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Table 3 Population segments of focus in Australia’s ODA-SDG health and well-being investment efforts

From: Australia’s overseas development aid commitment to health through the sustainable development goals: a multi-stakeholder perspective

Five priority populationsRationale
1. Child health and wellbeing• “The 2030 Agenda presents an opportunity to support the rights and best interests of all children. It is a chance to provide children with the best start in life, and to ensure that they survive and thrive. The 2030 Agenda is a comprehensive and holistic framework that creates a vision for the world where children can live free from violence and abuse and in an environment that supports their healthy development” – UNICEF Australia
• “One practical way that the Australian Government can show leadership on leaving no one behind in the Indo-pacific region is by being an advocate for child protection and the elimination of violence against children” – World Vision Australia
2. Adolescent health• “Current population specific funding mechanisms targeting key affected, vulnerable and marginalised populations still exclude adolescent populations as a demographic priority. Australian ODA should be consolidated to enable an inter-sectoral and multi-component engagement of key SDGs that will harness the opportunities of the triple dividend that benefits during adolescence, across the life course, and into the next generation” – Burnet Institute
• “Adolescence is a pivotal period during which the gains of childhood can either be consolidated or lost. The second decade of life presents an opportunity to build on gains made in childhood and to invest in programmes that contribute to healthy, safe, informed and empowered transitions to adulthood. It can also be a forgotten stage” – UNICEF Australia
3. Persons with disabilities• “Australia has a strong commitment and track record on disability inclusion in the aid program. This is demonstrated by DFAT’s international advocacy for disability inclusive development, the commitments set out in Australia’s Development for All strategy for strengthening disability inclusive development, and reported progress… Recommendation []: Inform all future program investments according to the Office of Development Effectiveness’ strategic evaluation of DFAT’s work promoting disability-inclusive development” - Oxfam Australia
• “Importantly, [the SDG] document references disability 11 times… Given the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) made no reference to persons with disabilities, this is an achievement in itself, presenting a tangible opportunity for the inclusion of people who are blind or vision impaired to be counted” – Vision 2020 Australia
4. Marginalized & poor populations• “The two most frequently-used words in the description of the SDG targets are “for all”. To improve the lives of everyone, care must be taken to ensure those who are most disadvantaged benefit from SDG progress… Australia’s domestic and international policies therefore need to prioritise marginalised and vulnerable groups, including but not limited to women, children, people with a disability, Indigenous people and ethnic and sexual minorities… The principle of leaving no one behind equally applies to Australia’s work overseas” – World Vision Australia
• “Ensure Australia’s approach to implementing the SDGs domestically and through our aid program centres on the commitment to leave no one behind, with concrete strategies to support inclusion of disadvantaged groups in the design, delivery and monitoring/evaluation and reporting on services and programs. This should result in…explicitly targeting the poorest communities and most marginalised groups within the countries where Australian aid is directed to... Although the drivers of inequality are complex and multi-dimensional, evidence shows that it is necessary to focus on the needs of the most disadvantaged populations to reduce inequality… Accordingly, it is important for Australia to make strategic choices about the type of aid it provides in support of poverty reduction and addressing inequality. Priority must be given to investing in human capital as a foundation for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development” – Save the Children
5. Women and girls’ health and wellbeing, and gender empowerment• “It is critical for Australia to support integrated, multi sectoral approaches that empower women and girls and break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. We welcome the Australian Government’s strong commitment towards greater gender equality, as reflected in the goal that 80% of Australia’s development program will address gender issues in implementation” – Save the Children
• “Recommendation []: Australia should retain the 80% gender target, and ensure this target is made more meaningful by:
o Increasing transparency of DFAT’s self-assessment process so that stakeholders understand how programs are being assessed;
o Ensuring all partners, including private sector partners, integrate gender analysis from design through to program evaluation;
o Ensuring DFAT has sufficient technical expertise in gender mainstreaming to accurately assess all programs;
o Increasing financial expenditure on programs where gender equality is the principal objective; and
o Increasing transparency of the financial allocation towards gender equality in programs where gender is a significant objective” – Oxfam Australia