Former Australian prime minister highlights Rihanna's support of Global Partnership to Education

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has spoken in an interview with Vogue Australia magazine about popular singer Rihanna's support for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). Gillard chairs the GPE and outlined how Rihanna had come to be an active supporter of global education after they met before the 2016 Global Citizen conference in New York. Rihanna has since travelled to visit projects in Malawi and to support the GPE 2018 replenishment in Dakar.

This article will appear in Vogue Australia’s May 2019 issue, published on April 29, 2019.

Magazine article - Vogue Australia

Australia Education

Australia's sector flows highlight development priorities in the Pacific

Australia's development funding in the Pacific focuses on governance, infrastructure, and transport investments, according to an analysis in the Lowy Interpreter. Health flows in the region are primarily from Australia and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The article provides a useful interactive graphic on the scale and source of sector flows.

Newsletter - The Lowy Interpreter


Australian political parties differ widely on development policies

The global development platforms of the major parties entering the 2019 Australian federal election have been summarized by Eternity News. The Coalition government has not announced Australian development assistance commitments beyond its recent budget for 2019/20, which maintains a A$4 billion cap on development spending.

The Australian Labor Party announced in December 2018 that it would increase Australian assistance as a percentage of gross national income (GNI) every year, with the goal of achieving a funding target of 0.5%. Meanwhile, the Australian Greens aim to increase spending to a minimum of 0.7% of GNI.

News article - Eternity News


Australian prime minister calls for federal election on May 18, 2019

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced Australians will cast their votes for the next federal government on May 18, 2019. Under Australian conventions, a 'caretaker' period is now in place, meaning that the government will therefore avoid  major policy announcements or appointments that would bind the incoming government.

The Liberal National Coalition has been in government since 2013 and has enacted multiple cuts to the foreign assistance budget. The largest single cut in Australia’s development budget history came between fiscal year (FY) 2014/15 and FY2015/16, when it decreased from A$5 billion (US$3.8 billion) to A$4 billion (US$3.1 billion).

News article - The Mandarin


OECD DAC preliminary data release shows ODA down by 2.7% in 2018

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) has published preliminary data for 2018, showing that official development assistance (ODA) fell by 2.7% in 2018. The data release is the first to use the OECD's  new 'grant equivalent' methodology. Applied for the first time in 2018, the method aims to ‘provide a more realistic comparison of the effort involved in providing grants and loans and encourage the provision of grants and highly concessional loans, especially to low-income countries’.

Net ODA from DAC members reached US$153 billion in 2018. The largest donors in absolute amounts were 1) the US (US34.3 billion), Germany (US$25 billion), 3) the UK (US19.4 billion), 4) Japan (US$14.2 billion), and 5) France (US$12.2 billion). In relative terms, the largest donors were Sweden at 1.04% of its gross national income (GNI), Luxembourg (0.98%), Norway (0.94%), Denmark (0.72%) and the UK(0.7%).

For more detailed information on the performance of bilateral donors, see the OECD DAC's detailed summary here.

OECD DAC – Press release “Development aid drops in 2018, especially to neediest countries”

Australian parliamentary report into Australia's Indo-Pacific development program recommends ODA increases

The Australian parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade has released a first report of its inquiry into Australia’s development assistance program in the Indo-Pacific. In the report, it recommends the Australian government change the name of the program from "aid" to “development partnerships” or similar, to emphasize mutual benefits.

The Committee also recommends that the government commit to a set time frame of no more than five years for increasing Australia’s official development assistance to gross national income ratio to at least 0.5%. It also recommends that the Australian government provide additional funding to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to raise awareness of the benefits of development partnerships.

Report - Parliament of Australia


Australian foreign assistance declines as share of federal budget

Following the release of the new federal budget for 2019-2020, the Australian National University showing Development Policy Centre published graphs the continuing decline in Australia’s development spending. Australian official development assistance (ODA) reached its highest level at just above US$3.6 billion (A$5 billion) in 2012-2013. The Policy Centre’s analysis shows there has been a sharp drop since then and Australian ODA has returned to the same level it was a decade ago.

Australian ODA as a percentage of gross national income (GNI) is expected to fall to 0.2% in 2020-2021.

Website - Australian Aid Tracker


Australia to host international disaster risk conference focused on Indo-Pacific

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Maurice Payne announced that Australia will host an international conference next year to enhance government understanding of disaster risks and strengthen the ability to respond to disasters across the Indo-Pacific. The 2020 Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will be held in Brisbane on June 23-26, 2020. According to Payne, in 2018, seven of the 10 countries with the highest disaster-related deaths were in the Indo-Pacific region.

The  conference is for government, business, researchers, and communities to discuss action on reducing the costs of disasters in the region.

Press release - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Australia Global health

Australian development budget for 2019-2020 remains stable despite cuts to Asia programs

Australia's treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, has announced a largely unchanged level of US$2.8 billion (A$4 billion) for the Australian development assistance budget, despite projecting an overall budget surplus. Increased funding for the Pacific and East Timor is offset by reductions to bilateral programs, particularly  in Pakistan, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Laos. Multilateral allocations are largely unchange, while humanitarian funding is increased.

Australia's official development assistance to gross national income ratio is expected to decrease to a record low of 0.21% in the coming fiscal year, which commences in July 2019.

Website - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


ACIAR to host conference on 'Gender Equality Through Agricultural Research for Development'

The Australian Council for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), in conjunction with the University of Canberra, and the global research partnership CGIAR, is holding a conference exploring the importance of gender equality in agricultural research and development policy on April 2 to 4, 2019.

This interdisciplinary conference for researchers and practitioners concerns all fields including food commodity, subsistence sectors, as well as forestry, fisheries, and water management.  The conference is sold out but sessions will be webcast.

Conference details - ACIAR

Broadcast details - ACIAR

Australia Agriculture