The department worked to strengthen global growth and alleviate poverty through our engagement with multilateral development partners.

We leveraged their expertise, scale and geographic reach to deliver outcomes that Australia could not achieve alone. We used our strong links with these organisations to ensure advancement of Australia’s priorities, including gender equality, effective governance and economic growth in the Indo–Pacific region.

We helped negotiate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including those reporting mechanisms agreed to date. Our aid investments in women’s empowerment, food security, health, education, water and sanitation, aid for trade, governance and climate change all advance the Agenda.

We provided $222 million to the World Bank Group (WBG)’s International Development Association. This helped the WBG provide financial services to 3.66 million individuals and enterprises, as well as access to an improved water source for 15.6 million people and sanitation facilities for 10 million people. We provided $185.8 million in co-financing to the WBG’s private and public sector projects.

Our $124.9 million core contribution to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Asian Development Fund helped provide better access to finance for over 2.8 million people and education facilities for over six million students in 2015. We also provided approximately $59.7 million to co-finance ADB infrastructure, health, education and other projects.

Together with Treasury, the department secured Australia’s formal membership of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which will finance infrastructure investments in the region and boost economic growth, employment and trade. We ensured establishment of sound AIIB governance arrangements and operational policies and, alongside the Treasury, supported the legislative and other processes to finalise domestic arrangements for Australia’s membership.

Through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria ($200 million; 2014–16) and Gavi, the vaccine alliance ($250 million; 2016–20), we helped bolster regional health security. For every dollar Australia committed to the Global Fund, the fund invested around $20 in the Indo–Pacific region. Through our investment in these global partnerships, we have enabled them to use their sizeable market share to negotiate better health commodity prices for developing countries (including for vaccines and bed nets)—an outcome no bilateral actor could achieve on their own.

We supported regional economic growth and productivity by increasing access to better education through our $140 million commitment (2015–18) to the Global Partnership for Education.

Australia’s Green Climate Fund (GCF) ($200 million; 2014–18) and Global Environment Facility ($93 million; 2014–18) contributions assisted developing countries address climate change. A departmental deputy secretary was elected co-chair of the GCF Board for 2016 and is a leading advocate for the Indo–Pacific region, in particular for Pacific Island countries.

The department partnered with other donors to promote stability and prosperity in our region. For example, the European Union invested in an Australian-managed education program in Laos and we partnered with Germany to improve climate finance in the Pacific. Through the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), we contributed to the agreed principles on supporting private sector development through official development assistance, helping to attract additional finance for developing countries and promote aid program innovation. Australia joined a consensus in the DAC to agree to updated rules on what kind of peace and security activities can be counted as official development assistance to improve the transparency and consistency of global reporting.


Delivering an innovative aid program, centred on the
Indo–Pacific region, which contributes to sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction and regional stability

Replenishment of the Asian Development Fund

Case Study
Minister for International Development and the Pacific Concetta Fierravanti-Wells meeting the President of the Asian Development Bank in Frankfurt. [BUSINESSPHOTO/Dirk Beichert]
Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells (left) meets with President of the Asian Development Bank, Takehiko Nakao, ADB Annual Meeting, Frankfurt, Germany, 2 May 2016. [BUSINESSPHOTO/Dirk Beichert]

Replenishment of the Asian Development Fund

In 2015–16, the department led negotiations on the 2017–20 replenishment of the ADB Asian Development Fund (ADF), enabling us to advance Australia’s aid priorities and secure continued financial and technical assistance to the poorest countries in our region.

Our work helped to secure donor pledges of over US$3 billion to the ADF replenishment, improved ADB operations and effectiveness and delivered increased funding for the Pacific. Australia’s $468.54 million contribution maintains our standing as the second largest donor after Japan.

Our advocacy helped deliver ADF priorities mirroring Australia’s interests, particularly in private sector development, women’s empowerment, infrastructure, building resilience and effective governance. Conflict-affected countries and those at risk of debt distress will continue receiving ADF grant funding while base grant allocations for small Pacific countries will double to US$6 million. Pacific countries will also be able to access funding and expertise from a new US$200 million disaster risk reduction facility.

Pacific countries particularly welcomed the department’s advocacy in the ADB. The region will benefit from ADB improvements to project preparation and delivery, including streamlined procurement processes and increased in-country project oversight, through extended missions in Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

We supported the merger of the ADB’s concessional and market based lending arms. This will increase the ADB’s total annual lending and grant approval capacity from US$16.3 billion in 2015 to US$20 billion by 2020, and increase development finance for the Indo–Pacific region.

Building personal networks and institutional links to enhance Australia’s influence, reputation and relationships internationally and promote Australia’s economic, cultural, educational, scientific and other national assets

Strengthening the Green Climate Fund to benefit our region

Case Study
Deputy Secretary Ewen McDonald speaking at the Green Climate Fund Board Meeting in Songdo. [GREEN CLIMATE FUND]
Deputy Secretary and Green Climate Fund Co-Chair, Ewen McDonald (left), with South African GCF Co-Chair, Zaheer Fakir, speaking at 13th GCF Board Meeting, Songdo, Republic of Korea, 28–30 June 2016. [GREEN CLIMATE FUND]

Strengthening the Green Climate Fund to benefit our region

Australia has committed $200 million over four years to the GCF to help developing countries build climate resilience and reduce emissions. This assists developing countries pursue sustainable development pathways for economic growth and contributes to regional stability. It also helps Australia meet commitments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

As co-chair of the GCF Board for 2016, Deputy Secretary Ewen McDonald, supported by a dedicated taskforce, developed strong relationships with the GCF developing country co-chair (South Africa) and the GCF Board and Secretariat. Our efforts to shape the fund’s forward agenda, develop robust policies and procedures, build board cohesion and strengthen the secretariat have been recognised by board members and have enhanced the GCF’s governance and effectiveness.

The department is working to ensure our region, particularly Pacific countries, secures a credible share of the US$2.5 billion GCF spending target for 2016. Our strong advocacy for Pacific countries led to the approval of two Pacific proposals—a US$31 million water project in Fiji and a US$36 million coastal protection project in Tuvalu.

Australia has formed a partnership with Germany, providing $2.3 million to help build the capacity of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to support member countries to access climate finance, including GCF resources. Pacific countries welcomed Australia’s advocacy and efforts to galvanise the preparation of Pacific proposals for GCF funding.

To further increase our region’s access to GCF funding, the department is leveraging existing partnerships with the World Bank, ADB, and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and building new networks with civil society and business. We are working with these stakeholders to develop a pipeline of high-quality projects for the first Pacific GCF board meeting to be co-hosted by Samoa and Australia in December 2016.

Our GCF work demonstrates that a coordinated approach and a dedicated focus on the Pacific can build strong partnerships to achieve shared regional goals. Through our role in the GCF, we have strengthened Australia’s influence in delivering climate finance for the Pacific.

Analysis and outlook

Global development needs have increased and will likely be further amplified in the years ahead by slow global economic growth, falling commodity prices and weak demand, as well as forced displacement and humanitarian issues arising from protracted conflict in Syria. At the same time, many donors are facing budgetary pressures. Our multilateral partners are adopting innovative approaches, including actions to optimise their balance sheets to enhance the amount of finance available for lending, more efficient and targeted assistance, and intensified efforts to catalyse private sector sources of development finance.

The department will continue to support these efforts. We will also pursue close alignment between their priorities and our aid policy objectives with a particular focus on effective engagement and project delivery in the Indo–Pacific region.

The department will press for value for money and impact from the global health, education and climate funds. We will use our board positions to advocate the unique needs of our region, including reducing drug-resistant tuberculosis and malaria in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea, and climate change adaptation in vulnerable Pacific countries.

Pressure on aid budgets will require better coordination with both traditional and emerging economy donors. The department will also need to ensure the OECD Development Assistance Committee and the Global Partnership on Effective Development Cooperation play their part in ensuring global aid expenditure is measured consistently and spent effectively.

Giving effect to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development remains a priority. We will support our developing country partners as they establish plans to deliver on their 2030 Agenda priorities. We will also implement sound processes to monitor and measure Australia’s progress against the Sustainable Development Goals.

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