The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) warmly welcomes the Australian Foreign Minister’s announcement of a new development policy, which will shape our approach to international development and humanitarian issues in coming years.
Last week Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong gave her maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, in which she stated: “Over the coming months, we are designing a new development policy, outlining how we will play our part in a world in an era of crisis – and how we will help developing countries without driving them into unsustainable debt”.
ACFID and its members welcome this announcement of a new development policy, and will be starting work soon on a pre-submissions process.
Said Marc Purcell, ACFID CEO:
“Poverty alleviation must be central to Australia’s $4.5 billion aid program, and the single most important thing the government can do now is to ensure it is addressed. Countries in our region have suffered massive setbacks in human development and economic growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the past two years.
“The global goal of eliminating extreme poverty on the planet by 2030 now appears an even greater challenge than ever, particularly with famine re-emerging in the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan.
“We are in a more complex geostrategic environment than ever before, which means we need careful consideration of both Australian national interest and the impact of our aid dollars. We want to see strong evidence that our aid expenditure is making real improvements in the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.”
ACFID recommends that the new policy sets a 10-year horizon for Australia’s International Development program and works towards:
- Centering sustainable and inclusive development by tackling the root causes of poverty, inequality and injustice;
- Focusing on locally-led and locally-owned development activities;
- Rebuilding aid management capabilities; and
- Increasing the ODA budget in line with both need and commitments to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
We would also like to see the process include wide consultation with civil society and partners in the Indo Pacific.
“The last development policy Australia had, Partnerships For Recovery, expired in June this year,” said Purcell.
“As the foreign minister said, we are in an era of global crises, and it’s vital to have a strategy that gives shape and structure to our responses.”
Said Jessica Mackenzie, ACFID’s Director of Policy and Advocacy:
“This is a vital opportunity to influence and help formulate a new policy that will shape Australia’s development and humanitarian space going forward.
“Partnerships For Recovery was a fit-for-purpose strategy in response to the onset of the pandemic, but now we have a golden opportunity to be forward-looking about the full slate of challenges we have before us – climate, rising income inequality, political instability, and more.”
ACFID and its members look forward to engaging in this process through written submissions and consultations over the coming six months.
ACFID has published a policy brief setting out its position that development must be at the heart of foreign policy, which can be accessed here.