Australia Ahead of the Curve: An agenda for international development to 2025 – What is it all about and how can you be involved?

Alice Ridge

29 Sep, 2016

If you had an idea that would fundamentally change the way we do development for the better, what would it be?

Maybe you’d like to see Australian NGOs cede power to local actors and take up a role more closely aligned to social movements. Or you could look for new ways of working in partnership – through innovative and modern co-working arrangements, or partnerships with other development actors like the private sector or diaspora communities.

Perhaps you would protect the official aid budget by shifting the narrative away from a false dichotomy that says charity begins at home, to one that recognises aid as contributing to our own national interest – or maybe you think it’s dangerous to conflate our own interest with our responsibility to help others.

All these ideas – and more – have come through the think-pieces ACFID has already received through Australia Ahead of the Curve: An agenda for international development to 2025, which we’ll be profiling on the ACFID Blog over the coming weeks.

What is Australia Ahead of the Curve?

Over the past few months, ACFID has been collecting think-pieces on Australia’s future development agenda. We’ve been calling for bold ideas on the future of development – on the purpose of Australia’s official aid program, the role of Australian civil society and local development actors, and the new partnerships and ways of working that all actors can pursue to best respond to the challenges facing the world today.

These ideas take the form of think-pieces exploring the question: What should Australia’s role be in assisting developing countries and responding to global development challenges to 2025 and beyond?

The pieces we’ve received so far are already available on the ACFID website. We’ll be profiling some of the ideas we’ve received in a publication for our National Conference in October and through a special series on the ACFID blog.  Beyond Conference, we’ll continue the conversation with ACFID members, the government and other stakeholders with a final publication in 2017.

Why are we talking about a future development agenda now?

Australia’s international development sector is at a watershed moment.

We’ve reached the lowest level of Federal Government aid funding ever, at time when global need is growing. Global trends like the rise of Southern donors and local actors are challenging the business models of Australian NGOs. And, new international agreements like the 2030 Agenda will require all actors to think differently about the way we do development into the future.

Yet Australian aid and development assistance is rarely the focus of national policy debate or public discussion, despite being an enduring and important part of our international engagement.

Australia Ahead of the Curve hopes to provide a platform for this timely conversation and to stimulate broader, deeper and longer-term thinking about Australian aid and development assistance.

How can you be involved?

Over the next 6 months we’re keen to continue to share ideas widely, engage critically to unpack and understand key assumptions and contextual changes that influence development actors of all kinds, and to update our vision and agenda for development’s forward trajectory.

That means we’re still accepting think-pieces through December 2016.

We’ve already begun publishing think-pieces on the ACFID website, but your opportunity to contribute hasn’t passed! We’re still keen to hear fresh voices on what Australia’s international development agenda should focus on to 2025.  Likewise, we will continue to reach out to thought-leaders and opinion makers to widen the scope of our consideration.

If you haven’t yet contributed now is the time. Your contribution can come in the standard think-piece style between 500-2500 words, or shorter, more focused opinion style pieces of 800-1200 words.

If you’d like to contribute, please read the author’s brief for more information. We encourage you to get in touch before you start writing and share your thoughts with us. Please contact Alice Ridge on [email protected] or call +61 2 62819223.


  • Alice Ridge
    Alice Ridge

    Alice is the Policy and Advocacy Advisor at ACFID, and leads on ACFID’s work in the areas of gender equality and SDGs. Alice studied International Politics and Philosophy at Melbourne University, where she was involved with the environmental activist movement. Alice writes in her spare time and has been published in a number of online feminist journals.

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