Development and Aid Policy
Key Issues Currently Confronting Australian ODA
An over emphasis on the size of the aid budget rather than effectiveness. We argue that the fixation of the UN, OECD, NGOs and well-nigh most international aid agencies on continually increasing their aid budgets is essentially counterproductive. This pressure for increased size compromises quality and effectiveness and encourages disincentives for better performance on the part of all concerned.
Lack of policy coherency within and between relevant government departments engaged in delivery of ODA. Provision of effective ODA is currently undermined through a lack of strategic, coordinated focus on making a tangible contribution to poverty reduction. There is a lack of common vision, inadequate leadership for policy coherency and an absence of political commitment to make it happen.
Lack of development expertise, experience, capacity and accountability in ODA delivery. A myriad of government departments are currently engaged in development assistance. The roles and mandates of these departments involved in delivery of ODA appears unclear, blurring distinctions between humanitarian, security and long term development initiatives. The need for clarification is critical, given military, police and civilian involvement in ODA delivery.
Narrow and short-term approaches to governance are not addressing long term needs. While Australia invests heavily in good governance strengthening in partner countries, very little has been done to create a better understanding of and demand for improved governance amongst civil society.
Current approaches to capacity development have not achieved the desired, sustainable results and have raised serious questions about Australia’s approach to partnership and development assistance. Placement of Australian in-line advisors into senior Pacific Island government positions undermines local accountability and runs counter to long accepted principles of sustainable capacity development
Deterioration of relationships with major development partners in the Pacific. Aggressive, arrogant, non-consultative and partisan approaches to development assistance are not conducive to fostering long-term relationships built on mutual respect and trust. Respect for and understanding of Pacific cultures and approaches to local development are required for constructive and sustainable outcomes.