Development assistance in Tokelau
Overview of Australia's aid program to Tokelau
- 2020-21 bilateral allocation [budget estimate]
- $0.4 million
- 2020-21 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
- $0.4 million
- 2019-20 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
- $1.8 million
* COVID-19 Development Response Plans are forthcoming and will be published on this page. Australia’s development efforts are set out in Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response.
Australian development cooperation to Tokelau aligns closely with the Joint Commitment for Development between New Zealand and Tokelau. Australia has directed the majority of its aid to the Tokelau International Trust Fund. The fund was established to provide Tokelau with an independent source of revenue and support long-term economic stability and financial security. Australia has contributed $10.6 million to the Fund since 2004.
Through a delegated cooperation arrangement, Australia works with New Zealand on improving early childhood education in Tokelau. Coordinated assistance reduces the administrative cost on the Tokelauan Government and enhances the efficiency of our development cooperation.
Tokelau's population of 1,499 people (2016 census) is spread across three low-lying coral atolls (Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo), which have a combined land area of 12 square kilometres. Tokelau's small size and geographic isolation present challenges for economic growth and development. With no air links, Tokelau is one of the most remote places on Earth, accessible only by passenger ferry or cargo boat. Leaving from Samoa, the journey covers 500 kilometres and takes about 24 hours in good weather. These challenges make it difficult for people to access work abroad and increase the cost of imported goods and services.
Australia has worked with New Zealand through its delegated cooperation arrangement with Tokelau to:
- provided commission high-quality school resources in the Tokelauan language, improving Tokelauan literacy scores at the Year 4 and 6 levels
- supported capacity building for women leaders through a national summit in Tokelau
- funded the construction of playgrounds to encourage active lifestyles.
These activities have had a particular focus on support for women and children.
Outside the delegated cooperation arrangement, Australia has supported good governance in Tokelau, including capacity-building from the Australian Electoral Commission to Tokelau’s electoral office and supply of support materials for the recent election. Female Tokelau representatives attended the Pacific Women in Power Forum in Brisbane in 2019.