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Realising the potential of the post-2015 development agenda for Indigenous health

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To the Editor: The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of 2000 included three health-related goals: reduce child mortality (goal 4), improve maternal health (goal 5) and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases (goal 6). Like many other high-income nations, Australia did not consider its national health priorities subject to the MDG framework. In 2005, the then Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma observed that the Australian Government had committed to eradicate poverty through the MDGs “in third world countries by 2015, but has no similar plans to do so in relation to the extreme marginalisation experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians”.1 In response to the Close the Gap campaign launched in 2007, the government has addressed the health inequalities experienced by Indigenous Australians (with mixed progress reported), and introduced the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023.2

Global debate around the new post-2015 development goals, which will replace the MDGs when they expire in December 2015, is presently underway, with the intergovernmental Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals providing its initial report on the potential goal framework in July 2014 (

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