6.2 Global Programs
In 1997- 98, the objectives of sub- program 6.2 were to:
This sub- program is delivered by the Pacific, Africa and International Division and the Asia and Corporate Division. They work with multilateral agencies, regional, non- government and research organisations and the private sector to deliver high- quality programs aimed at reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development. They work with relevant organisations to pursue necessary reforms and adopt policies to achieve this goal and partner agencies to provide effective food aid and assistance to alleviate the suffering of refugees and victims of disaster. They also support relevant research on development issues and promote understanding in Australia of the aid program and development issues.
In 1997- 98, the Agency indicated that it would evaluate its performance using:
During the review period, the aid program responded to a range of emergency and humanitarian situations and provided assistance to alleviate the suffering of refugees and disaster victims. The El Niño phenomenon and the East Asian economic crisis significantly affected the region and consequently, the aid program. The Humanitarian Relief Section of AusAID also continued its work in assisting refugees and displaced people, and supporting demining, food security (particularly by providing food aid), and disaster preparedness. Additional funding was received and used to provide assistance to Papua New Guinea ($ 17.8 million) and Indonesia ($ 7 million) because the drought generated additional humanitarian needs. Total humanitarian relief amounted to $105 million.
The Australian Government contributed a total of $30 million in response to the drought in Papua New Guinea. Through the aid program, Australias humanitarian relief ($ 21 million of total $30 million) assisted more than 100 000 people living in remote areas affected by the severe drought in Papua New Guinea. Australia was the lead donor in this relief operation and worked closely with the PNG Government to coordinate the drought response. The Australian Defence Force, along with the PNG Defence Force, assisted in distributing relief supplies.
The Australian aid program provided $4.1 million to NGOs and international agencies for emergency assistance in Irian Jaya, including $2.1 million from the humanitarian relief program. This assistance augmented the joint AusAID- ADF mission, Operation AUSINDO JAYA, which transported over 360 tonnes of relief supplies to 90 000 victims of prolonged drought in the Jayawijaya district.
The aid program provided support for the security, health and rehabilitation of refugee populations, internally displaced people and other vulnerable groups. Australia provided core contributions to international organisations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and specific projects funded, including in Ethiopia, Sudan, Cambodia, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Through the aid program, Australia continued to support demining and related activities, strengthening the physical and technological capacities of indigenous organisations involved in landmine awareness, clearance and victim treatment programs in Cambodia, Laos, Mozambique, Angola and Afghanistan. Progress was made in freeing designated areas of landmines, for example 37 114 square metres (16 per cent of the designated minefield) were cleared in Cambodia enabling resettlement of 202 families. Also Australian support helped to produce approximately 400 lower limb prostheses per month in Angola.
In addition, AusAID provided support to the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Kathy Sullivan, in her role as Australias Special Representative for Demining. The role of Special Representative enables Australia to provide high- level participation in international forums; emphasises Australias commitment to a coordinated approach to demining operations; and stresses the importance of assisting individual countries develop and undertake their own demining activities.
Technical and financial support for disaster preparedness programs strengthened disaster response capabilities in the Pacific. As part of this process, AusAID commissioned a review in April to consolidate and enhance its disaster management activities. The review recommended that AusAID take a more structured approach to assistance with disaster preparedness.
Australias agreed commitment to the Food Aid Convention provided almost 300 000 tonnes of food aid; this improved food security in targeted vulnerable populations. For example, $5 million was allocated to the famine in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea providing over 200 000 people with basic food rations for 12 months. Further assistance of $0.5 million for nutritional and medical activities also was provided to the DPRK through UNICEF.
A review of Australias contribution to the emergency and relief activities of the World Food Programme was completed; it concluded the arrangements to deliver this food aid through the WFP are efficient and effective. Australia (represented by an AusAID officer) was re- elected to the Executive Board of the WFP in 1998. This membership allows AusAID to contribute to a range of important issues including policy reviews, improved quality assurance and long- term financing arrangements.
Non Government Organisation Program
NGOs are an important delivery mechanism for the aid program and play an integral role in promoting sustainable development in partner countries, as well as promoting understanding of development issues within the Australian community. Australia provided $32.1 million in assistance through the NGO program during the review period.
The new accreditation process for NGOs and other outcomes of the reform process, initiated in 1996- 97, were consolidated. All NGOs wishing to access aid program funds are now subject to a complete organisational review by the Committee for Development Cooperation, a joint AusAIDNGO committee. This process increases accountability and ensures that accredited NGOs have a professional and effective approach to development activities. Forty- one NGOs were reviewed.
AusAID produced the NGO Package of Information; it provides information on the AusAIDNGO relationship, tax deductibility, aid program funding and NGO schemes and activities. It is available in hard copy and on the Internet (http://www.ausaid.gov.au); this improves its accessibility to NGOs and members of the public.
Multilateral Development Banks
Aid program assistance to multilateral development banks (MDBs) totalled $230.7 million. The aid program supported the MDB policies, particularly those focused on poverty alleviation and sustainable development. AusAID actively participated in policy dialogue with the banks and continually monitored important bank programs and activities.
Australia, through the aid program, continued to encourage administrative reform of the MDBs. Australia sought to influence MDB policies through actively participating on MDB executive boards. Australia holds one of the 12 Board of Director positions at the ADB and is presently one of the Alternate Executive Directors at the World Bank, through Australias constituency arrangements. AusAID provided support and briefings for these directors, helping Australia to pursue its interests in the banks reform efforts and policy and program directions. Australia engaged the MDBs in policy dialogue on key issues such as the East Asian economic crisis to ensure that Australias priorities were reflected in MDB policy and program development.
Progress was made in developing a Multilateral Assessment Framework to pilot in the next review period; it will provide a framework for collecting key performance information so multilateral agencies can be systematically assessed. Key aspects of multilateral agency operations will be their complementarity to Australian aid objectives and their relative efficiency and effectiveness in achieving program aims.
A review of the evaluation capacities of multilateral organisations was completed. It concluded the World Bank and ADB conduct effective evaluations and report accurately on their own performance. It recommends that the Australian representatives on the governing bodies of both banks continue to encourage improvements in their monitoring and evaluation systems.
Australia, represented by AusAID, participated in the twelfth replenishment negotiations of the International Development Association (IDA 12), the World Banks concessional lending arm. It ensured Australian priorities were considered in setting directions for the IDA. AusAIDs involvement in policy dialogue, for example on the East Asian economic crisis, also continued to ensure that Australias priorities were reflected in the banks policies and program development.
International Environment Programs
Sustainable development and poverty alleviation are often closely linked to environment protection, and most environmental issues are international as national borders cannot contain them. Australia contributed $13.6 million to international environment programs.
Australia, in concert with other donor agencies, continued to support management reform of the UN Environment Program. AusAID successfully advocated, in coordination with Environment Australia and DFAT, the development of performance indicators for UNEP programs; these should improve the efficiency of the organisation.
AusAID, in collaboration with other Australian government departments, continued to monitor the priorities of international environment programs to assess how they accorded with those of the Australian aid program and to promote the effective use of Australian funds. Australias support for regularly monitoring and reviewing the operations of the Global Environment Facility has helped ensure that the GEF remains an effective, efficient agency. Australia committed $43.27 million to the second replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF2). AusAID also participated in the key policy forums of the GEF the GEF Assembly and GEF Council. Through these meetings Australia participated in GEF decision making and ensured the GEF was responsive to Australias priorities in the international environment arena. AusAID represented the Australian Government on the GEF Council.
During the review period, the Australian aid program contributed $66.9 million to UN agencies. The United Nations plays an integral role in promoting poverty alleviation and sustainable development globally. Australia continued to support administrative reform of the UN system through policy dialogue, participation in reviews and development of performance indicators for individual agencies and programs. The reform process will strengthen and streamline the UN system and, in turn, improve the quality of the development cooperation programs delivered.
Australia worked with Western European and Other Group partners to advance the SecretaryGenerals development reforms by participating in Executive Board meetings for the UN Development Programme/ UN Population Fund, UN Childrens Fund, and in the Economic and Social Council and the UN General Assembly.
AusAID provided briefings for Australian ministers and the Parliamentary Secretary on key UN reform issues. This allowed ministers to advance the UN reform process with the Executive Director of UNICEF during her visit to Australia. Meetings between the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and senior UN personnel in New York also focused on reform issues. The results of the reform process included establishing a UN Development Group, UN Development Assistance Frameworks, and common premises for agencies in developing countries. AusAID was actively involved in advancing these proposals in the United Nations. UN agency effectiveness and efficiency also will be assessed using the Multilateral Assessment Framework.
Good progress was achieved in increasing the United Nations focus on development priorities which accord with those of Australia, thus promoting the effective use of Australian funds. Development activities focused more on poverty reduction, good governance, gender equality, post- conflict rehabilitation and environmental protection. Through policy dialogue and representations, Australia encouraged UNICEF and UNDP to increase their analysis of the development implications of the East Asian economic crisis. Australia (represented by an AusAID officer) was elected to the Vice- Presidency of the UN Development Programme/ UN Population Fund Executive Board; this appointment recognised Australias policy contributions and increased Australias capacity to influence outcomes.
The Australian aid program provided $9.9 million in contributions to Commonwealth development agencies. AusAID continued to pursue improvements in the efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness of the various Commonwealth development agencies, primarily through policy dialogue. Commonwealth agencies receiving aid program funding will be monitored using the Multilateral Assessment Framework.
The Commonwealth Secretariat, after strong encouragement from Australia and other donors, accepted the need for an administrative review which should significantly increase efficiency. Australia also encouraged the Commonwealth to adopt a realistic program of work commensurate with its budget and effectively program and prioritise its development activities. Progress was slow but AusAID continued to pursue these issues with the Commonwealth and other member countries at governing board meetings.
AusAID helped to develop positions and briefing for the Prime Minister and the participating delegation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting. The final CHOGM declaration and Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting communique reflected Australian positions on trade, investment and development and a focused role for the Commonwealth in international economic integration. The Commonwealth accepted an Australian proposal, supported by other donors, to establish a Trade and Investment Access Facility to help countries meet the challenges of globalisation. This facility began operating in 1998.
International Health Programs
Health is a key development issue inextricably linked to poverty alleviation and development. AusAID involvement in key international health agencies, such as WHO and UNFPA, contributed to the development of more effective and responsive programs. AusAID consolidated funding of specific multilateral health activities to facilitate more active engagement and better monitoring. As with other multilateral agencies, international health programs will be reviewed and monitored using the new Multilateral Assessment Framework. International health programs received $9.7 million during the review period.
AusAID played a role in the significant constitutional reform of the WHO through Australias membership of the WHO Executive Board and participation in the World Health Assembly. Australia significantly contributed to a WHO Executive Board decision to allocate, for the first time, WHO resources to countries on the basis of needs- based criteria. The decision followed the publication and promulgation of a study, partly funded by the aid program, on WHO effectiveness at the country level.
Australia, through the aid program, supported implementation of strategies and the monitoring of progress towards the goals of the World Summit for Children and the International Conference on Population and Development. The aid program provided funding to the UN Childrens Fund and UN Population Fund to improve the health, status, and education of young people and women.
The Joint UN Programme on HIV/ AIDS Program Coordinating Board accepted donor positions, shared by Australia, on prioritisation, monitoring and evaluation of UNAIDS activities. The Minister for Health and Family Services, Michael Wooldridge, chaired this meeting.
Development Assistance Committee
AusAID represented Australias interests at meetings of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD. Working with Japan, AusAID successfully increased DAC and donor attention on the developmental effect of the East Asian economic crisis and El Niño. Australia actively contributed to DAC work developing gender guidelines that the DAC high- level meeting in April endorsed. AusAID also was active in discussions in the DAC working party on the financial aspects of development assistance and the issue of untying aid to the least developed countries.
Youth Ambassadors for Development Program
The Prime Minister announced a major new aid initiative, the Youth Ambassadors for Development Program, on 5 May. The $10 million, two- year program aims to employ the skills of young Australians to meet the needs of developing countries in the Asia Pacific region. The program will place approximately 500 young Australians aged 30 years or under, in government, local business, educational and community service organisations in the region.
The Youth Ambassadors for Development Program also will engage private companies, industry organisations, educational institutions and a range of other groups as sources of volunteers and a key means of identifying and supporting suitable placements.
Contractors selected by open tender will deliver most of the services required for the program, from candidate screening and placement control to pre- departure training, in- country monitoring and support. The program management team will be fully operational from July 1998. The first round of applications for participation will be advertised nationally in late August 1998, with a view to having volunteers overseas by early 1999.
AusAID provided advice to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in developing this new volunteer program and prepared relevant speech, briefing and media material for its announcement. AusAID also prepared a management framework for the program and managed the contracting process.
Public Information Activities
In the interests of transparency and accountability, AusAID assists the Government to inform Australians of the aid program and development issues generally. AusAID developed and implemented new public information strategies, partly in response to the report by the Committee of Review, One Clear Objective: Poverty Reduction through Sustainable Development. Furthermore, visits to the global education website launched in October steadily increased from 6 760 hits in January to 25 700 in May. This site also won recognition in the international journal, Sofcom.
AusAID assisted in organising community outreach seminars in all capital cities, as well as Townsville, Cairns and Southport, hosted by the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Kathy Sullivan. The seminars informed local communities about the aid program and businesses on the tender process for aid program contracts, as well as stimulated debate about development issues.
AusAID collaborated with NGOs to conduct public attitude research (focus group discussions and nationwide polling) to provide the basis of an overall communications strategy to promote understanding of the Australian aid program and introduce an annual tracking survey.
The Agency developed a media strategy to publicise the appointment of the Parliamentary Secretary as Special Representative for Demining. This involved providing background briefs to journalists and arranging media interviews. AusAIDs public affairs activities also helped achieve positive and widespread media coverage of Australian relief efforts in Papua New Guinea.
The Agency assisted the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary in communicating with the public, both domestically and in partner countries, by providing 24 speeches and 115 press releases. Major speeches are on the AusAID website (http://www.ausaid.gov.au).
A range of research activities relevant to the aid program received funding. AusAIDs approach to research is under review as indicated in the Governments statement on Australias aid program, Better Aid for a Better Future. The new approach will be needs- driven and based on competitive market principles.
The National Centre for Development Studies received funds to co- publish research with the main regional universities; this will expand the publication of research and policy work on the Pacific and Papua New Guinea. Australian aid also funded the biannual journal Asian Pacific Economic Literature, to be provided to 1 200 developing country readers; this will facilitate wider participation in regional development policy debates and policy formulation.
The aid program provided $700 000 through the International Seminar Support Scheme, to enable the attendance of 252 delegates from developing countries and Australian experts, at 48 conferences in Australia and overseas; these conferences focused on key development issues. The quality and timeliness of research commissioned under the AusAID Initiated Research Program was improved.
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