Where Australia’s case for aid went wrong – and what we can do to rebuild


Huge cuts to the Australian aid program have left supporters angry and in shock. Five years ago, there was bipartisan support for a 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) target for aid. In this year’s budget, aid is just half of that—0.25 per cent of GNI. But instead of losing heart, we need to channel our energy into the business of building and renewal. Rise and fall of political support for aid Successive […] Read more »

Financing for Development: This year’s big debate

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More and better financing for development is needed to end poverty by 2030 and achieve the proposed Sustainable Development Goals. The UN and member countries are currently working to reach agreement on priorities for reform ahead of a major meeting in July. This article looks at the ongoing debate. The United Nations has circulated a discussion paper on financing for development, which is guiding debate on the financing framework for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The financing framework is […] Read more »

Radio Australia: Conservatives unlikely to change aid policy


With Britain’s Conservative prime minister David Cameron re-elected, this time with a slim overall majority and so no longer tied to a coalition partner, some commentators are wondering whether there’ll be a change in Britain’s foreign aid policy. In this interview with Radio Australia, Matt Morris discussed UK aid policy and said the new UK government is unlikely to target foreign aid in the same way the Abbott government has done in Australia. Read more »

UK elections and aid (and Australia’s UKIP aid policy)


Whilst the UK elections have been a big story recently, you probably haven’t heard much about the parties’ policies on overseas aid. That’s because aid hasn’t been a key issue in the campaign. So where do the parties stand and what are the prospects for UK aid? Following the passage of legislation this year to enshrine the 0.7% of GNI aid target, there is a clear consensus from most of the parties on aid volumes: […] Read more »

Reverse HIPC mooted for aid liabilities


Donors are positive people: the glass is always half full. It is an admirable trait. And it is the trait that shines through when it comes to talking about how much aid rich countries give, as the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) recently illustrated: Development aid rose by 6.1% in real terms in 2013 to reach the highest level ever recorded, despite continued pressure on budgets in OECD countries since the global economic crisis. Donors provided […] Read more »

Ambitious goals for sustainable development


A distant debate on the global agenda for sustainable development may seem far removed from the day-to-day realities of Pacific island countries, but it is an important discussion and one which will shape the way the rest of the world engages with the Pacific over the next decade or so. It is also an opportunity to get the rest of the World to pay attention to the issues that matter most to Pacific Islanders. In […] Read more »

Papua New Guinea: New thinking on Budgets and infrastructure


On June 5 Sir Mekere Morauta delivered a keynote address at the annual meeting of the PNG Sustainable Development Program. Below is an abridged version of that speech. The ongoing mining and petroleum boom will deliver huge revenues to government that have the potential to transform living standards in our country, but only if the government can fund the right mix of public investments, diversify the economy and integrate effectively into the global economy. Unfortunately, […] Read more »

World Bank talk on Aid Effectiveness


On 12 April, the World Bank hosted a panel discussion to consider a number of pressing questions relating to development effectiveness on the back of the Australian Aid Review, as Australia looks to scale up its its aid budget. Does aid work? Does it reach the poorest people? What are the most effective channels for delivering aid? And how do we make it work better? This is part of the Praxis Discussion Series, 2012. (Recorded on April […] Read more »

Managing the mineral boom in Papua New Guinea


Navigating a small economy through the choppy waters of the global economy is never easy. But it is even harder when facing the peaks and troughs of resource booms and the unpredictable undercurrents of a complex polity. At independence in 1975, when I was Secretary for Finance, we created a mineral resources stabilisation fund (MRSF) to help this process and smooth out resource revenue flows from first the Bougainville copper mine, and later the Ok Tedi […] Read more »

Radio Australia: Poverty centred in Pacific rural communities


One third of the people in the region are living below the poverty line. Poverty is a growing problem for many countries in the Pacific, with approximately 2.7 million people, not having the income or access to subsistence production to meet their basic human needs. Matthew Morris from the Australian National University is the Deputy Director of the Development Policy Centre, Crawford School of Economics and Government at the ANU. He has published a paper […] Read more »