Australian Government, 2012‑13 Budget

4. Strategic Goals

While Australia's aid is planned and delivered at the country, regional or global level, it is guided by five core strategic goals:

  • saving lives: focusing on health, water and sanitation;
  • opportunities for all: focusing on education, gender equality and disability‑inclusive development;
  • investing in sustainable economic growth, food security and private sector development: focusing on food security, infrastructure and climate change adaptation and mitigation;
  • supporting security, improving governance and strengthening civil society: focusing on economic reform, law and justice and strengthening civil society; and
  • preparing for and responding to humanitarian crises: focusing on emergency response and disaster preparedness.

As outlined in the Helping the World's Poor through Effective Aid: Australia's Comprehensive Aid Policy Framework to 2015-16, expenditure towards the five strategic goals will be determined through an assessment of country and regional priorities based on the following four criteria — poverty, national interest, Australia's capacity to make a difference, and current scale and effectiveness.

In 2012‑13, Australia will increase funding against all of the strategic goals. Much of this growth will occur in education which is the flagship sector of the aid program and is expected to grow to 25 per cent of all aid expenditure by 2015-16.

In November 2011, the Government also released a number of thematic strategies, which outline the main focus and objectives of the aid program in each of the major sectors, including education, health, sustainable economic growth, governance and humanitarian response. The thematic strategies are based on extensive consultation across government and the non-government organisation (NGO) community and identify how results will be achieved. The strategies can be found on the AusAID website at Additional thematic strategies covering private sector development, social protection, climate change and the environment, and mining for development will be developed and published over time.

Diagram 4: Estimated breakdown of Australian ODA by strategic goal from 2010‑11 to 2012‑13*

Diagram 4: Estimated breakdown of Australian ODA by strategic goal from 2010­11 to 2012­13*

* The sectoral break-down above is presented differently to previous Statements, in order to align with the five core strategic goals set out in the new An Effective Aid Program for Australia: Making a real difference — Delivering real results. Changes include: (i) combining the former "climate change & environmental sustainability" and "economic growth" sectors into the strategic goal "sustainable economic development"; (ii) moving "social protection" and "private sector development and trade" expenditure into "sustainable economic development" respectively from the previous "civil society, justice and democracy" and "economic and public sector reform" sectors; (iii) moving "disability" and "empowering women" expenditure from the previous "civil society, justice and democracy" sector into the strategic goal "promoting opportunities for all" where it is combined with "education and scholarships"; (iv) combining the remaining expenditure from the former "civil society, justice and democracy" and "economic and public sector reform" sectors into the strategic goal "effective governance"; and (v) retitling of "health" to "saving lives", "humanitarian, emergency & refugee aid" to "humanitarian and disaster response" and "multi-sector" to "cross cutting".

4.1. Saving Lives

The Australian Government will invest more in saving the lives of people living in developing countries. We will do this by:

  • increasing access to safe water and sanitation;
  • providing greater access to quality maternal and child health services;
  • supporting large scale disease prevention, vaccination and treatment;
  • supporting more medical research; and
  • supporting effective multilateral organisations, such as the United Nations Population Fund.


More than 1.5 million children around the world die each year as a result of diarrhoea. The importance of safe water and basic sanitation has been acknowledged through a specific Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. According to a 2011 United Nations report, while the world has met the MDG target for drinking water, almost 783 million people in the world still do not have access to safe drinking water.159 Access to basic sanitation is even worse, with the world far from meeting the MDG target for sanitation and some 2.5 billion people without access to basic sanitation facilities.

The world's poorest and most vulnerable people bear the greatest burden of disease and ill health. Every year, around 350,000 women die during pregnancy or childbirth and in 2010, 7.6 million children under five years of age died from largely preventable causes (40 per cent in their first month of life). In 2010, 1.8 million people died from HIV-related causes and 655,000 people died from malaria, most of whom were children under five years old. Non‑communicable diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, caused an estimated 29 million deaths in low and middle‑income countries in 2008. Emerging infectious diseases, such as avian influenza, and potential public health emergencies, such as malaria drug resistance in South East Asia, present new threats.

Key achievements to date

With Australian support, achievements in water and sanitation since 2008 have included:

  • in Indonesia, 77,000 households were provided with access to safe piped water and 5,000 households with connections to sewers;
  • in Bangladesh, nearly 100,000 poor rural people have access to safe drinking water through the installation of hand tube wells and piped water schemes and nearly 62,500 households have had hygienic latrines installed; and
  • in Vietnam, an additional 2.5 million people have been provided with access to hygienic water; 756,000 households with access to latrines; and an additional 5,701 schools, 1,676 clinics, 1,961 commune centres and 785 rural market places provided with water supply and sanitation facilities.

In health, Australia has:

  • helped reduce the under-five mortality rate by 67 per cent in East Timor — the biggest reduction in the world between 1990 and 2010;
  • since 2009 in Indonesia, helped train more than 5,000 health workers and volunteers and renovated 24 public birthing wards in one of Indonesia's poorest provinces, East Nusa Tenggara; and
  • since 2007 in Burma, contributed to protecting more than 1.9 million people from malaria with insecticide‑treated bed nets and residual spraying in their houses.

Australia's response

Water and Sanitation

On current projections, it is expected that around $164 million of Australian aid will be spent on water, sanitation and hygiene programs in 2012‑13, or 3 per cent of total ODA.

Water, sanitation and health funding from 2012‑13 to 2015-16 is estimated to be $1 billion. This investment will provide access to safe water to 5.8 million people and access to basic sanitation to 4.6 million people across Asia, Africa and the Pacific. It will contribute up to $9.1 billion to the economic development of these regions based on the World Health Organization estimate that indicates for every dollar invested in water, sanitation and health there is a return of $9.10 to the economy due to income gained and reductions in health expenditure through less diarrheal and other water‑borne illnesses.

This funding will support investments from 2012‑13 to 2015‑16 including:

  • building new household connections to piped water supply systems;
  • increasing the number of households with an improved sanitation facility;
  • providing schools and other community facilities with water, sanitation and hand washing facilities; and
  • running education programs to improve hygiene practices.

Australia will continue to invest in neighbouring countries in East Asia and the Pacific, where there are large gaps in access to clean water and basic sanitation services. We will contribute to an expanding program to support the significant demands for water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa and South Asia, particularly to improve global sanitation by 2015.

Maternal and Child Health, Combating Disease and Other Health Investments

Australia expects to allocate $1.6 billion between 2010 and 2015 to women's and children's health. On current projections, it is expected that around $721 million will be spent on health programs in 2012‑13 (excluding water, sanitation and hygiene promotion) or 15 per cent of total ODA. Australia's ODA investment in health will contribute to improvements in maternal and child health and reduce the impact of major diseases on poor people, including:

  • reduced maternal deaths, through increased access to skilled birth attendants, emergency obstetric care and family planning;
  • reduced child deaths, through increased immunisation coverage, improved nutrition and prevention and treatment of common childhood illnesses;
  • reduced cases of, and deaths from, communicable and non-communicable diseases, through surveillance and prevention of priority diseases; and
  • increased use and improved quality of affordable health services, underpinned by stronger country health systems.

Australia will provide support through multiple channels, with a focus on funding national health systems in Asia and the Pacific. Our bilateral programs will be complemented by support to effective multilateral organisations, such as the GAVI Alliance, which offer financial and technical assistance to developing countries to improve health outcomes. We will continue to support civil society, which has a critical role to play in demanding and delivering quality services.

Case Study: Supporting health services in East Timor

Australia helps the East Timor Ministry of Health deliver community health outreach programs in isolated, rural areas. We support 475 monthly mobile health clinics to travel to 442 villages each month to provide pre and post-natal care for women and babies, immunisation for children, family planning support, treatment and prevention of common diseases and infections, and information on nutrition and hygiene. This is contributing to better community nutrition and higher child immunisation rates. With Australia's support, the child mortality rate reduced by around two-thirds between 1990 and 2010. This was the world's largest percentage decline. Our support has also included training Timorese nurses and midwives, providing overseas scholarships in medicine and health administration, procuring medical equipment, supporting a national health survey and improving the quality of government expenditure.

4.2. Promoting Opportunities for All

The Australian Government will promote opportunities for all in developing countries, including those most marginalised, to escape poverty and provide them with the skills needed to lead productive lives by:

  • giving more children access to school for a longer and better education;
  • empowering women to participate in the economy, leadership and education; and
  • enhancing the lives of people with disabilities, promoting their dignity and wellbeing.


Globally, progress has been made in primary education since 2000, but the Millennium Development Goal of achieving a full course of primary education for all is highly unlikely to be met by 2015. Around the world, at least 67 million children, including 35 million girls, remain out of school. Of these, around 27 million children are in Asia and 560,000 in the Pacific. On current trends, there could be as many as 72 million children out of school in 2015.

The quality of education in developing countries is also a major concern. Around 200 million children in primary school learn so little that they struggle to read basic words. The quality of tertiary education is fundamentally important for development. Poor quality frustrates the role that technical and vocational education and training and higher education should play in driving development and economic growth. Postgraduate tertiary education is generally weak in developing countries as is research capacity. Australian scholarships provide people from developing countries with the skills necessary to help find solutions to challenges around poverty, climate change, governance, health and education.

Equality between men and women supports economic growth and helps reduce poverty. When girls are educated it lowers fertility rates, reduces maternal mortality and improves the health of their children. When both women and men have access to economic opportunities it helps their families prosper and the national economy to grow. While there has been global progress toward gender equality, more work needs to be done. Women and girls comprise the majority of the world's poor. Around 70 per cent of people living on less than $1 a day are women. Women make up just 19 per cent of parliamentarians worldwide. Some 350,000 women die every year while pregnant or giving birth — almost 1,000 every day. One in three women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

New research in the 2011 WHO-World Bank World Report on Disability shows that more than one billion people, or 15 per cent of the world's population, are living with a disability. People with disability are the world's largest and most disadvantaged minority. In education, this results in up to 98 per cent of children with disabilities in developing countries being excluded from school, educational and vocational opportunities. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides the guiding framework for our work on disability and development. Disability is a development issue and because of its strong link to poverty, people with disability in developing countries are more likely to have poorer health, lower education levels and fewer opportunities for economic participation.

Key achievements to date

Australia's development assistance for education, gender equality and disability‑inclusive development is having an impact and has achieved results. For example:

  • in Afghanistan, Australian support contributed to an increase in school enrolments from around one million in 2001 to more than seven million in 2011, including 2.5 million girls;
  • in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Australia helped build 506 new classrooms and 430 other school buildings in 2010, and distributed more than 1.5 million textbooks to over 3,600 schools in 2011;
  • in Indonesia, from 2006 to 2011, Australia helped construct or extend almost 2,100 junior secondary schools creating around 330,000 new school places for children from the poorest families;
  • in PNG, Australia helped boost the number of women village court magistrates from 10 in 2004, to over 700 at the end of 2011, through increased recruitment and training;
  • in Bangladesh, Australian assistance provided a comprehensive support package to 83,000 extremely poor women to develop sustainable income generating enterprises in 2010‑11; and
  • in Vanuatu, Australia supported the Vanuatu Women's Centre, which provides services to address violence against women in four of the six provinces. More than 3,200 clients received counselling and support services in 2011.

Australia's response

Basic Education and Scholarships

Education is the flagship sector of Australia's aid program. Education is a great enabler and the foundation for economic and social development. It enables communities to make decisions about their futures and contributes to good governance and sustainable development. There is a clear link between education and economic growth; both the quantity and quality of average education attainment across a population positively correlate with the economic growth of the country. People with low skills face increased risk of unemployment and skills deficits can be tracked back to education systems.

On current projections, it is expected that around $1.04 billion or 21 per cent of total ODA will be spent on promoting opportunities for all in 2012‑13. Of this, $630 million will be spent on education, or 13 per cent of total ODA. Australia expects to be one of the largest bilateral donors in the education sector by 2015.

Bilaterally, Australia's education assistance focuses on the Pacific and Asia with major education programs in Indonesia, PNG, the Philippines, Pacific island countries, Laos and Bangladesh. Australia will work with multilateral organisations (for example, the World Bank and UNICEF) and non‑government organisations that operate in areas that are consistent with Australian priorities, are effective and deliver value for money. Supporting the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is a strategic priority for Australia's aid program, helping to get children into school in 46 low income countries (27 in sub-Saharan Africa and 11 in Asia and the Pacific). At the replenishment conference in November 2011, Australia pledged $270 million over four years, the second largest pledge for that period, making Australia the fourth largest overall donor to GPE, after the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Spain.

Australia will build on these achievements over the next four years to 2015-16 and continue to contribute to increasing the number of children in school, keeping them there for longer, and helping them to learn more while they are there by:

  • addressing the financial and social barriers to girls' education, including in Afghanistan;
  • supporting school construction in disadvantaged areas in Indonesia, PNG, Nepal, the Philippines and Afghanistan;
  • assisting governments in Indonesia, PNG and the Pacific to target extremely poor families with cash transfers and fee relief to support getting children into school;
  • working with the World Food Programme to support school feeding, which encourages attendance and is crucial for poor children to improve cognition;
  • helping countries to improve the quality of their education provision by providing textbooks, materials and equipment grants to schools, and improving teacher and principal quality through pre-service training and in-service professional development in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Pakistan, PNG and the Philippines;
  • continuing to work with governments in areas such as education policy, planning and budgeting in order to improve education access and quality; and
  • strengthening the pathway between education and employment in the Pacific.

On current projections, we expect to spend around $350 million on scholarship programs in 2012‑13, or 7 per cent of total ODA. Scholarships will increase from 2,082 long and short-term awards offered in 2010 to more than 4,000 long and short-term awards offered annually by 2014. By 2014, we expect that there will be around 6,000 scholars studying in Australia on long and short-term scholarships at any one time.

Gender Equality

The Australian Government has identified gender equality as the key cross-cutting theme of Australia's aid program because it is central to economic and human development, and to supporting women's rights. In 2012‑13, our focus will be in countries with the most severe gender gaps and constraints, mostly in Asia and the Pacific. Australia will support global efforts, including assisting UN Women to meet its international commitments on gender equality. Australia's investment will:

  • reduce maternal deaths through increased access to skilled birth attendants, emergency obstetric care and family planning;
  • increase the number of girls and boys enrolled in school;
  • increase the number of women participating on community management committees;
  • increase the number of women survivors of violence receiving support services such as counselling; and
  • increase the number of vulnerable women, men, girls and boys provided with life‑saving assistance in conflict and crisis situations.

Disability-Inclusive Development

Australia's disability strategy for the aid program, Development for All, promotes a change in the way Australian aid is designed and delivered. It emphasises that people with disability hold the same rights as others and sets out practical approaches to ensure people with disability are included in and contribute to decision-making processes, and that the benefits of development extend to all. AusAID supports disability‑inclusive development through targeted programs and by mainstreaming disability across the aid program.

Two years into implementing the strategy, there are strong signs our approach is working. Australia was one of the main donors to the first WHO-World Bank World Report on Disability (2011). Australia is also contributing $4 million over four years to the International Committee of the Red Cross Special Fund for the Disabled, which provides rehabilitation services in low‑income countries and emergency assistance and protection to those affected by conflict and complex emergencies. During the first half of 2011, the Fund contributed to the rehabilitation of 5,000 people worldwide, fitted over 7,000 prostheses and provided almost 4,000 crutches or wheelchairs. Australia is supporting the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat's efforts to align national policies and programs with the Pacific Regional Strategy on Disability. The Strategy, which covers the period from 2010-15, supports the Pacific Island Forum member countries to protect and promote the rights of persons with disability.

Case Study: Helping disadvantaged children gain an education in Sri Lanka

Australia's Basic Education Support Program was launched in Sri Lanka in 2009 with the aim of helping some of Sri Lanka's most vulnerable and marginalised children obtain a basic education. In partnership with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Education and UNICEF, Australia invested $7.5 million in the program, with the aim of achieving universal completion of primary education and improved learning achievement by building a child‑friendly learning environment. The program has delivered increased access to quality basic education for almost 300,000 disadvantaged children, reintegrated approximately 2,350 children who had previously dropped out, and provided training for more than 24,000 primary teachers.

The unifying concept for the program is 'Child Friendly Schools'. It seeks to build the capacity of teachers, principals, and communities to promote holistic school development including quality learning; a healthy, protective and safe environment for children; and the capacity of the education system to support the development of such schools. The program was designed to reach vulnerable and marginalised children in 11 districts across Sri Lanka, including those with disabilities, expanding eventually to a maximum of 1,300 schools. By the end of 2011, 1,232 schools had been reached, with all project schools demonstrating improvements in access and quality of education. From 2012, Australia will implement a new nation-wide education project in Sri Lanka in partnership with the World Bank and the Sri Lankan Government. It will continue to improve access to education, both primary and secondary, but importantly, will be striving for greater improvement in education quality.

4.3. Sustainable Economic Development

The Australian Government promotes sustainable economic development in developing countries by:

  • improving food security;
  • improving incomes, employment and enterprise opportunities;
  • promoting private sector-led growth; and
  • reducing the negative impacts of climate change and other environmental factors.


Sustainable economic development is about supporting long-term economic growth that benefits the poor, effectively manages natural resources and social capital and attracts private investment. Increased employment and higher household incomes will benefit poor people and increase government revenue, which can then be invested in public services such as schools, roads and hospitals. The United Nations estimates that nearly 1 billion people go hungry every day, with two-thirds living in the Asia‑Pacific region. In sub-Saharan Africa almost one in three people suffers from hunger. Rising global food prices in 2008 pushed more than 130 million people back into poverty as the price of staple foods rose by between 50 and 200 per cent. The Millennium Development Goal target to halve the proportion of people suffering from hunger — from 20 per cent in 1990 to 10 per cent by 2015 — remains off-track. Recent natural disasters, such as floods in Pakistan and Thailand and drought in Laos, have reduced agricultural production and food security in Asia as well as global stocks and prices.

Investment in economic infrastructure within developing countries remains low even though roughly 1.4 billion poor people do not have access to electricity and one billion rural dwellers worldwide are estimated to have no access to any roads within 2 kilometres of their homes. Estimates indicate that infrastructure investment needs in developing countries could be in the order of US$1.2 trillion to US$1.5 trillion in 2013. Infrastructure development contributes to poverty reduction by spurring economic growth, stimulating enterprise opportunities, generating employment and providing poor people with access to basic needs. Poor people also benefit indirectly from the contribution that infrastructure makes to economic growth through reliable electricity and water supply, better roads, railways and ports, modern telecommunications and improved urban planning.

An increasingly important source of government revenue, capital and infrastructure investment in developing counties is the mining and extractives sector. Between 2000 and 2008, ODA flows to sub-Saharan Africa increased from $12 billion to $36 billion per year. In contrast the value of natural resource rents rose from $39 billion to $240 billion. However, converting investment and revenue from mining into sustainable development is a challenge and the role of government is critical in making the most of this opportunity. Well targeted public investments can create sustainable foundations for long-term growth and development. Spending revenues wisely can create an enabling environment that attracts private investment and creates the conditions for a diversified economy with strong governing institutions.

Rapid economic development is placing pressure on the natural resources upon which many of the world's poor depend. At the same time, oceans, forests and fresh water are being increasingly impacted by climate change. Hundreds of millions of people in the developing world rely on these resources for their livelihoods, which face further pressure from urbanisation, changed land use patterns, increased pollution and population growth.

Key achievements to date

Program achievements over the last decade have included:

  • in East Timor, the Seeds of Life Program has given 25,000 farming families access to new plant varieties that increase yields by between 23 and 80 per cent, resulting in increased food supply for an estimated 150,000 people;
  • in Cambodia, Australian support to extend mobile banking services to rural Cambodians has saved users an estimated US$16.8 million each year, while providing employment opportunities and improving the financial literacy of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians;
  • in Bangladesh, Australia has supported a soft loans and asset transfer program since 2007, which has lifted 125,000 female-headed households out of extreme poverty and benefited 566,000 people in total;
  • since 2009, Australia constructed or upgraded 5,400 kilometres of roads across the Asia‑Pacific region to improve access of people, especially in poor rural areas, to markets and services; and
  • in 2009 and 2010, Australia in partnership with the Government of Vietnam, World Bank and other donors funded economic infrastructure (roads, electricity and water) benefiting an estimated 8.7 million people belonging to Vietnam's ethnic minorities.

Australia's response

Food Security, Rural Development and Social Protection

On current projections, around $455 million, or 8 per cent of total ODA, will be spent on agriculture and food security activities in 2012‑13. This funding will support:

  • increased agricultural productivity, through agricultural research and development. AusAID works with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) which is managing the new $36 million Australian International Food Security Centre160 between 2011‑12 and 2014‑15;
  • improved rural livelihoods, by strengthening market systems in developing countries and increasing incomes and employment to reduce risks for the rural poor; and
  • building community resilience, by supporting the establishment and improvement of social protection programs that reduce the vulnerability of the poor to shocks and stresses. Over the next four years, Australia will implement major social protection programs in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kenya and Cambodia, which will enable at least 4 million poor women and men to access social transfers, such as cash or in-kind transfers, including food.

Australia actively engages in global efforts to address food insecurity. This includes contributions to the L'Aquila Food Security Initiative, which will provide $20 billion over three years for agricultural development in impoverished countries. We also contribute to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a multi‑donor trust fund managed by the World Bank which provides grants to low-income countries to boost agricultural productivity, help poor rural people increase their incomes and improve long-term food security and nutrition.

Transport, Energy and Communications

The aid program expects to spend around $374 million on transport, communication and energy infrastructure activities in 2012‑13, or 8 per cent of total ODA. This will include:

  • delivering sustainable transport infrastructure that acts as a catalyst for innovation and improves transport networks, connectivity across countries and regions and transport planning for rural and urban areas;
  • creating reliable energy services and information and communication technologies to extend services to the poor; and
  • investing in urban development and planning to address the challenges of rapid urbanisation, so urban areas remain sustainable economic centres and poor people living in those areas have access to services.

Australia is working closely with the Asian Development Bank, the Government of Vietnam and the Republic of Korea to build major transport infrastructure in the Mekong Delta. The Cao Lanh Bridge will be a critical component of a transport and trade network connecting Ho Chi Minh City through the Mekong Delta and southern Cambodia to Thailand. The project will directly benefit 5 million people in the Delta and is expected to deliver improved transport facilities to 170,000 daily road users.

In 2012‑13, Australia will also continue contributing to the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program. This multi-donor trust fund helps low and middle-income countries to develop policies, strategies and institutions necessary for sustainable solutions to energy challenges. In the Philippines, the program supported the government's development of a policy framework to develop diversified renewable energy sources. As a result, the country plans to double its renewable energy capacity within 20 years.

Mining for Development

In October 2011, the Prime Minister launched the Australian Government's $127 million Mining for Development Initiative (2011-15). Through this initiative, Australia is assisting resource-rich developing countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Latin America to maximise the benefits of their resource endowment in a socially and environmentally sustainable way. The centrepiece of the Initiative is the International Mining for Development Centre, hosted by the University of Western Australia in partnership with the University of Queensland. In 2012‑13, approximately $7 million will be spent by the Centre delivering practical advisory, education and training services to resource-rich developing countries. This will build the capacity of approximately 600 people from developing countries in sustainable mining topics.

Other components of the Initiative which will benefit developing countries across the Asia-Pacific (including Afghanistan), Africa and Latin America include:

  • support to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to assist developing countries to improve the transparency of their extractive sectors. From 2012‑13 through to 2014-15, Australia will provide around $10 million in support to the EITI which will help the Initiative to increase the number of compliant countries from the current 11 to a target of 22 in 2012‑13;
  • the implementation in 2012‑13 of a $24 million Extractive Industries Sustainable Economic Development program from 2012 to 2015, to support partnerships between civil society, industry and governments;
  • from 2012‑13 through to 2014-15 Australia will spend up to $30 million in scholarships in mining and extractives related topics. This will provide up to 200 undergraduate and postgraduate places; and
  • partnerships with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). AusAID has already financed the IMF Topical Trust Fund on Managing Natural Resource Wealth ($5 million) to 2015 to support the development of extractive industry macroeconomic policy frameworks. Between 2011‑12 and 2012‑13 AusAID will also contribute $4.8 million to the World Bank Extractive Industries Technical Advisory Facility to support developing countries negotiate with extractives companies, and structure project agreements and related policies more sustainably, thereby reducing the risk of costly or politically difficult remediation.

Climate Change and Environment

On current projections, in 2012‑13, around $246 million, or 5 per cent of total ODA is expected to be spent on climate change and environmental activities. Australia will help vulnerable countries, particularly least developed countries and small island developing states, to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The aid program will also build on work to reduce emissions from deforestation, pilot low emission development pathways and engage in key international development and environment forums. Programs that address environmental issues such as loss of biological diversity, land degradation and the ecological health of international waters will remain a priority for multilateral support.

In 2012‑13, Australia's aid program will support:

  • the Global Environment Facility and participate in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to develop a global roadmap for sustainable development;
  • adaptation, including building the ability of partners in the Pacific, South and South East Asia, Africa and the Caribbean to respond to climate change through the International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative ($99 million in 2012‑13). Activities will be targeted at making weather-resilient improvements to infrastructure, improving food security and the availability of fresh water, and protecting coastlines and coastal ecosystems. For example, in partnership with Germany, Australia will assist Vietnam manage and protect its coastal ecosystems such as mangroves in the Mekong Delta;
  • action to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+). This includes one of the most advanced large-scale REDD+ demonstration activities in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia where Australia and Indonesia are aligning emissions reductions and sustainable development objectives; and
  • low-emissions development by piloting technology and regulatory reforms in developing countries to minimise greenhouse gas emissions as their economies grow. For example, demonstrating the economic viability of renewable energy development in low‑income countries through the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries program.

4.4. Effective Governance

The Australian Government will improve governance in developing countries to deliver better services, improve security, and enhance justice and human rights for the poor.


Governance is about people, institutions and financing development — how people, through institutions, decide to obtain, produce, use and distribute resources. Supporting good governance continues to be a priority for the Australian aid program. It is central for development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the way that developing countries manage their resources will be critical to their long-term viability. Social stability, the rule of law, the quality of government and engaged civil society all contribute to an environment where jobs can be created, services delivered to poor people and human rights can be protected and advanced. Effective governance includes a focus on reducing corruption and, through this, enhancing legitimacy of public institutions and building more equitable growth.

Good governance supports the achievement of all the other strategic goals in Australia's aid program. It helps make development stronger by improving overall effectiveness of aid delivery through partnerships between host governments and aid agencies. Human rights go hand in hand with good governance — this means addressing the rights of people with disabilities, the rights of women and children and the rights of poor, marginalised and disempowered people to engage with processes and decisions that impact their lives. The World Bank's 2011 World Development Report highlighted the importance of governance to breaking the cycle of poverty and violence experienced by the world's poorest countries.

Key achievements to date

Key achievements in recent years include:

  • in Solomon Islands through RAMSI, Australia supported stabilisation and governance reforms, resulting in a reduction of government net debt as a share of GDP from 64.5 per cent in 2003 to 16 per cent in 2010;
  • in Papua New Guinea (PNG) we have supported a continuing increase in the number of female village magistrates. New female village court magistrates have increased from 10 in 2004, to over 700 at the end of 2011. An additional 200 female magistrates are currently being trained, which will lead to better access to justice for women at the village level. Also in PNG, Australia supports three new police family and sexual violence units, which provided specialised services to an estimated 1,050 victims in 2010; and
  • in Indonesia, we have helped to improve the transparency of court decisions. There are now more than 20,000 Supreme Court decisions online — before 2008 there were none. This allows a much larger number of people to access information on the court system, and holds the courts accountable for decisions.

Australia's response

On current projections, the Australian aid program expects to spend around $886 million on effective governance in 2012‑13, or around 18 per cent of total ODA. We will invest in governance at global, regional and country levels, supporting strategic global partnerships and priorities based on regional and country strategy processes. Consistent with government commitments, the Asia‑Pacific region will continue to be an important region for our assistance.

Economic and Public Sector Reform

On current projections, in 2012‑13, around $396 million, or 8 per cent of total ODA, is expected to be spent on economic and public sector reform activities. Australia will support public sector reform at global, regional, national and local levels. Australia will support developing country governments in their efforts to collect, allocate and spend public revenue efficiently and effectively. This has direct implications for economic growth, the delivery of services such as education and health and the achievement of the MDGs. Examples of aid program funding for economic and public sector reform in 2012‑13 are as follows:

  • the $30 million Philippines-Australia Public Financial Management (PFM) Program (2011‑16), which supports the Philippine Government's efforts to modernise its public financial management system. It prioritises practical budgeting and expenditure management reforms and is helping those responsible for managing public funds to do their jobs efficiently, effectively, and in an accountable way so that Filipinos benefit from improved delivery of goods and services;
  • in Vanuatu, we are helping to build a policy framework that supports broad‑based economic growth, improved public financial management and strengthened governance of state‑owned enterprises; and
  • in Indonesia, we will support financial management systems in the education, health and infrastructure sectors, both nationally and sub-nationally.

Law and Justice

In 2012‑13, around $314 million, or 6 per cent of total ODA, is expected to be spent on law and justice activities. There will be a continued focus on strengthening law and justice, including anti-corruption. This is a prerequisite for development and central to our national interests. Priorities for assistance include ending violence against women, children and marginalised people, providing basic security and stability and working with criminal justice systems. Law and justice support will be delivered in PNG, Solomon Islands, East Timor, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vanuatu and Samoa. For example, Australia's assistance helps improve the lives of Indonesian women who now have better access to justice through mobile courtrooms. These courts travel to remote areas and help women who cannot afford to travel to court to get marriage and birth certificates, enabling them to enrol their children in school.

Leadership, Civil Society and Democracy

In 2012‑13, around $176 million, or 4 per cent of total ODA, is expected to be spent on leadership, civil society and democracy activities. Australia supports citizens and a robust civil society to participate actively in local and national decision-making without fear of injury or discrimination, and to have confidence in their democratic institutions. We will continue this work at a global level, including through our year in 2012 as Chair of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance and through our ongoing support to the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). Our global efforts support work undertaken at the country level, such as increasing knowledge of elections by funding civic awareness activities of the PNG Electoral Commission and civil society organisations. The PNG Electoral Support Program includes a public service twinning arrangement between the PNG Electoral Commission and the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

Australia will continue to support civil society organisations as they work to increase the voice of people at all levels of decision making. Our support to the Thailand‑Burma Border Consortium (an alliance of 11 non-government organisations) will assist programs for child care and other care functions and provide women with access to justice and support services.

We will provide ongoing support through the Human Rights Fund for a range of partners including the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, the United States State Department Lifeline Embattled NGO Fund, and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. These programs address the rights of people with disabilities, the rights of women and children, and the rights of poor, marginalised and disempowered people in developing countries.

Case Study: Performance-linked aid

"Performance-linked aid" refers to activities with special incentives to improve aid outcomes. These include payments to service providers after goods and services have been delivered, grants to governments after reform milestones have been met, and conditional cash transfers to households. Performance-linked aid (PLA) activities are being used to incentivise reform through the Partnerships for Development throughout the Pacific, including in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati.

Over 2011‑12, Australia will provide $30 million of PLA in support of the PNG Government's reforms to the procurement and distribution of medical supplies. This support will ensure almost 3,000 health facilities have adequate medical supplies. The PLA was triggered when the PNG Government cancelled compromised tenders for these high-value medical supply kits in 2010‑11. Australia's support was at the request of the Government of PNG and provides them with critical time to develop a more sustainable approach to medical supply reform.

Australia's support for further reform of the medical supply system is conditional on the PNG Government meeting its commitments. These include maintaining adequate funding for the annual medical supplies budget, approving a multi-year procurement plan, committing to procure 100 per cent of medical supply kits from international, quality‑assured organisations and putting in place the necessary steps to have an independent health procurement authority operational by 2015‑16. If PNG meets these commitments, Australia will continue to support the direct distribution of medical supply kits, upgrade regional medical warehouses, support a new inventory system, provide technical support to establishing an independent health procurement authority, and in future provide direct financing to this authority once it is fully operational.

4.5. Humanitarian and Disaster Response

The Australian Government has committed to more effective preparedness and responses to disasters and crises.


Natural disasters are increasing in frequency, scale and impact. In 2011, over 300 natural disasters claimed 29,782 lives worldwide, affected more than 206 million people and caused a record $370 billion in economic damages.161 Over the last three decades, the Asia-Pacific region has accounted for 85 per cent of the world's deaths and 38 per cent of global economic losses due to natural disasters.162 Demand for humanitarian assistance is anticipated to grow with population growth, especially in zones of high vulnerability and more frequent extreme weather events associated with climate change. These events will impact disproportionately on poor people who live in vulnerable areas and are the worst equipped to deal with disasters.

In addition, more than 1.5 billion people live in fragile and conflict-affected countries where governments have limited capacity to provide basic services and security to their citizens. In these settings, children, and girls in particular, are often the most severely affected by disasters and conflict. Poverty rates are 20 per cent higher in countries affected by violence, economic performance is weak, and there are high rates of criminal violence. By the end of 2010 there were 43.7 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, the highest number in 15 years.163

Key achievements to date

Australia's recent achievements across the humanitarian program include:

  • providing food relief to over 9 million drought victims in the Horn of Africa in 2011, through the World Food Programme;
  • deploying 55 Australian humanitarian experts in support of more than 40 United Nations humanitarian operations in 23 countries in 2011 through the organisation RedR Australia;
  • delivering emergency rations to more than 920,000 people in Sudan through the International Committee of the Red Cross;
  • supporting local earthquake-resistant building designs to rebuild health facilities servicing more than 260,000 people to earthquake resistant standards in Padang, Indonesia since the 2009 earthquake; and
  • enabling more than 35,000 internally displaced people to return home and resume their livelihoods in northern Sri Lanka through landmine clearance.

Australia's response

Australia will increase its focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster risk reduction and relief. Australia's humanitarian programs deliver on two of the strategic goals of the aid program — Saving Lives and Humanitarian and Disaster Response. Programs under these goals save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity during and in the aftermath of humanitarian crises. The aid program also builds resilience and strengthens preparedness, including in fragile states.

The Australian aid program expects to spend around $493 million on humanitarian assistance in 2012‑13, or 10 per cent of total ODA. This includes the AusAID global humanitarian program (at Section 3.2), humanitarian capacity building and disaster risk reduction assistance provided through country programs such as the Australia‑Indonesia Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the humanitarian programs of other agencies such as the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's assistance to refugees.

We will also strengthen the international system's capacity to anticipate and respond to crises by increasing support to agencies such as the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, World Food Programme, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Committee of the Red Cross and United Nations peacebuilding agencies. We will also expand our engagement with Australian and selected international non‑government organisations. In supporting these agencies, we will take a more prominent leadership role in disaster risk reduction, mine action, humanitarian protection and civil-military cooperation.

AusAID leads and coordinates Australia's response to humanitarian crises and disasters in developing countries, by contributing funds to trusted partners such as the World Food Programme and the International Committee of the Red Cross, deploying experts, and providing appropriate and cost-effective relief supplies. To ensure that Australia can respond quickly and effectively, AusAID has expanded its partnerships with other Australian government agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Defence, and state‑based emergency response specialists such as the New South Wales and Queensland emergency services. In October 2011, for example, AusAID and the Australian Defence Force collaborated with the New Zealand Government to support the procurement and transport of desalination plants to Tuvalu, in response to urgent drought relief needs.

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