Australian & Guyanese leaders discuss the #SDGs!

Australian & Guyanese leaders discuss the #SDGs!

On 25 September 2015, as world leaders met at the United Nations in New York to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals, a band of young leaders in Melbourne, Australia sat down to share a meal and thought provoking discussions with CLAN's 2015 Australia Awards Fellowship recipients from the University of Guyana: Dr Barbara Reynolds (Deputy Vice Chancellor), Rev Noel Holder (Head, Dept of Public Health) and Ms Brigette Hinds (NGO Chair and Education advocate).

CLAN wishes to sincerely thank our inspirational colleagues from Guyana for taking the time to share with Australia's young leaders. Special thanks to Jacinta Sherlock and Jade Lim for their leadership around this event. As well as tweeting live on the night they have also captured their key take away insights from the night in this blog...

Against the backdrop of the formal adoption of the sustainable development goals, emerging youth advocates and international leaders converged on the actionable goals youth summit dinner. United by a passion of equality and a dream to see every human being reach their own potential, a lively discussion ensued. Youth advocates sought to better understand  the challenges, opportunities and solutions for global development beyond 2015 faced by our local, and global community

As youth and emerging professionals in the healthcare field  - why do we care about what we do, why are the Sustainable Development Goals important and why do we do what we do?

We reflected upon these questions throughout the evening, considering our own experiences in health, development and leadership. We all had our own unique responses, however at the heart of all our responses was caring beyond the physical; beyond the diagnosis of a disease. As a community of youth leaders in health, we all have a shared vision of opportunity and equality for every human being regardless of culture, gender or geographical location. 

As human beings the fundamentals of who we are relate to our core values, and  how we relate these values to health and prosperity. Every occupation or trade requires health, active engaged citizens require health and wellbeing, and sustained economic development requires a healthy population. We believe that a core tenet of sustainable development, is health, and that we as  future health professionals and global citizens must act to ensure health for all. 

As youth leaders what do we see as the challenges ahead to achieving sustainable development?

Ascertaining the right mix of leadership will allow the health community to present ed health services which are centred on the patient and community, and including patient education of the healthcare system . We believe an essential component to ensuring effective sustainable development lies within community culture and healthcare. This must include the on-going  engagement and consultation of local communities in the decision making process.

Where the gaps  remain, identifying the need and wanting to do things differently, and in consultation with the affected communities or individuals should be the first step in developing a community's health system. Idealistically living in a global world with global goals we should be able to learn from each other, transfer knowledge, share strategies that work and the lessons of what doesn’t work.  If we start with improving livelihoods through healthcare we will see communities and individuals thrive above the potential of the sustainable development goals.

The Millennium Development Goals operated in silos and vertical programs. The SDGs will require a crossover of programs, and government sectors.We must look towards horizontal programs, multi-sectoral dialogue around population well being and bringing health into all policies to reach the SDG’s, and allow our global community to succeed and prosper

As young leaders and emerging professionals, how can we use our leadership skills to fostering accountability in sustainable development?

Leadership requires us to be committed, to have a vision, recognise and understand the issues, know the priorities, and consider how these come together within bigger picture of sustainable development. We must use our voice to shape development, foster cooperation and develop partnerships. To communicate in the language of the people, with our colleagues and ensure no voices are lost and no one gets left behind.

We need to learn how to be leaders who aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd, to use our voice to have the difficult conversations and advocate for the marginalized and global injustice.  We appreciate leadership within global health and sustainable development is a balancing act between the need to be accepted within a workplace and the need to have a bigger picture

As young professionals entering into the Australian healthcare system we are aware. We have the vision where locally the sustainable development goals are become the backbone of  an organisations strategic plan, where everyone within the organisation owns the plan and owns the goals. We believe that it is essential to create a space where specialists can come together, work respectfully and collaboratively. A space where collectively we have a greater appreciation of the costs of delivering health care and a sense of responsibility over this cost.

The summit brought about a real understanding of the disparities within our world, particularly between those from developing countries and the fortunes many of us have here in a developed country. Rather than be disheartened by these gaps, we prefer to see them as a real opportunity to enhance leadership - to observe the problem, to advocate, unify and collaborate – to bring the stakeholders to the table and to advocate – to be part of the community who choose to do something about it. In essence to really care and live as neighbours.

The evening was a striking testimony to the power of unity, collaboration youth empowerment and taking ownership of the goals.  We are incredibly excited about what we can achieve over the next 15 years. Thank you to Dr. Kate Armstrong, for her unwavering dedication to the potential of youth voices and to CLAN and NCD Child for their support of our summit.

Jade Lim and Jacinta Sherlock