There were few surprises for the Australian aid program in this week’s federal budget, which has disappointingly continued the downward trend of Australian aid spending. At $4.044 billion in 2019, when adjusting for inflation, aid will have now been cut by 27% since its peak in 2013–14.
Diminished and marginalised sums up the way Australia's development assistance program is treated in the Foreign Policy White Paper.
The program represents by far the biggest proportion of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's budget (DFAT's total budget in 2017/2018 is $5.8 billion, of
The OECD Development Assistance Council has refined its definition of ‘official development assistance’ – in other words, what international transfers can and cannot be deemed foreign aid. Refugee-related spending such as on detention centres, border security and returning failed asylum
The Clinton Foundation has been under the microscope over the last few months. Dylan Matthews takes a look at its record and details how it has undoubtedly had an impact in saving millions of live through playing a critical role in pushing down the cost of HIV/AIDS drugs in developing
To mark International Migrants’ Day on December 18 the World Bank released its Migration and Remittances Factbook for 2016 (summary available here). It’s packed full of statistics, and includes one of my favourite graphs exhibiting the importance of remittances as a source of development
MIT and Harvard economists have debunked the claim that aid funded welfare programs in developing countries make people lazy. Vox has a good summary.
Devpolicy has posted the second in a two part series looking at Australian development NGO expenditure, which I have co-authored. In this post we
The Commonwealth has announced its first female secretary-general, Baroness Patricia Scotland. The Baroness’ first task should be to beef up the effectiveness of their aid work as The Commonwealth has routinely ranked as one of the worst performing multilateral donors.
In the first of a two part
Australia is terrible at influencing its aid recipients, according to a massive survey conducted by AidData. Dramatic aid cuts have probably not helped.
Aid investments in governance have been a flagship of Australia’s in the 21st century. Sina Odugbemi from the World Bank asks if the
On Monday, Prime Minister Turnbull unveiled a new cabinet with sweeping changes to the front bench. The most important point for the Pacific is that Julie Bishop retains her position as Foreign Minister, with an improved status in cabinet as one of the kingmakers of the new Government.
Following a community outcry over the plight of asylum seekers in Europe, the Australian Government has announced that it will resettle 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. This will be in addition to the annual refugee and humanitarian intake of 13,750. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the
Of Papua New Guinea's population of about 8 million, 80% are rural villagers who produce most of their own food. This makes them vulnerable to extreme weather events. Reports of severe impact on food crops from the recent frosts and ongoing drought in Papua New Guinea are coming from most areas in
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow.
While it's managing its response to serious economic challenges brought about by a budget deficit and drought, Papua New Guinea is preparing to host the Pacific Islands Forum leaders
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow.
Papua New Guinea has been in the international spotlight a lot in the last month and it has been almost all bad news. Revelations of a record budget deficit, the emerging worrying impact
As part of the 'Sectarianism and Religiously Motivated Violence' Masters course run by the Lowy Institute's Rodger Shanahan at ANU's National Security College, students are asked to write an article on contemporary sectarian conflict. This piece by William Stoltz was judged the best of those
This is part 4 of former Fairfax Media Indonesia correspondent Michael Bachelard's series on Papua. The introduction to the series is here and here are part 1, part 2 and part 3.
'In June last year, seven doctors were sent to this town, but five didn't want to come. In September they tried to
Papua New Guinea will commemorate 40 years of independence from Australia this year. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is using the anniversary to promote the changing nature of Australia's relationship with PNG. In a speech earlier this week she said:
There are challenges and
It is hard to avoid a sense of déjà vu when one looks at Indonesia-Australia relations today. Our fundamental strategic interests mostly converge – from regional and maritime stability to managing China's growing power – even if our policy preferences diverge in various issue areas. And
Papua New Guinea has reacted to Australia's recent decision to establish a diplomatic post in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville by banning Australian travel to the province. This spat is proving to be an irritant not only for the friendly relationship between Canberra and Port Moresby, but also
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Phillipa Brant, Research Associate.
The Pacific Islands region has been spared any serious impact from cuts to the Australian aid program revealed in budget documents released yesterday.
Australia's bilateral program
The deaths of five Afghan staff from Save the Children-Australia in Uruzgan province two weeks ago exemplifies the risks of providing development assistance in fragile states.
Development assistance in conflict situations has drastically increased over the past decade, and that trend is likely
The recent contributions on the 1951 Refugee Convention from Khalid Koser and Jane McAdam are heartening. It is good to read rational and reasoned discussion by two experts on the international refugee regime and the challenges it faces.
If timing is anything to go by, Khalid Koser has hit the
At a time when international cooperation on refugees is most sorely needed, countries are instead resorting to increasing unilateralism. Australia is at the forefront. Retreating inwards by trying to seal off borders to people in search of protection is both unrealistic and unsustainable.
Australia's approach to digital diplomacy is second-rate and entirely inadequate for a nation that sees itself as 'a top 20 country'. Despite an expanded social media presence, Australia continues to lag far behind other countries – large and small – that are investing serious resources into
By Eva Westfield, who was an Australian volunteer based in Port Vila.
Consistently rated the most dangerous countries in the world in terms of disaster risk, Vanuatu is no stranger to the destruction caused by natural hazards.
Talk of Cyclone Pam hitting Vanuatu started about a week before it
Should Australia join the Chinese-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)? As often happens in international affairs, the answer is not found in the technical pros and cons of the proposal, but in the politics.
America seems to have strongly encouraged its close Asian friends (Japan
For many Australians, Laos is a scenic, off-the-beaten path, holiday destination for adventurous travellers.
Relatively few know that it's also a repressive one-party state with a long record of restricting basic rights, and imprisoning or forcibly disappearing critics or citizens who dare to
On 3 March, Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said, 'We must use the celebration of International Women's Day to highlight the plight of women still fighting for freedom and equality, for when that is achieved it will be for the betterment of us all.'
That fight is ongoing in the Asia-
A few months ago I stood on a beach in Tarawa, the most populous of islands comprising the Micronesian nation of Kiribati. It's long and thin sliver of land where you can walk from one side of the island to the other in minutes. It has a population density up to twice that of Sydney or New York, but
The debate about whether Australia should join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has gone beyond the realm of economic development and investment to hit at the core of Australia's apparent security dilemma.
The initial concern revolved around the governance arrangements and whether
In July 2014, Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Chris Baggoley, assured us that the risk of the deadly Ebola virus spreading to Australia from West Africa was very low. At that stage, cases of this most recent outbreak of the disease had been confined to West African countries and in particular
Need an overview of what happened at the UN Climate Summit? Good reporting and pictures from IISD, as well as six takeaways from the other high level meetings that also took place in NYC last week.
There were a string of new announcements from NYC , including:
Australia announced its support for
At the upcoming APEC Summit in Beijing, China is hoping to announce a formal MoU for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Offers to join the Bank have been sent around the region, including to Australia. So should Australia sign on?
Little is publicly known about how the Bank would work
Now that Fiji has held its first elections in eight years, it is time to take stock of the lessons for Australian diplomacy. These lessons should inform Australia's approach to the Pacific island region, including in responses to future political upheaval, which is all but certain to take place.
After eight years of Voreqe Bainimarama's military rule in Fiji, there is much excitement about the prospects for Fiji's return to democracy with elections next week. Seven parties and one independent candidate will contest 50 parliamentary seats. 591,095 Fijians have registered to vote; 120,000
People who laud Tony Abbott's surefooted foreign policy never mention his role in the Pacific islands. It's hardly surprising. Following the precedent set by John Howard, the Prime Minister has not shown much interest in Australia's closest neighbours.
Abbott couldn't even spare a day to attend
This week's selection of news, commentary and analysis from and about the Pacific island region:
Brand new from the Australia-PNG network: PNG links.
Fluctuations in the flow of aid can have extremely disruptive effects on small economies such as Tuvalu.
In Cook Islands, a new report from the
Yesterday's dense fog in Canberra was the perfect backdrop for the launch of Australia's new foreign aid policy by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop at the National Press Club. Just as the fog started to lift, Minister Bishop was attempting to lift the fog on what has been a slow
This week, the Melanesia Program team is in Port Moresby for the 'PNG New Voices' event. So this week's links are focused on PNG.
The Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, in partnership with the PNG National Research Institute, has launched its Australia-PNG network, aimed at fostering people-to-
10 things to know about EU aid. Look out for number 8: five areas where development policy goes beyond aid. (h/t ODI.)
'Leaders fiddle while the world burns'. A candid interview with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Mapping development finance in Africa: the African Development Bank and
Signs of restlessness in the PNG political landscape. A cabinet reshuffle appears imminent, with Ben Micah tipped to become the new deputy prime minister. Meanwhile, four members of the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party have resigned in order to remain in government rather than move to the cross-
Tobias Haque and Doug Porter have worked on Solomon Islands for the past several years. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of their employers .
Jenny Hayward-Jones' recent paper (Australia's Costly Investment in Solomon Islands) suggests
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Philippa Brant, a Lowy Institute research associate.
The Abbott Government last night brought down the first annual aid budget since the integration of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and AusAID
The Abbott Government will next week bring down its first aid budget, a budget which itself will contain two interesting firsts: it is the first since the integration of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) with AusAID, and the first since the transition of the very expensive Regional
The issue of labour migration and seasonal work is back on the agenda of Pacific island governments and donor agencies. Pacific population is increasing by 177,100 each year and at the present rate the region's population will double in the next 36 years.
Disaggregating those statistics makes the
On 5 April, the Solomon Islands was hit by extreme flooding, killing 23 people and leaving an estimated 50,000–60,000 people homeless.
Lowy Institute Melanesia experts Jenny Hayward Jones and Tess Newton-Cain got together earlier this week to discuss the impact of Australia's $3 million
A key facet of the Australian Government's aid and development policy for the Pacific island region is enhancing private sector engagement. However, the detail of this policy has yet to be articulated. The role of the private sector in aid and development is the subject of an ongoing
In what will come as a surprise to many, the OECD's 2013 aid figures reveal that foreign aid (ODA) from governments is actually increasing. This is despite ongoing budgetary constraints in many countries. After two years of decline, foreign aid rose 6.1% in real terms in 2013 to reach its highest
Bad news on global warming last week, with the latest IPCC report concluding that global warming is depleting fresh water and crops, destroying coral reefs and melting the Arctic. See here eight stark graphs from the report . US Secretary of State John Kerry’s response to the report was