Policy Updates

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Australia to host major advocacy event promoting international agricultural researchon in August 2024

May 20, 2024 | Australia, Agriculture, Agricultural R&D, Nutritious Food Systems | Share this update

On May 20, 2024, the Crawford Fund launched the final program for its annual one-day Parliamentary seminar on agricultural research, titled Food and Nutrition Security: transformative partnerships, local leadership and co-design, to be held in Canberra on August 14, 2024.

Dr. Line Gordon, Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and professor of sustainable food systems at Stockholm University, is a keynote speaker at the conference. Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Executive Managing Director of CGIAR will also be speaking on transformational outcomes.

The conference is a hybrid event.

Web Page - The Crawford Fund

Australia reports US$400 million in climate finance in FY2022/23, calls for greater G20 inclusivity

May 20, 2024 | Australia, Climate | Share this update

On May 20, 2024, Australia's DFAT reported that Australia provided a total of AUD619 million (US$400 million) as climate finance in FY2022/23, with nearly half provided to the Pacific Islands region and bilateral programs, including Papua New Guinea, about a quarter provided to Southeast and East Asia, and most remaining funding provided through global program contributions and as core funding for multilateral organizations.

62% of the funding was provided for adaptation, with only 22% for mitigation.

In 2023, Australia contributed AUD100 million (US$65 million) to set up a Pacific Resilience Facility and a further $50 million (US$32 million) was committed to the GCF.

The Australian Institute of International Affairs suggested that Australia should now support efforts in the G20 to have the Pacific Islands Forum added to the G20 guest list of permanent invitees. This would add a strong voice on climate issues affecting the Pacific island states, and would also strengthen calls for easier access to green global funds for the most vulnerable countries.

Government document - Department of Foreign Affairs and TradeNews article - Australian Institute of International Affairs

Australian FY2024/25 ODA budget rises slightly to US$3.2 billion

May 14, 2024 | Australia, Gender Equality, International development, Climate | Share this update

On May 14, 2024, Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered the annual Australian budget, which showed the ODA budget rising slightly to AUD5 billion (US$3.2 billion) for FY2024/25.

0.19% ODA/GNI was expected in 2024. Notably, Australia included the grant element of concessional infrastructure loans in the overall ODA figures for the first time.

Within the ODA program, expenditure on the Pacific was expected to rise to almost 40% of the total ODA budget.

AUD144 million (US$93 million) was estimated to be spent on climate and the environment. A new Climate Resilient Communities Fund in the Pacific is slated to receive AUD100 million (US$65 million) over 3 years. Environment spending included AUD200 million (US$129 million) for a Pacific Resilience Facility over 4 years. An Indonesia Environment Partnership will receive AUD200 million (US$129 million) over 4 years.

The gender equality, inclusion, and disability sectors are estimated to receive AUD102 million (US$66 million), including for implementation of expected new strategies for gender equality, LGBTQI+ rights, and disabilities. This also included funds for an Indo-Pacific Gender Equality Fund and a Southeast Asia-based GBV prevention program.

Press release - DFAT

Tuvalu to receive US$12 million from Australia to extend coastal adaptation project

May 9, 2024 | Australia, Climate, Security policy | Share this update

On May 9, 2024, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced that Australia would provide AUD19 million (US$12 million) to extend the Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project, bringing the total Australian contribution to the project to AUD38 million (US$24 million).

The coastal adaptation project is one aspect of the Falapeli Union. Under this union, Tuvalu and Australia have agreed to an annual pathway for Tuvalu citizens to study, live, and work in Australia in response to climate change. Tuvalu faces climate challenges, with sea level rises likely to affect the whole nation. Increasing cyclonic events and rising sea levels threaten the nine inhabited islands of Tuvalu, which have an average elevation of only 1.83 meters.

In addition to the Australian funding, the project is receiving assistance through the GCF. It was the first project in the Pacific to be awarded assistance through the GCF.

Investments through the project will include improving the national ability to manage coastal protection responses as well as implement physical measures, including seawalls and rock and concrete revetments.

Press release - Foreign Affairs MinisterWeb Page - Green Climate Fund

Australia contributes US$317 million to Asian Development Fund, pushes for procurement reforms

May 3, 2024 | Australia, Education, Gender Equality, International development, Climate | Share this update

On May 3, 2024, Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy announced a pledge of AUD492 million (US$317 million) to the Asian Development Funds’ 14th pledging round, covering the period of 2025–2028.

The low-interest financing arm of the ADB focuses on grants to lower-income countries. Conroy emphasized the value of these grants to regional needs such as climate resilient hospitals and education facilities, as well is improving the systems that run them.

Conroy indicated Australia had worked with representatives from Kiribati and the Cook Islands to ensure that more funding would be received by the Pacific. An increase of over AUD500 million (US$323 million) was expected for the Pacific, compared to the previous replenishment.

Australia has also pursued arrangements to ensure access to finance for people in Afghanistan, Myanmar, and the Rohingya refugee population in Bangladesh, particularly women and girls. Australia urged the ADB and the World Bank to improve their procurement processes by avoiding approving artificially low-priced, poor-quality projects where higher prices were later demanded during implementation. Conroy encouraged tender processes to focus more strongly on quality and value for money and expressed concerned that low bid prices were discouraging a broader range of bidders from seeking work, particularly in the Pacific countries.

Australia is the second-largest contributor to the fund, behind Japan.

Press release - Minister for International Development and the PacificNews article - The Guardian

Australia expands assistance to eliminate malaria in Asia-Pacific

April 25, 2024 | Australia, Global Health R&D, Global Health, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health | Share this update

On April 25, 2024, World Malaria Day, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Penny Wong announced the new range of assistance to support communities and governments in the Southeast Asia-Pacific region to reduce malaria.

A new partnership with PATH is slated to receive AUD8 million (US$5 million). Australia’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and the Burnett Institute will work with PATH to develop new diagnostics for malaria.

In addition, Australia will provide AUD17 million (US$11 million) to continue its partnership with the Medicines for Malaria Venture. The funds will go to the development of new treatments and medicines for malaria suitable for children and for use in pregnancy.

Funding will also be provided to James Cook University in tropical North Queensland to assist Pacific countries to strengthen their control and surveillance of mosquito borne diseases including Zika, dengue and malaria.

Press release - Minister for Foreign Affairs

Australian funds partnership platform to assist sustainable rice project developers

April 13, 2024 | Australia, Climate, Agriculture | Share this update

On April 13, 2024, Australia has announced it will invest a further AUD17 million(US$11 million) to extend the BPP through 2028.

Through the BPP, Australia funded a partnership with organization Gold Standard and the International Rice Research Institute to assist sustainable rice project developers. The hub assisted scaling carbon market access within Vietnam and in global markets. It aims to significantly reduce methane emissions and also to provide possibilities for more income for smallholder farmers.

The BPP promotes development by partnering with academia, not-for-profit organizations and businesses to create jobs and increase incomes. It also aims to empower women.

The four countries covered by the program are Vietnam, Samoa, Sri Lanka, and Fiji.

Web Page - Krishakjagat Web Page - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Australian university expands dengue reduction program

April 8, 2024 | Australia, Global Health, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health | Share this update

On April 8, 2024, it was announced that the World Mosquito Program by Monash University in Victoria, Australia, to defeat dengue fever was successfully extended to Kiribati, Fiji, and Vanuatu following successful trials in Jogjakarta, Indonesia and in Medellín, Colombia.

The World Mosquito Program was funded in part by the Australian government, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other donors. It involves introducing the Wolbachia bacteria to a local mosquito population. The bacteria inhibit the transfer of dengue virus from infected humans to a new host and is believed to provide more resistance to the Zika and Chikungunya viruses. The bacteria will then spread generationally to infect most mosquitoes.

In Southeast Asia, dengue fever particularly affects children and young adults.

Australia also announced that it would provide AUD3 million (US$2 million) in assistance to combat the spread of dengue in Laos.

News article - Cosmos

Australia provides US$30 million for health systems

April 7, 2024 | Australia, Global Health | Share this update

On April 7, 2024, Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong announced AUD45.5 million (US30 million ) for the improvement of health workforce skills and improve disease response and surveillance.

In total, six initiatives were announced to improve health systems in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a focus on disease surveillance and response, including AMR. The initiatives also included a focus on supporting individuals with disabilities.

Providers of the new programs included a range of universities and expert organizations in Australia and abroad. The funding for the initiative was part of the Australian Government’s Partnerships for a Healthy Region initiative.

Press release - Minister for Foreign Affairs

DFAT issues good practice guidelines for gender equality in overseas development investments

March 26, 2024 | Australia, Gender Equality | Share this update

On March 26, 2024, DFAT listed guidance on good practice in assessing the gender equality outcome of activities, including the guideline that all Australian development assistance investments over AUD3 million (US$2 million) have to include a statement of gender equality outcome.

The guidelines use the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee's gender equality policy marker to determine if the investment targets gender equality as a significant or primary objective. Guidance also covered gender mainstreaming, climate change, and disability implications.

The guidelines also included recommendations for drafting and designing for better outcomes from projects in gender equality.

Government document - DFAT

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