Welcome Step on Regional Road to COVID-19 Recovery

06 Oct, 2020

Australia’s peak-body for international development NGOs – the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) – has welcomed new, additional investments in tackling COVID-19 in the region as part of Australia’s international development program.  

ACFID CEO, Marc Purcell, said:

“This is a promising budget to help tackle the profound health, social and economic costs of COVID-19 in our region. We welcome the more ambitious path the Government has set out.

“We are rightfully investing an additional $304.7m in the Pacific and Timor-Leste to help ward-off the worst social and economic costs of COVID-19. We also welcome the investments in regional vaccine procurement and health security.

“Australia’s recovery is linked to the region’s and Asia needs to know that we are with them. We are looking to the Government to continue on this path, lock-in these temporary increases and expand our development cooperation in Asia as part of the May 2021 budget.

“We are deeply disappointed by the declines in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, as well as reductions in some global humanitarian partnerships and disability programs.

“The COVID-19 Recovery Fund is a welcome one-off investment at this time of crisis. But we continue to hold the view that Australia’s overall Official Development Assistance budget should increase so we can maintain the hard-won development gains which are now at risk due to the pandemic.”

ENDS

Further Information

In 2020/21, Official Development Assistance (ODA) as a proportion of our Gross National Income (GNI) is 0.21%.

The newly announced COVID-19 Recovery Fund, worth $304.7m for the Pacific and Timor-Leste over two years, is not counted as ODA by the Australian Government. ACFID has not included it as part of its calculations either. 

The total nominal value of the ODA budget has declined from $4.044bn (2019-20) to $4.0bn (2020-21). However, due to the lower GNI this year, the ODA/GNI ratio remains at 0.21% (the same as 2019-20), despite previous predictions of a further decline.

The ODA/GNI ratio remains the internationally recognised measure of a nation’s generosity for development assistance.

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