Australia's development co-operation focuses on countries in the Indo-Pacific region. Since 2020, Australia's programme has supported health security, stability and addressing economic challenges in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. Australia's total official development assistance (ODA) (USD 3 billion, preliminary data) decreased in 2022 due to differences in Australia's financial year reporting and the timing of its COVID-19-related expenditure. It represented 0.19% of gross national income (GNI).

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

In 2023, Australia will release a new international development policy. The policy will emphasise Australia’s contribution to a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, including supporting ambitious action on climate change. Priorities include working with partners to build effective, accountable states; enhancing state and community resilience; connecting with regional architecture; and generating collective action on global challenges. Australia is also currently developing new strategies on international gender equality, and disability equity and rights.

Australia effectively uses regional and multilateral channels to pursue its priorities. It advocates in the United Nations (UN) system and multilateral development banks for the needs of the Indo-Pacific region and the unique vulnerabilities of small island developing states (SIDS). Australia also supports global public goods through its funding of multilateral funds and organisations.

The 2021 OECD-DAC mid-term review commended Australia's partner-driven approach and its efforts to integrate development policy capabilities alongside foreign policy and trade. The review encouraged Australia to increase its ODA, align its policy and performance framework to the Sustainable Development Goals, broaden its policy coherence for sustainable development beyond the Pacific region, and grow its staffing capabilities. The latest OECD-DAC peer review of Australia took place in 2018.

Australia provided USD 3 billion (preliminary data) of ODA in 2022 (USD 3.1 billion in constant terms), representing 0.19% of GNI.1 This was a decrease of 13.1% in real terms in volume and a decrease in the share of GNI from 0.22% in 2021. ODA volumes have been fluctuating around USD 3 billion over the past five years. Australia is not in line with its international commitments to achieve a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio. Australia provided all of its ODA as grants in 2021.2

Australia ranks 27th among DAC member countries when ODA is taken as a share of GNI. Australia stands out for the relatively high share of gross bilateral ODA that is programmable by country (74.4%). In line with its policy priorities, Australia's ODA is strongly focused on SIDS, equal to 40.8% of gross bilateral ODA in 2021, and the Pacific. In 2020-21, Australia ranked 7th among DAC member countries for expenditure on ending violence against women.

Australia is committed to several international targets, Development Assistance Committee standards and recommendations. Learn more about DAC recommendations.

Australia provided a much higher share of its ODA bilaterally in 2021. Gross bilateral ODA was 86.6% of total ODA. Thirty-two per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Australia allocated 13.4% of the total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2022, Australia provided USD 46 million of gross bilateral ODA to Ukraine to respond to the impacts of Russia's war of aggression, of which USD 45.8 million was humanitarian assistance (preliminary data). In 2021, it provided USD 0.1 million.

Details on ODA provided for the COVID-19 response were not available at the time Australia provided its 2022 preliminary data. These details will be available once Australia reports its detailed ODA data for 2022. In 2020 and 2021, Australia's total bilateral support for COVID-19 response was USD 1.1 and USD 1.7 billion, respectively.

In 2021, Australia provided USD 1.5 billion of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 3.3% in real terms from 2020. Of this, USD 477.9 million was core multilateral ODA, while non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding earmarked for a specific theme and/or country accounted for 98.8% of Australia's non-core contributions and 1.2% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Eighty per cent of Australia's total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2021 was allocated to UN funds and programmes, World Bank, and other UN organisations (in descending order).

The UN system received 52.1% of Australia's multilateral contributions, mainly in the form of earmarked contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 763.6 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Australia's support (core and earmarked contributions) were UNICEF (USD 295.4 million), WFP (USD 94.7 million) and UNDP (USD 87 million).

See the section on Geographic and sectoral focus of ODA for the breakdown of bilateral allocations, including ODA earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2021, Australia's bilateral spending increased compared to the previous year. It provided USD 3.1 billion of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented an increase of 15.5% in real terms from 2020. In 2021, Australia focused most of its bilateral ODA on gender equality, reduced inequality, life on land, climate action, health and well-being and partnerships goals of the UN 2030 agenda.

In 2021, country programmable aid was 74.4% of Australia's gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 45.2%. Australia does not report in-donor refugee costs.

In 2021, Australia channelled bilateral ODA through multilateral organisations, as earmarked funding, and the public sector. Technical co-operation made up 21.8% of gross ODA in 2021.

In 2021, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 352.7 million of gross bilateral ODA. Australia allocated 0.5% of bilateral ODA as core contributions to CSOs and 10.9% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the donor (earmarked funding). From 2020 to 2021, the combined core and earmarked contributions for CSOs slightly increased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 11.1% to 11.4%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs, civil society engagement in development co-operation, and the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid.

In 2021, Australia's bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Oceania and Asia. USD 1.3 billion was allocated to Oceania and USD 1.1 billion to Asia (excluding the Middle East), accounting respectively for 42.8% and 37.1% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 78.1 million (2.5%) was allocated to the Middle East. Asia was the main regional recipient of Australia's earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2021, 57.4% 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 25 countries, in line with its focus on its immediate neighbourhood and its policy priorities. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 25.9%, with 25.8% of this unallocated bilateral ODA being spent on administrative costs.

In 2021, the least developed countries received 22.1% of Australia's gross bilateral ODA (USD 681.6 million). This is slightly lower than the DAC average of 22.9%. Australia allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (41.1%) to lower middle-income countries in 2021, noting that 25.9% was unallocated by income group. Australia allocated 4.9% of gross bilateral ODA to land-locked developing countries in 2021, equal to USD 151.4 million. Australia allocated 40.8% of gross bilateral ODA to SIDS in 2021, equal to USD 1.3 billion.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 1.3 billion in 2021, representing 40.7% of Australia's gross bilateral ODA. Twelve per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, decreasing from 15.5% in 2020, while 17.1% was allocated to peace, decreasing from 19.7% in 2020. One per cent went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, the same as in 2020.

Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2021, slightly more than half of Australia's bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 54.7% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 1.7 billion), with a strong focus on support to health (USD 768.8 million), government and civil society (USD 460.9 million) and education (USD 209.3 million). ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled 8% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 246 million), focusing on transport and storage (USD 109.5 million), business (USD 79.4 million) and energy (USD 19.9 million). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 336.7 million (10.9% of bilateral ODA). In 2021, earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused on health, emergency response and government and civil society.

In 2020-21, Australia committed 40.5% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women's empowerment as either a principal or significant objective (down from 41.1% in 2018-19, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 44.4%). This is equal to USD 1.1 billion of bilateral ODA in support of gender equality. The share of screened bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women's empowerment as a principal objective was 6.5% in 2020-21, compared with the DAC average of 4.5%. Australia includes gender equality objectives in 61.4% of its ODA for humanitarian aid, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 17.5%. Australia screens all activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker (100% in 2020-21). Australia committed USD 32.1 million of ODA to end violence against women and girls in 2020-21. Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality, the DAC Network on Gender Equality and the DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation in Development Co-operation.

In 2020-21, Australia committed 35.8% of its total bilateral allocable aid (USD 980 million) in support of the environment and the Rio Conventions (DAC average of 34.3%), up from 29.1% in 2018-19. Unpacking the environmental data further:

  • Two per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC average of 11.3%.

  • Thirty-four per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 939.7 million) focused on climate change overall (the DAC average was 29%), up from 20.1% in 2018-19. Australia had a larger focus on adaptation (35.6%) than on mitigation (18.6%) in 2020-21.

  • Seven per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid (USD 169.3 million) focused on biodiversity (compared with the DAC average of 6.5%), down from 8.6% in 2018-19.

Learn more about climate-related development finance and the DAC Declaration on Aligning Development Co-operation with the Goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The OECD initiative Sustainable Oceans for All shows that Australia committed USD 32.3 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in 2021, up from USD 24.1 million in 2020. The 2021 value is equivalent to 1.2% of Australia's bilateral allocable aid. Learn more about development co-operation in support of a sustainable ocean economy and the data platform on development finance for a sustainable ocean economy.

In 2021, Australia also:

  • Committed USD 19.5 million of bilateral ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, amounting to 0.7% of its bilateral allocable aid. Regarding the payment of local tax and custom duties for ODA-funded goods and services, Australia seeks duty exemptions. It makes information available on the OECD Digital Transparency Hub on the Tax Treatment of ODA.

  • Committed USD 443.5 million (15.9% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries' trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2021.

  • Committed USD 297.7 million (10.7% of its bilateral allocable aid) to address the immediate or underlying determinants of malnutrition in developing countries across a variety of sectors, such as maternal health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) or agriculture.

  • Committed USD 504.1 million (18.1% of its bilateral allocable aid) to development co-operation projects and programmes that promote the inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has overall responsibility for development co-operation policy and is responsible for most of Australia's ODA budget. Within DFAT, development-related work cuts across many divisions, with geographic divisions and embassies responsible for managing country and regional development programmes. A Development Program Subcommittee provides oversight and governance of the overall development co-operation programme to ensure that it is consistent with Government policy. It advises the Secretary of DFAT and the Executive Committee, and engages with the other subcommittees of the Department.

DFAT has around 1 500 staff working on development, 32% of which are in country offices and embassies abroad. Approximately a quarter of the total staff working on development are locally engaged.

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Treasury, among other federal departments and agencies, also contribute to Australia's development co-operation efforts. The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade provides additional accountability towards parliament.

CSOs active in development co-operation, humanitarian assistance and global citizenship education co-ordinate through the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), which also supports policy engagement with the Australian government.

The Committee for Development Co-operation (CDC), established in 1975, is a joint DFAT and civil society advisory body made up of members from the Australian CSO community and DFAT. The CDC meets a minimum of three times a year and is chaired by DFAT. ACFID and DFAT jointly provide secretariat services to the CDC.

Internal systems and processes help ensure the effective delivery of Australia's development co-operation. Select features are shown in the table below.

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation monitoring exercise tracks the implementation of the effectiveness commitments. Following a reform of the exercise during 2020-22, the 4th global monitoring round (2023-26) has resumed. More detailed results for Australia based on the 2016 and 2018 Monitoring Rounds can be found here. Monitoring profiles for other providers are available here.

2021 OECD-DAC mid-term review of Australia:

2018 OECD-DAC peer review of Australia:

Australia's development program:

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT):

CSO umbrella organisation the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID):

Australia's Practices on the Development Co-operation TIPs: Tools Insights Practices learning platform:

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee since 1966.

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including the grant-equivalent methodology, core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, country programmable aid, channels of delivery, bilateral ODA unspecified/unallocated, bilateral allocable aid, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.


← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2019 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

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