28 Sep 2015

UNICEF says new UN goals more realistic than MDGs

11:06 am on 28 September 2015

The New Zealand head of the United Nations children's agency UNICEF has batted off criticism of the newly-adopted Sustainable Development Goals.

The United Nations General Assembly celebrate the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The United Nations General Assembly celebrate the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. Photo: United Nations

The ambitious agenda to guide the world's development over the next 15 years was adopted by UN member countries in New York on Friday.

The 17 goals are fleshed out with 169 targets for action that aim to tackle poverty, climate change and inequality for people in all countries.

They replace the eight Millenium Development Goals, which were adopted in 2000, but which have had only limited success, with most Pacific countries failing to meet most goals.

But the executive director of UNICEF New Zealand, Vivien Maidaborn, says the new goals have been designed for developing countries to avoid the failures of the Millenium Goals.

"This is not a simplistic measure of poverty, it's a sophisticated measure, it's systemic. So [developing countries] have argued strongly for this much more comprehensive way of measuring progress."

Vivien Maidaborn says there needs to be the political will and adequate financing to make the new goals work.

"In the Pacific there are some particular challenges; climate change and also violence is really a significant area of non-improvement. You know, there's heaps to do, but you know it's all going to come down to how much governments prioritise it."