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Development assistance in the Republic of the Marshall Islands

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Australia's aid program to the Republic of the Marshall Islands

2021-22 bilateral allocation [budget estimate] for North Pacific
$5.0 million
2021-22 total Australian ODA [budget estimate] for North Pacific
$11.1 million
2019-20 total Australian ODA [budget estimate] to North Pacific
$8.4 million

Australia's aid program in the North Pacific focusses on the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the Republic of Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia. The Australian Government will provide an estimated $8.4 million in Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the North Pacific in 2019-20. This will include an estimated $5.0 million in bilateral funding.

Australia's regional programs complement its bilateral programs across the Pacific. Our regional programs include those that assist the Republic of the Marshall Islands manage their fisheries (through the Forum Fisheries Agency), mitigate the impacts of severe climate, tidal and oceanographic events (through the Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific), and strengthen governance and accountability (through the Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration, the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre and the Pacific Regional Audit Initiative).

Australia's bilateral aid investments in the Republic of the Marshall Islands support the following objectives:

Objective 1: Increasing access to clean water and sanitation

Australia is working with the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Asian Development Bank to establish an integrated water supply and sanitation system on the island of Ebeye. With a land area of 32 square kilometres and a population of 15,000 people – half of whom are under fifteen years of age – Ebeye is fifth most densely population island on earth. Overcrowding has stretched deteriorating infrastructure, challenged service delivery, and in combination has undermined health and education. Our work in securing water supply and sanitation services is an important investment in improving health, social and economic outcomes for Ebeye residents. Australia's contribution is valued at USD4 million over six years to 31 December 2021.

Objective 2: Achieving gender equality and enhancing women's empowerment

Australia is working to address gender equality in Republic of the Marshall Islands by funding priority activities under the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Republic of the Marshall Islands Country Plan. This is part of the Australian Government's Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development initiative that commits $320 million over 10 years to improve political, economic and social opportunities of Pacific women. The country plan aims to strengthen civil society action for gender equality, reduce the incidence of gender-based violence, and expand support services including establishing a domestic violence counselling service. A key implementing partner is the non-government organisation WUTMI (Women United Together Marshall Islands).

Our results

Australia's aid program has:

  • installed a new salt-water reverse osmosis plant and built and commissioned salt water wells under the Ebeye Water Supply and Sanitation Project;
  • provided emergency assistance in response to drought conditions in 2016 and 2017, including mobilization of water, reverse osmosis units, soap and hygiene kits to remote atolls;
  • educated 8,500 children in 50 schools and communities in RMI (and the Federated States of Micronesia) about climate change mitigation and disaster risk management (2012-2016); and
  • enabled 11 women and men gain tertiary qualifications linked to RMI's development priorities since 2012 – a further 8 are continuing their studies in Australian or regional universities (with 2 more joining them in 2018).

Our changing program

Our aid program in the Marshall Islands will continue to address two broad domains - building resilience and enhancing human development – by increasing access to clean water and sanitation for residents on Ebeye, and enhancing gender equality. However, we will complement this activity by bolstering our support to the education bureaucracy in the Marshall Islands to assist with the implementation of the multi-country Improving the Quality of Basic Education Project.

Our aid program in the Republic of the Marshall Islands reflects the principles and values of Australia's Foreign Policy White Paper and aid policy Australian aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability, and aligns with the Government of Republic of the Marshall Islands' development priorities.

Placing a high value on results, we will work with trusted partners to ensure development resources are effectively managed. We will also seek to mainstream climate action and disaster resilience, effectively address gender issues, and ensure people with disabilities participate in, and benefit from, our aid program.

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