Correcting the record
Response to article in The Australian on 22 February 2018, "DFAT's Cyclone Pam aid response 'itself a disaster'"
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has a robust and transparent performance system in place to measure the effectiveness of our aid program, to ensure that we are continually improving the way we deliver aid and to give Australians confidence in the way Australian aid is managed. Our system has been recognised as among global best practice.
The Department regularly undertakes aid evaluations, which are published on our website. In 2017 DFAT published 41 evaluations and 25 country performance reports, including the report referred to in the article in The Australian.
Australia has a proud record of responding quickly and generously to disasters in the Pacific. That was again the case in the response to Cyclone Pam.
The Office of Development Effectiveness evaluation found that Australia's immediate response to Cyclone Pam was effective. The evaluation found that the large and fast response was appropriate to the scale of the disaster; humanitarian relief supplies were quickly and efficiently delivered; and the types of assistance provided matched key needs. The evaluation also made recommendations to improve future responses; DFAT's management agreed to all recommendations. Many of the changes recommended were adopted in Australia's response to Cyclone Winston in Fiji and will continue to help us improve our responses to disasters in the future.
Australia has provided a further $35 million to Vanuatu to assist with its long-term recovery needs. Our long-term recovery program was developed in close consultation with the Vanuatu Government. DFAT's most recent Annual Program Performance Report for Vanuatu outlines some of the challenges involved in Australia's assistance to Vanuatu. Increased construction has put pressure on the availability of building materials. In addition, infrastructure works are often in remote locations, presenting challenges for the supply and transport of materials, particularly during the wet season. For these reasons, the project has experienced delays during implementation. Management of this program has been a priority since 2017 when DFAT's performance system identified the program required improvement.