Sustainable Development Implementation Plan (ASDIP) presents the most effective and viable method to ensure that Australia maximises positive sustainable development outcomes in the lead-up to 2030. The plan will be created and situated within a new sub-secretariat within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), focusing on allocating specific departments with actions to which progress can be tracked by SDG data reporting. The plan's creation will be formulated from the collation of SDG data and through consultation. The plan's creation and maintenance will cost approximately $10 million over five years. Initiatives and programs under the plan may cost approximately $250 million over five years. A possible limitation of an ASDIP is the need to create and roll out the plan within a short period. A major political risk associated with creating and delivering the ASDIP is the political implications if the government does not fully achieve the plan.



Problem Identification

At the halfway point of the Agenda 2023 program, Australia is not on track to complete a single SDG in full (Sachs et al., 2023). Limited progress has been made on 23.6% of the SDG indicators, and 30.6% are trending towards worsening progress (Sachs et al., 2023). Such stagnation is especially apparent in Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, and Goals 13, 14, and 15, which are related to the environment. The negative implications of failing to achieve the SDGs in full are wide-ranging and affect numerous stakeholders directly and indirectly (Leal Filho et al., 2020). Furthermore, SDG stagnation represents a failure to implement policy initiatives that result in more equitable development and positive outcomes for people and the planet (Sachs et al., 2023). The Australian Government does not have an explicit process to reverse the stagnation, with the current SDG structures having existed since the first Voluntary National Review (VNR) in 2018. Such a lack of structure limits the institutional approach the government may apply to revert course, and therefore, without a change in approach, it is unlikely any of the SDGs will be achieved in full. 

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