BCSD Australia will again be providing to its members an analysis of the Budget Statements (Government and Opposition), benchmarked against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular the Indicators, to ascertain whether there is any focus addressing them in our national budgetary process.
Why? Already, a number of countries have announced in their voluntary national reviews (VNRs) their intention to use the SDGs in their budgetary processes. And while SDG budgeting is still in its infancy, it can provide a guide to rebuilding our economies in a resilient and sustainable way, focusing on creating good lives on a healthy planet for all people.
On the issue of the Budget responding to the SDGs or a Green Economic Recovery plan, beyond the fact that SDG alignment is “the right thing to do” over the coming decade, our federal, state, territory and local governments have much to gain from accelerating action across the scope of environmental, social and economic indicators.
Why? Here are 4 reasons:
· The SDGs provide a strategic framework for streamlining planning and policy review.
· SDG-aligned action will improve health, wellbeing and the economy across a national level, minimising healthcare costs.
· the SDGs can help governments foster productive, mutually-beneficial partnerships with each other, NGOs, charities, businesses and other stakeholders.
· SDG alignment is also the natural next step towards a national energy & climate long term plan. All State and Territory Governments have set net-zero targets that are more ambitious than the national mandate.
What can be done to achieve SDG alignment?
· The federal government could conduct materiality assessments to identify priority SDGs before developing initial plans to ensure they deliver the maximum positive impact for minimal cost.
· This activity should be followed up with work to accelerate engagement and forge partnerships, plus a costed and time-bound schedule of implementation and monitoring.
· Once committed to SDG alignment, the government could then report annually, in line with the Budget, on progress.
· Advocate for other organisations (business, sub-national governments, NGOs) to follow suit.
Such steps would help identify opportunities and challenges, boost transparency and drive wider progress. But we have yet to see Australian policymakers use the SDGs, either as political objectives and / or indicator-based instruments.
Click here to access our 2021 – 2022 Budget and SDG Report.