Australia's International Development Assistance Program 2013–14
Australian aid is at the forefront of helping people overcome poverty. In 2000, world leaders agreed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Since then, extreme poverty has fallen in every region of the world and the goal of reducing extreme poverty by half has been met ahead of the 2015 deadline. The world has also met the target of halving the proportion of people without access to improved sources of water and achieving gender parity in primary education enrolments.
Australians should be proud that they have contributed to these results. We will build on these achievements in the knowledge that Australian aid is making a difference around the world and will continue to do so.
Australia's continued commitment to the MDGs has been highlighted on the world stage by Prime Minister Gillard's role as the co-Chair of the UN Secretary-General's MDG Advocacy Group. We are planning how we can build on the successes of the MDGs and create a new agenda to continue our efforts beyond 2015. The international community–including governments, civil society and the private sector–is involved in discussion on how best to tackle poverty reduction. Australia plays an increasingly influential role in international fora including through our seat on the United Nations Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.
In a recent peer review, Australia was commended by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) for its transparent, effective and dynamic approach to development cooperation. Our aid program earned praise for its international leadership in disability-inclusive development and work in fragile and conflict-affected states. The DAC also found that other international donors could learn from many aspects of our aid program, demonstrating how highly regarded our program is among our peers.
Over the next few years, Australia will be in a strong position to influence world thinking on how best to assist developing countries. In 2014, we will hold the G20 Presidency and will host meetings as Chair of the G20 Development Working Group. Through this central position we will drive the development agenda and focus attention on economic growth in developing countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific.
The 2013–14 Budget will see Australia deliver 0.37 per cent of gross national income (GNI) as Official Development Assistance (ODA)–the highest ODA/GNI ratio since 1985. Since 2007 the Government has increased the aid program by around 80 per cent, and demonstrated its commitment to the aid program with steady increases despite tough fiscal environments.
It is important that aid funds are spent wisely and well. Our aid program is heavily scrutinised, and strong performance management mechanisms ensure the effective and efficient delivery of Australian aid. For example, Australia is subject to regular peer reviews by other OECD donors every four to five years. Our Annual Review of Aid Effectiveness reports progress against effectiveness targets, and further monitoring comes via the Independent Evaluation Committee (IEC) which oversees aid program evaluations. Three of the four IEC members are external to Government.
The Australian Government continues to seek ways to enhance effectiveness and value for money in the aid program. As with previous years, Australians can be confident that the aid allocation in this year's Budget will be delivered effectively, efficiently and in the interests of poverty reduction around the globe.
Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs