Growth in NGO donations by Australians outpaces shrinking development spending by government

Researchers at the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University (ANU) have found that between 2000 and 2018, donations made by Australians to NGOs in the international development space have grown by 32% as a share of gross national income (GNI). This amounts to a 0.037% to 0.049% increase in absolute terms.

The growth in donations by private individuals in Australia contrasts with the 0.01% decrease in foreign assistance by the government over the same period. Development financing by the Australian government now sits at 0.23% of GNI.

Blog post - ANU


2019 G-FINDER report breaks down global funding for neglected disease R&D

G-FINDER, an initiative of Policy Cures Research which reports on global health research and development (R&D), has released its 12th annual report, synthesizing data from 2018. The report's data is based on a yearly survey of major funders and developers in the global health R&D sector.

Central findings of the report include:

  • Funding for tools combatting neglected diseases topped US$4 billion-- the highest on record;
  • Global funding for neglected disease R&D increased by US$290 million in 2018, or 7.9%-- the largest funding increase on record and the first time ever that funding increased for three years consecutively;
  • Despite record growth in other areas, funding for the WHO neglected tropical diseases has barely increased over the last decade;
  • HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB) received over two-thirds of all global funding for neglected disease R&D in 2018 (US$2.8 billion, or 69%); and
  • Despite record investment levels (US$2.6 billion), the public sector's share of total funding fell to its lowest ever, due to strong growth from private sector donors.

2019 Annual Report: Uneven Progress - G-FINDER

Co-founder of NGO fighting international blindness named 2020 Australian of the Year

Australian specialist Dr. James Muecke has been announced as the winner of the prestigious 'Australian of the Year Award'. Muecke co-founded Sight for All, a social impact organization delivering low-cost eye health care research, training, and infrastructure projects in communities around the world. It is involved in Ethiopia, indigenous communities in Australia, and nine Asian countries.

Muecke is currently focusing his efforts on campaigning in Australia to reduce the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, the leading cause of blindness in adults, by reducing sugar consumption.

Award announcement - Australian of the Year

Australia Global health Nutrition

Queensland University fast tracks coronavirus vaccine research with CEPI funding

Researchers at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, are now working on a vaccine for the coronavirus. They hope to develop this vaccine in as little as 16 weeks with the help of new rapid medical response technology and with funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI).

The researchers have been working in partnership with CEPI on medical technology aimed at reducing the time it takes to create vaccines for new viruses. CEPI is also funding innovative work on similar rapid-response technologies with Imperial College in London.

News article - ABC Australia

Australian parliamentarians visit Bangladesh, coinciding with development policy review

Five members of Australia's parliament visited Bangladesh this week to learn about their country's development programs and the impact that Australian development assistance is having on marginalized groups in Bangladesh. This visit coincides with the upcoming review of Australia's international development policy.

Parliamentarians from both major parties visited refugee facilities in Cox's Bazaar- and Gavi-supported women's projects in Dhaka. Senator Kristina Keneally told reporters that the experience made her reflect on how Australia could "do more".

The visits to Bangladesh and other countries in East Asia and the Pacific were facilitated by Save the Children Australia with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

New article - SBS

Australia Agriculture Education

NGOs call for Australian government to increase climate change action

The Australian arms of four major non-governmental organizations (NGOs) World Vision, Plan International, Oxfam, and Save the Children have called on the Australian government to take stronger action on climate change. Their demands include more ambitious emissions reduction targets and greater emphasis on building vulnerable communities' capacity to manage the effects of climate change.

The NGOs emphasized that climate change is a human rights issue, with particularly important implications for the world's most vulnerable people.

News article - SBS

Australia Global health Nutrition

To understand ramifications of potential UK development assistance merger, look to Australia's history, warns former Australian Foreign Affairs Minister

Alexander Downer, former Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, argued against the amalgamation of the Department of International Development (DFID) with the UK Foreign Office, a move currently being considered by UK government officials.  He reccomended that DFID, if placed under the Foreign Secretary, should remain a separate institution.

Downer drew a parallel between the UK's possible restructuring of its development assistance mechanisms and the 2013 merge of Australia's development assistance agency, AusAID, and its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

This move, Downer says, did not improve Australia’s foreign policy or its delivery of development assistance, as proponents claimed it would. Instead, it involved substantial disturbance and the loss of many talented development officials. Downer was Minister for Foreign Affairs for 12 years. In that role, he was responsible for Australia's development assistance program.

Letter to the editor - The Times

Australia United Kingdom

Australia and South Pacific could see dramatic geopolitical fallout from climate change

An article in The Diplomat magazine outlined the dramatic geopolitical implications of climate change for Australia and its neighbors. Low-income countries in the region are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and extreme weather, which pose a threat to their food and water security, as well as to their homes and livelihoods, increasing the possibility of forced migration.

Many of these low-income countries lack the resources and infrastructure to tackle the challenges of climate change alone. Australia has, for a long time, been involved in peacekeeping and development assistance initiatives in the region, but climate change has not been a development policy priority. The article's author joined calls for greater efforts from the Australian government to recognize the scale of the threat posed by climate change and to take bold action to mitigate major geopolitical fallout. Devastating bush fires across the continent have put an international spotlight on Australian government inaction around climate policy.

News article - The Diplomat


Climate change denial may be hindering financing of agricultural adaptation research

Colin Chartres, the head of the Crawford Fund for International Agricultural Research — a leading advocacy group — has expressed concern that climate change denial may be limiting agricultural research funding in Australia. More research is needed to facilitate the necessary climate-related transformation of agriculture and food production, both in Australia and globally. More research is particularly important in the push to improve climate-smart land management practices and to build greater food security in vulnerable low-income countries.

Chartres claims that without adequate funding for research, Australia will miss an opportunity to be a world leader in sustainable agriculture. The country is well-positioned to lead the charge toward low-carbon farming, as methods and technologies developed in Australia could be used in similar semi-arid, humid environments around the world.

News article - Devex

Australia Agriculture Nutrition

Australia partners with 6 East African countries in launch of research program on bean varieties

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has announced a program to improve bean varieties to increase micronutrients and reduce cooking time. Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, and Kenya are partner countries in the program. 

Shorter cooking times can reduce environmental impacts and the adverse health effects of exposure to cooking fire emissions.

Press release - ACIAR

Australia Agriculture Nutrition