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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Australian aid to the Pacific Islands is not helping Melanesia achieve its development aspirations: New Lowy Report

Australian development assistance has not been effective in helping Pacific Island countries and particularly Melanesia meet their development aspirations or make progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. This was the key message from a new report by the Australia-based Lowy Institute for International Policy published this month, September 2008.

The report titled "Beyond Good Governance: Shifting the Paradigm for Australian Aid to the Pacific Islands Region" says that the overwhelming focus of Australian government-to-government assistance on strengthening public sector institutions and improving governance does little to stimulate vital private sector participation in Pacific Islands.

According to the Lowy Institute Program Director, Jenny Howard-Jones, new approaches are required if Australia is to make better use of its increase in Official Development Assistance to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income by 2015.

Jones says Australia needs to employ a different mix of policy tools if it is to help Pacific Island countries achieve real development outcomes.

"In particular, Australia should:
• Balance expenditure of aid on public sector strengthening with assistance to the productive sectors of Pacific Island economies;
• Leverage global corporate interest in development through the establishment of new public-private alliances to help generate better business outcomes in the Pacific;
• Help increase the use of micro-credit facilities;
• Invest in public-private partnerships with Pacific Island governments and private investors to improve the quality of infrastructure and service delivery; and
• Introduce an output-based approach to service delivery programs to increase the coverage and quality of basic services."

Source: Lowy Institute

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