Policy Updates

Each week, Donor Tracker's team of country-based experts bring you the most important policy and funding news across issue areas in the form of Policy Updates.

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Lowy Institute’s latest 'Aid Map' shows reduction in total ODA flows to Southeast Asia

June 17, 2024 | Australia, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On June 17, 2024, the second edition of the Australian Lowy Institute's 'aid map' documents showed overall ODA flows to Southeast Asia from all sources declined to US$26 billion in 2022, following a reduction in COVID-19 related support.

Some traditional donors, including Australia, showed a small decline in ODA transfers. Substantial reductions appeared in flows from China and the ADB.

Southeast Asia also saw a significant decline in climate-oriented development finance. Lowy indicated that climate finance had declined by 15% over the previous year.

The map covered financial flows by 107 development partners to 120,000 projects.

Report - Lowy Institute

Australia commits additional US$6 million million to humanitarian relief in Gaza

June 12, 2024 | Australia, Nutritious Food Systems | Share this update

On June 12, 2024, Australian Minister for Youth Dr. Anne Aly announced that Australia would provide an additional AUD10 million (US$6 million) for humanitarian relief in Gaza to address urgent needs through the WFP.

Aly represented Australia at Jordan's Gaza conference in Amman, organized by Jordan, Egypt, and the UN.

Aly was born in Egypt and is the first Australian female federal parliamentarian of Islamic faith. Before entering Parliament, Aly worked as a lecturer, professor, and counter-terrorism expert.

Press release - Minister for Foreign Affairs

Australian national re-elected to UN committee on the elimination of discrimination against women

June 8, 2024 | Australia, Gender Equality | Share this update

On June 8, 2024, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong announced that Australian national Natasha Stott Despoja was re-elected to the 23-person UN committee monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Stott Despoja was previously Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls as well as an Australian senator. She was reappointed to the committee in her personal capacity, and will commence her second term on January 1, 2025.

Press release - Australian Foreign Affairs Minister

Australia announces additional US$21 million in humanitarian, energy assistance to Ukraine

May 31, 2024 | Australia | Share this update

On May 31, 2024, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong announced a new funding package, totaling AUD20 million (US$13 million), to provide humanitarian and energy assistance for Ukrainians.

Ukraine had requested a direct shipment of coal to bolster its energy sector, however, Australia preferred to provide more flexible assistance through the Ukraine Energy Support Fund. The fund was jointly established by Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy and the EU.

An additional AUD10 million (US$7 million) is slated to be provided for access to shelter, food, and water through the UNOCHA.

Funds will also be provided through the UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This aimed to improve services for Ukrainian people with disabilities.

Press release - Minister for Foreign Affairs

Australia to provide increased assistance to Bangladesh to assist status promotion efforts

May 21, 2024 | Australia, Education | Share this update

On May 21, 2024, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, while visiting Bangladesh, indicated that Australia will provide more funding to help Bangladesh align its labor laws and other areas that would assist Bangladesh’s proposed graduation from LDC status.

Australia is also slated to provide more assistance for colleges providing technical education training.

Wong also traveled to Cox’s Bazaar, a Rohingya refugee area. She noted Australia had provided AUD860 million (US$571 million) over six years to assist with the Rohingya crisis.

The News, Bangladesh

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

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