Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer June 14, 2012
Australia will back a push at next week's UN environment summit in Brazil for a new set of green measures to replace the millennium development goals (MDGs).
The MDGs were born in 2000, when almost 200 nations pledged to a global partnership to cut poverty, improve health and education and set targets with a deadline of 2015.
Work is under way to find a new set of goals to replace the MDGs.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who will attend the three-day UN summit in Rio de Janeiro starting next Wednesday, will back a proposal driven by central American nations for "sustainable development goals" (SDGs) to replace the MDGs, a senior government spokesman said today.
They would be negotiated to start post-2015 and cover such areas as the economy, environment, social needs, ocean and land management, health, education and poverty eradication.
The current draft text of the document, which world leaders will be asked to endorse at the end of the summit, includes the idea of SDGs.
"SDGs should be action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national ... policies and priorities," the draft text says.
The spokesman said the concept of the SDGs had "reasonable support", but there was no guarantee they would be endorsed.
Australian Conservation Foundation chief Don Henry told AAP today the SDG plan had been talked about for more than a year but there were some "difficult issues" to address between developed and developing nations.
Dr Henry said rather than settle on a list of goals it was more likely there would be an agreement on further talks over the next three years.
"We would like them to hurry up. It's quite important for global well-being and the environment that there is a better effort to strive for sustainability and goals like this can assist."
Ms Gillard also will use the summit to call for a focus on the "green" and "blue" economies.
She will argue that policies protecting oceans, such as the marine park plan announced today by Environment Minister Tony Burke, can deliver environmental as well as social and economic benefits.
Ms Gillard will also host the launch of an indigenous land and sea managers network, to share skills and knowledge from indigenous people across many countries.
Dr Henry said that rather than wait 10 years between environment summits there should be a commitment to meet annually, as the G20 leaders do.
"Any modern forward-looking country needs to be looking at ways to increase productivity but at the same time decrease environmental impact and improve well-being," he said.
"We are not expecting miracles but we are expecting progress."