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Foreign Affairs Trade, Political

Flatlining Australian aid undermines regional security

ACFID 2 mins read

Media release | Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Australia’s peak body for international development is calling on the government to urgently boost development assistance to buffer against threats to the region and help our partners deal with climate change.

Australian Council for International Development CEO Marc Purcell called on the 2024-25 budget to double the nation’s foreign aid spend to strengthen Australia’s relationships in the Indo-Pacific.

“The foreign aid budget is at an all-time low as a proportion of overall government spending. Without a substantial boost, this is set to flatline from 2026 even as global demand for humanitarian and development assistance soars,” he said. 

“Australia is one of the least generous OECD aid donors, coming 28th place out of 31 nations. It is also at the back of the pack of foreign aid spending among G7 economies, AUKUS and Five Eyes partners.

“Failing to invest in foreign aid risks undermining Australia’s relationships with our neighbours, and its position as a trusted and respected regional partner. 

“As the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated, a threat that starts locally can quickly grow to threaten the region and the globe. Likewise, the impacts of climate change are not limited to one country or region. 

“Achieving strong outcomes on climate mitigation and adaptation, health, human rights and civil society engagement is in every country’s self-interest, including Australia’s.

“Australian NGOs play an important role in assisting low-income countries to address threats to human security. 

“Australia’s funding for humanitarian crises has stagnated while its contribution of climate assistance remains critically insufficient to meet its fair share of the global $100 billion goal decided by all parties of the Paris Agreement. The effects of climate change will have profound consequences for human development and human security at home, in the region and globally.

“To achieve global climate credibility, the government must dedicate the equivalent of the current foreign aid budget – $4 billion a year – towards climate mitigation and adaptation in the region by 2025. 

“This can be done without displacing current development funding through a simple redirection of  fossil fuel subsidies.”

ACFID’s pre-budget submission calls on the following measures to meet Australia’s commitment to boosting official development assistance to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income in 2024-25:

  • $150m to double Australia’s Humanitarian Emergency Fund contribution;

  • $350m towards meeting Australia’s fair share on humanitarian funding; 

  • $100m as an initial pledge for the global Loss and Damage Fund for developing nations;

  • $40m to expand locally-led climate adaptation programs; 

  • $50m for NGO-led impact investment funds; 

  • $60m to safeguard civic space and strengthen civil society;

  • $35m for Australia’s NGO Cooperation Program; 

  • $63.3m towards achieving LGBTQIA+ rights, gender equality and disability equity in Australia’s development program

For more information, contact Georgie Moore on 0477 779 928

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