Canberra, Australia, February 18, 2014 — On February 13-14 in Canberra, The Asia Foundation and Development Policy Centre at Australian National University (ANU) hosted the 2014 Australian Aid and International Development Policy Workshop at the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU. The workshop brought together aid and international development policy researchers from across Australia, the Pacific and Asia to share insights, promote collaboration, and help develop the research community.
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop opened the conference, which was attended by more than 300 participants. In her remarks, Ms. Bishop outlined Australia’s aid priorities in a changing aid landscape: “Many traditional western donors are scaling back and new donors are emerging, so the donor aspect has shifted. These are facts that we can’t ignore but are also the driving factors behind this new aid paradigm. Australia has to be more strategic to be effective,” she said.
Keynote speaker Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC and 2012 Asia Foundation Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Visiting Fellow, emphasized the important role NGOS play in successfully improving Bangladesh’s maternal and child health strategies.
The Asia Foundation supported the participation of nine established and emerging development policy specialists from China, India, Korea and Thailand. A highlight of the conference was the plenary panel “Making their Mark: The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and Aid,” which highlighted how China and India are transforming the dynamics of development cooperation.
“Today, there’s no doubt that the global aid landscape is changing,” said Anthea Mulakala, Asia Foundation Director for International Development Cooperation and program panelist who presented on “The changing aid landscape in East Asia: the rise of Southern providers.”
Ms. Mulakala expanded on research The Asia Foundation conducted in 2013 on the changing aid landscape in eight East Asian countries–Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam–to determine the major trends of non-DAC providers.
“In East Asia, the changing aid landscape provides recipient countries with more choices in funding sources and instruments, particularly in the area of lending,” Ms. Mulakala said. “Partner countries are increasingly active in choosing projects and partners. Asian providers are popular with partner governments because they deliver with speed, impose few conditions, do not interfere in government policy, and focus on infrastructure and growth sectors.”