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The SDSN Regional Center for Australia/Pacific, hosted by Monash University, held its first major event on May 13 and 14 with a workshop on “What Sustainable Development Goals mean for Australia”. The workshop brought together over 90 leaders from business, government, civil society, and academia to develop a vision for what a sustainable Australia looks like within the regional and global contexts and discuss how we might get there.

The workshop was chaired by Sir Bob Watson, former Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and currently the UK’s negotiator on the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. Guided by Sir Watson, participants examined key challenges to Australia’s sustainability and potential goals in a variety of areas including cities, environment, social inclusion, health, indigenous communities, energy, food, water, and resources. The workshop drew upon the recent Sustainable Australia Report 2013 from the National Sustainability Council chaired by Leadership Council member John Thwaites. An outcome of the workshop was the need to explore these issues further, and many participants have committed to be involved in the development of issues papers over the coming months.

This workshop is the first in a series of workshops in Australia and the region over the next three years as part of the Sustainable Development Goals <-> Sustainable Development Solutions initiative of the SDSN Australia/Pacific Regional Center. The initiative aims to build Australian and regional leadership in the development of the SDGs and the solutions for implementing them. The next workshop is planned to be held in Malaysia in November 2013.