A radiant planet earth today


It’s never, ever happened before.

All 193 nations of the world have just committed to the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is universal. It is people centred. It is planet sensitive. I feel jubilant.

As we heard from our UN colleagues today, every country – bar none – showed us that multi-lateral diplomacy has prevailed in producing a bold, ambitious and transformative plan for….dare I say it?…. saving the world.  The voices that launched the goals and targets for our world’s sustainable development plan spoke about dignity for all, leaving no-one behind, healing the planet and overcoming poverty.

This is exemplary news for people and our planet. I want to soak it up and make a solid commitment to being a part of making it happen…as an individual, as a part of an organisation that works each day for equality, as a citizen of a nation that needs to do better.

As I listened to the presenters at UN HQ today, I heard the voices of leadership and determination. I heard it was time to reach out and change the way we do business.

The 17 goals and 169 targets might seem a bit mind boggling. The indicators to measure and track our success will be even more numerous. To be honest it seems like a realistic bunch of numbers to deal with planet earth’s survival and dignity. What’s even more mind boggling is that we also need to excel in identifying the 3.5 – 5 trillion dollars each year that will ensure this plan succeeds. Simply, a shift in global economic priorities would actually enable that to occur.

All nations. 193 of us. No more of the us and them or here and there scenarios. We are all accountable. Each and every one of our governments are now accountable and will have to recognise that the policies and decisions that we make here in Australia will be held accountable to a global set of benchmarks for responsible governance and global citizenship. The Summit at UNHQ in September locks it in.

I have not experienced another time in my life where it has been so important to generate and establish respectful, diverse relationships. It has never been so relevant or important to connect the dots between the work that local or national organisations, institutions or companies do with the work that the international organisations, institutions and companies do. As Australians we have a new level of responsibility to make this new politically binding agenda for sustainable development by 2030 succeed – starting from home-base.

Today was deeply moving. It was transcendent. I feel proud to be working for women’s rights and gender equality with the International Women’s Development Agency. I feel proud to be a member of Australia’s Council for International Development. I feel motivated to make every meeting matter; every discussion practical; every new connection strategic.

Australia’s magnificent Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Liz Broderick, began her farewell speaking tour today in Melbourne. Everybody should start their day with the kind of elevation and inspiration Liz’s leadership generates. From so many of her valuable insights the one that resonates most strongly with today’s 2030 vision for me is that “ we do what we can, when we can” and each and every one of these actions and steps leads to faster, deeper and respectful change.

Is it a coincidence that we are also asked today to remember and reflect on the 70 years since the bombing of Hiroshima? Perhaps, perhaps not. The UN also turns 70 this year.

Today, I just don’t care if I sound like a dreamer or an idealist. I don’t care if I’ve simplified my narrative. I just know this is a rare and special moment in my life. This is a truly historic moment. It is the opportunity of our lifetimes – all of us alive today – to get this right. Today is important to respect what we have achieved as a planet and gently know that we are a part of this outcome. Today we are respectful of why the UN matters.

The success for our 2030 vision is the job of leadership in every space and place in which it occurs. If our present leaders are not able to respect or respond to their responsibilities, they are not the right leaders. Let us – for one day – place cynicism and judgement aside and assert that this is a job that must be done. This is why we go to work each day. This is what impels us to think smarter and this is an agenda for change and sustainability that our planet has finally been able to agree upon. Courage.