By Anna Donaldson, Gemma Muir and Judy Phuong; Committee Chairs for the High Level Youth Summit on the Millennium Development Goals at World Model United Nations 2013
As young students passionate about poverty eradication, sustainability and global justice, the opportunity to participate in global decision making processes around development issues, and the chance to have our voices heard and taken seriously on the world stage, is usually nothing more than a distant dream.
MDG committee members Joel Afi Duah, Committee co-chair Anna Donalson, Purity Mwangi and Baraka Millinga at WorldMUN 2013 in Melbourne. Photo: AusAID
Yet at the recent High Level Youth Summit on the Millennium Development Goals at the World Model United Nations, this dream became a reality for us and for the 20 youth delegates who travelled to Melbourne from around the world to participate in the week-long conference.During the week, we worked to develop the global youth’s perspective on the most appropriate framework to replace the MDGs after their expiry in 2015. TheDeclaration that we unanimously passed aims to articulate this youth vision to the world leaders negotiating the post-2015 framework. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (UNESCAP) Donald Clarke has offered to facilitate the Declaration being heard and shared further within the UN system.
A year ago today, we also launched the Engage blog. Engage is a space for conversation about Australia’s aid program.
In just 12 months, the blog has published views from a diverse range of domestic and
international development experts, sharing their experience and analysis of emerging trends and world events as they impact the aid program.
By Barbara Ratusznik, Public Diplomacy Officer, Pacific Division, AusAID
There is no doubting the diversity of the Pacific region. Environments, languages, cultures, challenges and opportunities all vary hugely from country to country. In the same stretch of ocean, you have Papua New Guinea with a population of 6.9 million people using over 850 languages, and Tokelau which has a total land area of just 12km² and a population of only 1,151.
A community member in Vanuatu looking after a turtle. Photo: Wan Smolbag
This diversity extends below the surface into the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific islands lie in an area of ocean covering one-seventh of the globe’s surface, boasting one of the most dynamic marine ecosystems in the world. Six out of the seven different types of sea turtle on the planet can be found here. But numbers of these grandfathers of the sea have been rapidly declining for some time. Every one of the species is now endangered.
To promote discussion and inform the design of the evaluation, ODE commissioned five think pieces on issues around the achievement of Millennium Development Goal 3 – promoting gender equality and empowering women.
International Women's Day 2011 Honiara, Solomon Islands (photo by Jeremy Miler)
Given that freedom from violence is so important to women’s empowerment, it is perhaps surprising that the MDG goal doesn’t incorporate an indicator that tells us whether gender violence is increasing or decreasing. In her piece, Dr Christine Bradley argues that robust data on violence against women is the fuel for advocacy and for action, yet finds we are missing the vital statistics that tell us about the scope and impact of the problem. Violence, especially between intimate partners, is notoriously under reported in police and hospital figures. Methods for measuring violence against women at national level were simply not well enough developed at the time the goals were being written. Instead, MDG 3 focuses on achieving education parity between boys and girls and increasing the number of women in waged employment and elected to formal decision making bodies.
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd with the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran, visiting Dolo, Somalia.
Australia’s aid program is an integral part of our broader foreign and security policy objectives and priorities. The fundamental purpose of Australian aid is to help people overcome poverty.
Australia gives aid because it is unacceptable that across the world:
1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty
7 million children die every year from preventable causes; and
67 million kids, including 35 million girls, do not receive basic primary-level education
Eradicating extreme poverty around the world by promoting economic growth, prosperity and stability is in Australia’s national interest.
This new AusAID blog is yet another way we will be communicating the results of Australia’s new aid policy. This blog will be a new platform for discussion on Australia’s aid program and a tool that we can use to show you what we are doing and to explain the ‘why’.