TANYA PLIBERSEK: 'Australia isn't doing its fair share to tackle poverty'.

The Millennium Development Goals, Bono, Make Poverty History, remember that?

Fifteen years ago it all seemed so uplifting and ambitious.

So what have we achieved globally, and what comes next?

This week in New York leaders from around the world will meet at a special session of the United Nations to take the next step to tackle global poverty.

The Millennium Development Goals that were agreed 15 years ago run out in December this year and the next round of 17 new global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be presented to the UN this week.

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The current Millennium Development Goals. Image via United Nations.

The SDGs will commit the international community to redouble efforts over the next 15 years to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect the environment and address climate change.

And it’s more important than ever that Australia does its fair share.

Goals and targets work. They focus your effort. You know what you are aiming for and you can measure your progress. You are accountable to yourself and others. Most importantly, when you meet your targets you can set new, more ambitious targets.

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Tanya Plibersek: “It’s more important than ever that Australia does its fair share.” Image via Getty.

In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals set ambitious global targets to end extreme poverty, send more kids to school, improve gender equality, improve maternal health and reduce child mortality, stop the spread of diseases, and provide better protection for the environment and natural resources in developing countries.

Have the Millennium Development Goals worked?

Yes and no. Not every target has been met, but we’ve done a lot better than we would have without this global agreement.

The number of people around the world living in extreme poverty has dropped by about one billion.

Equality for women and girls in education has improved, with many more girls now in school, and there are more women in parliament in just about every country.

The rate of children dying before their fifth birthday has more than halved and maternal mortality has almost halved.

Over 6 million people were saved from dying from malaria, and about 37 million people were saved from dying from tuberculosis.

Next week, world leaders will come together to launch the sustainable development goals in New York. Image via Facebook/United Nations.

Around the world, developed countries invested more in aid, which has grown globally by 66 per cent since 2000, reaching a total of $135.2 billion in 2014.

When Labor was in Government we almost doubled Australia’s aid program to $5.7 billion annually. Sadly the Abbott/Turnbull Government has since cut over $11 billion from the aid program, the largest ever cuts.

But we’ve got more to do. Around 800 million people still live in extreme poverty. 60 million kids are still missing out on school education. Water scarcity is increasing; carbon pollution is increasingly affecting our health and environment.

I am fortunate enough to be in New York during this historic meeting of the UN, making it clear that Labor supports Australia and the world lifting our sights, to take on more ambitious goals for global development.

A more prosperous, fair and sustainable world is good for everyone. Australian should step up to do its fair share.

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