When we look at progress in decentralisation in Papua New Guinea over the last 20 years – the sole continuous and overriding policy priority of successive governments – many challenges remain to improve downstream service delivery. Programming for “social accountability” shifts the focus
For decades, Thailand has served as the primary regional hub for UN agencies and programs, international humanitarian organisations and advocacy groups. In comparison to their neighbors in mainland Southeast Asia, Thai people have enjoyed a relatively open civic environment. Thailand has long been a
Heavy rains from 29 March to 4 April caused floods and landslides in many parts of Timor-Leste, claiming more than 40 lives, displacing thousands of people and destroying critical infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Dili, the capital, has been the worst affected, as more than 12 hours of
“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” – this recognition was a central focus of the 1996 World Food Summit. Today, Covid-
Joe Biden has taken the mantle of US president at a critical time for international development – amid a resurgence in poverty, increasing geopolitical contestation, rapid technological and environmental change, and of course Covid-19. The immediate priorities of the new administration will
Pacific nations have mostly escaped the heavy death toll and hospital bed shortages faced by Western countries battling Covid-19, but the pandemic has dealt a disproportionately severe blow to the region’s economic ambitions. But with the rollout of vaccines and economic recovery in sight in China
In January, the Chinese government released its third white paper on foreign aid, entitled “China’s International Development Cooperation in the New Era”. It is worth taking a closer look at the Chinese-language original, which is more detailed in content than the English-language version
Past global economic downturns have usually had a knock-on effect for military budgets, resulting in lower defence spending. After the global financial crisis led to the contraction of the world GDP in 2009, global military spending only recovered in 2015. With the World Bank predicting that the
The horror year that has been 2020 is thankfully coming to an end with a dose of welcome optimism, now that vaccines are on the way. But the end is still far from within sight for many of Australia’s Pacific island neighbours.
In a new Lowy Institute policy brief, we argue that the Pacific is
Jim Wolfensohn, an Australian-turned-American who became president of the World Bank in 1995, was a mercurial character. His struggle to tackle the challenges of global development, relying on the weak reed of the World Bank, is a classic story of the heroic individual challenging global forces.&
The recent move to cut billions of pounds from the United Kingdom’s foreign aid budget was long feared by advocates. As result, one minister has flagged her resignation, and others have made threats to cross the floor.
The reduction of the UK’s aid spend from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national
In this feature, we identify ten recurring propositions about the rules-based order and show it's evolution through national debate and government policy. Explore how the rules-based order has developed over time and in meaning with experts offering inside commentary along the way
In 1918 and 1919, the influenza pandemic swept across the world and killed millions. The Pacific suffered disproportionately high mortality. While around 3% of the world’s population died of influenza, mortality reached 22% in some Pacific nations, such as Samoa.
Pacific islanders are generally
It’s been a few years since my once-regular annual budget analysis for the foreign affairs, defence and trade portfolio. But of course, this is not just any budget.
This is a big-spending budget to address the most significant national and international crisis of a century. Before the
The Maseratis are still collecting dust in sheds on a wharf in Port Moresby, but the sun has started to shine on at least one of the major deals Papua New Guinea gained from hosting the APEC Leaders Summit back in 2018.
The PNG Electrification Partnership committed the leaders of Japan, the United
A crowd of young Timorese standing in front of the Portuguese Embassy in Dili has become a familiar sight in recent years. They are hoping to acquire a Portuguese passport, which represents an opportunity for a shot at a better future in Europe. But why are these young people so eager to leave their
Each year, more than US $2 billion of foreign aid is invested in the Pacific Islands region, equivalent to roughly 8% of the region’s GDP. This aid comes in the form of thousands of projects from more than 60 donors. Information about these projects is often messy and opaque, with public
The creation of the Office of Development Effectiveness was announced in Foreign Minister Alexander Downer’s 2006 Aid White Paper. It symbolised the hope and mood of the time: more aid, better aid. Its job was, and remained, to lead on evaluation within the Australian aid program – to assess the
Arguably the greatest, most visible and most impactful legacy of the British Raj in India is the train network that criss-crosses the country. So it perhaps comes as little surprise that India’s favourite regional friend is shoring up their relationship by investing heavily in, yes, more trains
The liberal order faces its greatest crisis since the end of the Cold War. Liberalism is in retreat around the world. The United States is led by a president whose America-first realpolitik contradicts the very idea of rules-based governance. Europe has seen the rise of “illiberal democracies”.
The UK government's ‘Integrated Review of foreign policy, defence, security and development’, announced in February 2020, has been described as the largest foreign-policy review since the Cold War. The UK Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee is inquiring into the FCO’s contribution
When you have the privilege of working in international relations, there are some experiences that stay with you for life. There are the places you go and the people you meet. Conversations that start at the roundtable, continue into dinner, and often go late into the night. At airports and hotels,
Australia plans to spend a lot more on defence to confront what Prime Minister Scott Morrison says will be “a post-COVID world that is poorer, that is more dangerous, and that is more disorderly”. A chorus of voices have responded that Australian foreign policy risks becoming unbalanced, with
With European leaders having just spent five days in close-contact negotiations in Brussels and now Australia’s first offshore ministerial visit for almost five months to Washington, a post-Covid diplomatic agenda is tentatively taking shape.
Just what Covid 19 might
The global economic recession triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic will have acute repercussions for the youth of today – both now and for their inheritance. The International Labour Organization recently warned the economic crisis is hitting younger people “harder and faster than any other group
Rated as the country with the highest disaster risk worldwide, Vanuatu is no stranger to severe tropical cyclones. When Tropical Cyclone Pam struck the country in 2015, it affected around 166,000 people and left a trail of destruction.
Similarly, Tropical Cyclone Harold, a category 5 cyclone that
On Saturday last week, following weeks of lobbying by humanitarian agencies and difficult diplomatic negotiations, the UN Security Council renewed its authorisation for the UN and its partners to provide humanitarian assistance in north-western Syria from across the Turkish border. The final
States have many tools at their disposal to gain influence and project power. Some opt for pressure, coercion or force. Others seek to build closer people-to-people relationships that offer reciprocal benefits and greater cooperation.
Falling somewhere between these two options is “
Covid-19 and the significant changes it presents are forcing new ways of working, including for humanitarian responders. In Indonesia, the government response to the crisis has been criticised internally and internationally as slow and lacking transparency. Senior government figures downplayed the
In March, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a global ceasefire, urging solidarity against the common threat posed by Covid-19 and stating that the “only war we should be waging is the war against Covid-19”. But while we are all focusing on this new “war”, actual wars are
The power of positive thinking is one of the most underrated factors in development – the idea that success is achievable. Vincent Cable looks to escape the negative narratives on aid and to focus on the good it does – an important reminder nowadays, when the urge to slash aid budgets arises
The Covid-19 pandemic means that more low- and middle-income economies are more reliant on multilateral development banks. Despite the media focus on “mask diplomacy” (or the lack of it) from individual countries, most notably China, development bank lending has been the largest external source
China’s role in the outbreak of the biggest pandemic since 1918 – both in terms of how it started and how China managed its response – has come into global focus. China is sharing what it has learned and assisting other countries to manage their own response. Its actions are being met with
22 April marked the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. While Bill McKibben reminds us of the origins of the celebration, Richard Deverell argues that this year’s event could signal a turning point where we stop taking the planet for granted.New research by Sonia Bhalotra et. al shows that reserving
Of all the regions in the world, the twin health and economic crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have the potential to hit the Pacific the hardest.
Pacific Island nations supported Australia during our bushfire crisis, sending members of their defence forces and making donations to communities
The first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded in China starting in December last year. We watched on with growing alarm, but thought that it wouldn’t happen here.
The second wave has been unfolding from mid-February onwards in the rich countries of the world (as well as Iran). Some have
With confirmed Covid-19 cases now well past the million mark, most of the world is looking inward. Many countries feel overwhelmed by their local fight against the virus. But while some countries are just coping, others face a choice between stopping the pandemic or a famine. Most likely they will
Six locations across the Pacific Islands region now have confirmed cases of Covid-19. Many of these countries are already ravaged with major diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, diabetes, and occasionally even polio. So Pacific politicians are all too conscious of the potential of any