This week Prime Minister Gillard spoke to the United Nations General Assembly on the topic of 'Practical Progress towards realising those ideals in the world'.
She had this to say about the Millennium Development Goals, and Australia's commitment to contributing to the global community:
The UN articulates humanity’s highest ideals; but more, the UN makes practical progress towards realising those ideals in the world.
There is no better example of this than the Millennium Development Goals.
Specific, measurable targets of the highest human importance – goals now familiar to us all.
Twelve years on from 2000, three years out from 2015, the progress we have made must be just as familiar.
The global economy has grown – hundreds of millions of people have lifted themselves up.
And that first, fundamental Goal – to halve the proportion of the world’s population living in extreme poverty – is now achieved.
One billion human lives transformed.
A decade ago 100 million children did not get to go to school.
This number has been reduced by fully one third.
33 million human futures entirely remade.
But we must all acknowledge that there are vital areas where the international community is failing to achieve change.
This is why I accepted the Secretary-General’s invitation to co-chair the Millennium Development Goal Advocacy Group alongside Rwanda: to advocate for practical progress in the coming three years.
Where the world has fallen short of ambitious goals, our response must be action, not disillusion.
This is what Australia will do. We will act.
We will help improve education.
Australia’s development spending on education has doubled in the past five years – we will be among the world’s largest education donors by 2015.
I am especially pleased to join as an “education champion” in support of the Secretary-General’s Education First initiative to mobilise global support to help achieve education for all children by 2015.
I am honoured to lend it Australia’s support.
We will help increase gender equality.
I was proud to announce at the Pacific Islands Forum last month that Australia will work alongside our partners in the Pacific on an unprecedented gender initiative:
Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development.
Australia will provide $320 million over 10 years: to support women’s political participation, to expand women’s leadership, to spread economic and social opportunities in the Pacific.
This is a principle underpinning every Australian aid intervention and initiative: empowering women and girls.
We will help fight drug resistant malaria.
The Secretary-General has made malaria one of his key priorities for his second term. It is a priority we share.
Since 2000, the world has cut the number of deaths from malaria by 26 per cent.
Without these advances, 330 000 more people would have died of malaria last year – the great majority in Africa.
But malaria itself is fighting back – now, drug resistance in malaria must be overcome.
Later this year, Australia will hold Malaria 2012, bringing together political leaders, civil society and the private sector to accelerate efforts to control and eliminate malaria and combat growing drug resistance.
While we are working hard to realize the MDGs in the next three years, Australia is looking further ahead.
2015 is a goal but it is not a destination – rather it must be a new point of departure for much new work.
Australia pledges to contribute to the important work of the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Australia brings considerable national experience in working with conflict-affected states and least developed countries – especially in our own region.
And we will seek to apply what we have learned in our work since 2000 to the world’s plans for beyond 2015.
First, that peace is an essential foundation to development – and building peace is vital to the progress of societies recovering from conflict.
Peacekeepers today must be peacebuilders – not just stopping conflict but enabling development.
Second, that there can be no poverty alleviation without the creation of wealth and jobs.
Growth alone is never sufficient – but to achieve development in the interests of all people we must create jobs and wealth.
Third, that we cannot make poverty history until we also consign to history the argument that environmental protection and human development are conflicting global goals.
Climate change threatens the secure food supply which guarantees development – new clean sources of energy deliver a new source of economic growth.
Image of The General Assembly, United Nations by Rob Young