Monday, September 24, 2012

Let’s Accelerate the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals

Progress has been made since 2000 when world leaders committed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

More children than ever before are surviving to their fifth birthday and beyond. More women are receiving skilled care during pregnancy and childbirth. An additional 110 million children around the world are now in school. The MDG target on safe drinking water has been achieved.

Much remains to be done, however. I have called on the Australian Government in the past to adopt the United Nations General Assembly international aid target of 0.7% of GDP. The increase would bring us into line with countries like Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark and the Netherlands.

I also think it would help ensure the effectiveness of our aid effort by investing at least 25% of the aid budget in health – including $500 million annually on water, sanitation and hygiene, with half of this amount directed towards sanitation and hygiene, where attention is most needed.

Tax evasion and corruption is a serious impost on aid effectiveness with developing countries losing more than USD $160 billion through multinational corporate tax evasion. Requiring companies to report their revenues, taxes and royalties on a country-by-country basis could help governments of developing countries hold corporations to account. Australia could also consider this reporting for all multinational companies registered in Australia, starting with those operating in extractive industries.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals will help lift the standard of living for people in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, alleviating the grinding poverty and the associated problems that blight our world.


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