Australia

Introduction

Australia’s development co-operation is guided by the government’s development policy, Australian Aid: Promoting Prosperity, Reducing Poverty, Enhancing Stability. Australia’s aid focuses on its immediate neighbourhood, the Indo-Pacific region. This includes the Pacific Regional Program, a discrete appropriation that complements Pacific bilateral programmes. Australia focuses its investments on six thematic areas: infrastructure, trade facilitation and international competitiveness; agriculture, fisheries and water; effective governance; education and health; building resilience; and gender equality.

The 2018 DAC Peer Review recognised Australia’s concerted effort to catalyse and support innovation across the Australian aid programme. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) recently launched the new DFAT Innovation Strategy for 2018-21, building on earlier efforts such as the innovationXchange launched in 2015.

Official development assistance

Australia channels a significant share (80%) of aid bilaterally, and programmes a higher share of its bilateral official development assistance (ODA) with partner countries (68%) compared to the DAC country average (48%). Australia’s bilateral ODA is focused geographically, with over 60% going to the Asia-Pacific region. Australia’s total ODA to least developed countries (LDCs) remains below the UN target of 0.15-0.20% of gross national income (GNI), at just 0.07% of GNI in 2017.

In 2018, Australia provided USD 3.1 billion in total ODA (preliminary data, current prices), using the new “grant-equivalent” methodology (see the methodological notes for further details) adopted by DAC members on their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. This represented 0.23% of GNI. Under the “cash-flow basis” methodology used in the past, 2018 net ODA was USD 3.1 billion, which represented an increase of 3.8% in real terms from 2017.

Australia did not report expenditure on in-donor refugee costs as ODA in 2017. It considers that its processing of irregular migrants does not align with DAC rules for in-donor refugee costs.

Australia’s share of untied bilateral ODA (excluding administrative costs and in-donor refugee costs) was 100% in 2017 (as in 2016), while the DAC country average was 82.1%. The grant element of total ODA was 100% in 2017.

Share
        
Share
        

In 2017, 80% of gross ODA was provided bilaterally, of which 20% was channelled through multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions). Australia allocated 20% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

Share
        
Share
        

In 2017, country programmable aid was 68% of Australia’s bilateral ODA, compared to the DAC country average of 48% (see the methodological notes for further details on country programmable aid). Project-type interventions accounted for 55% of this aid.

Share
        
Share
        

In 2017, Australia channelled 35% of gross bilateral ODA through the public sector (up from 23% in 2016). The share of bilateral ODA channelled through private sector institutions was 1.6%. In 2017, Australia channelled USD 236 million through universities or other teaching and research institutions, equal to 9.7% of its gross bilateral ODA, down from USD 288 million (12.5% of gross bilateral ODA) in 2016. See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

Share
        

In 2017, USD 238 million of gross bilateral ODA was channelled to and through civil society organisations (CSOs). Between 2016 and 2017, ODA channelled to and through CSOs decreased as a share of bilateral aid (from 14% to 10%). Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and the Civil Society Days.

Share
        

In 2017, bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Asia and Oceania. USD 814.15 million was allocated to Oceania (33.3% of total bilateral ODA allocated by region), USD 481.95 million to Far East Asia (19.7%), and USD 287.43 million to South and Central Asia (11.8%). USD 149.08 million was allocated to sub-Saharan Africa (6.1%). Bilateral allocations to sub-Saharan Africa more than doubled over 2016 to 2017.

Share
        

In 2017, 46% of gross bilateral ODA went to Australia’s top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients are in the Asia-Pacific region, where Australia has programmes with 27 countries, in line with its focus on its immediate neighbourhood. Support to fragile contexts reached USD 1.03 billion in 2017 (42% of gross bilateral ODA). Learn more about support to fragile contexts.

Share
        
Share
        

In 2017, 27% of Australia’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 665 million) was allocated to the LDCs, compared to the DAC country average of 23.5%. This is up from 23% in 2016. Lower middle-income countries received the highest share of bilateral ODA in 2017 (36%), noting that 29% was unallocated by income group.

At 0.07% of GNI in 2017, total ODA to the LDCs (including imputed multilateral flows) was below the UN target of 0.15-0.20% of GNI.

Share
        

In 2017, 40.7% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 981 million) was allocated to social infrastructure and services, with a focus on support to government and civil society (USD 495.2 million), education (USD 195.5 million), and health (USD 137.2 million). Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 206.5 million. In 2017, Australia committed USD 13 million of ODA to support developing countries to raise domestic revenue, amounting to 0.6% of bilateral allocable aid. Australia also committed USD 429 million (19% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2017.

Share
        

USD 1.1 billion of gross bilateral allocable ODA supported gender equality. In 2017, 50% of Australia’s bilateral sector-allocable aid had gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal or significant objective (down from 72% in 2016). The DAC country average was 36%. More than half of Australia’s aid to education, other social infrastructure and services, and water and sanitation focuses on gender. Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

Share
        

USD 387 million of bilateral ODA commitments supported the environment. In 2017, 17% of its gross bilateral allocable aid supported the environment and 15% (USD 345 million) focused on climate change, compared with the respective DAC country averages of 33% and 25%. Allocations supporting the environment decreased from 23% in 2016 to 17% in 2017, while those focused on climate change fell from 19% in 2016 to 15% in 2017. The proportion of bilateral allocable ODA focusing specifically on adaptation fell from 18% in 2016 to 15% in 2017 and the proportion focusing specifically on mitigation from 12% to 9%. Learn more about climate-related development finance.

Share
        

Other financial flows and amounts mobilised from the private sector

Share
        

In 2017, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade mobilised USD 5.7 million from the private sector through simple co-financing arrangements with the private sector.

Share
        

Of the country-allocable private finance mobilised in 2012-17, 99% targeted middle-income countries and 1% the LDCs.

Share
        

Approximately 89% of Australia’s private finance mobilised during 2012-17 related to business support services and institutions in the business and other services sector and 11% to small and medium-size enterprise development in the industry, mining and construction sectors. Learn more about the amounts mobilised from private sector for development.

Institutional set-up

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has overall responsibility for development co-operation policy and was responsible for over 90% of the ODA budget in 2017. This follows a restructure in 2013 which led to the integration of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) into DFAT. The Australian Federal Police and the Department of Treasury, among others, also contribute to Australia’s development efforts.

Share
        

Evaluation system

The Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE) is an operationally independent unit within DFAT. It assesses DFAT’s internal aid management systems, evaluates the performance of the Australian aid programme, and contributes to evidence and debate about aid effectiveness. The Independent Evaluation Committee ensures external oversight. The ODE recently developed DFAT’s aid evaluation policy, with a focus on maximising the use of findings and recommendations stemming from evaluations. The policy sets out why evaluations are undertaken, mandating that evaluations are published with management responses in a timely manner. Read more about Australia’s evaluation system.

The ODE is currently undertaking a strategic evaluation of Australia’s development assistance to end violence against women and girls in seven focus countries and the effectiveness of DFAT’s health assistance in the Pacific. Read Australia’s evaluation plan.

Visit the DAC Evaluation Resource Centre website for evaluations of Australian development co-operation.

Performance against the commitments for effective development co-operation

Share
        

Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

Australian Aid: https://dfat.gov.au/aid/Pages/australias-aid-program.aspx

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: https://dfat.gov.au/pages/default.aspx

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1966.

End of the section – Back to iLibrary publication page