Foreign Aid

Last month, government officials, NGO leaders, and development experts from more than 10 countries gathered in Beijing for the 14th meeting of the Asian Approaches to Development Cooperation (AADC). 

Asian NGOs Expand Global Influence

May 4, 2016


Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have long played a crucial role in development cooperation, both in delivery of services and in policy advocacy. According to the OECD DAC, in 2013, DAC members allocated $19.6 billion in official development assistance (ODA) to NGOs. The majority of this (almost $13 billion) was channeled through NGOs based in… Read more


Q&A: An Evolving Paradigm of South-South Cooperation

April 6, 2016


In March, The Asia Foundation’s director of International Development Cooperation program, Anthea Mulakala, joined more than 500 renowned scholars and experts from around the world for an international conference on South-South Cooperation (SSC) in New Delhi. In Asia editor Alma Freeman caught up with Mulakala to discuss how SSC is changing the int… Read more


New Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank Breaks Ground: What You Need to Know

January 27, 2016


The newly created Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) officially opened at a ceremony in Beijing on January 16. In Asia editor Alma Freeman spoke with The Asia Foundation’s International Development Cooperation program director, Anthea Mulakala, to find out what makes the bank unique, implications for development approaches, and how the bank could address Asia’s infrastructure deficit.


2016 Australasian Aid Conference Convenes Leading Researchers on Global Development

January 27, 2016


It’s not often that Canberra can be described as an international crossroads. But on February 10-11 it will be a hotbed of discussion when researchers and practitioners from across Asia, the Pacific, and beyond converge on The Australian National University…

Aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015. The Asia Foundation and its sister organization Give2Asia are working to provide emergency relief and a comprehensive assessment of needs. 

Aid and Recovery in Post-Earthquake Nepal

October 28, 2015


On Monday, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit South Asia, its epicenter in northeastern Afghanistan, devastating many areas, killing hundreds and injuring thousands. Just six months ago, on April 25, in similarly difficult and remote terrain, a 7.8-magnitude quake struck Nepal.


Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations: Why They Matter, How Aid Can Help

July 29, 2015


Where governments do not function well, growth and sustainable development are rare, and destructive, violent conflicts are more likely. Working in such fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCASs) – common across Asia and the Pacific – requires development agencies, including ADB, to do business differently.


A Conversation with KOICA President Kim Young-mok

June 17, 2015


South Korea, a once-impoverished and war-torn nation that has grown to become an economic powerhouse and a provider of international assistance, is one of Asia’s great success stories, and The Asia Foundation has been a partner in that remarkable transformation since 1954.


American Foreign Policy and American Education

May 13, 2015


Two reports with ungainly titles and ostensibly nothing to do with each other were released by U.S. federal agencies last month. Together, these two reports should provoke a moment of reflection by anyone interested in the future of U.S. foreign policy.


A Conversation with Dr. Rajiv Shah

April 29, 2015


Recently retired after five years at the helm of USAID, Rajiv Shah brought new energy and improved morale, and earned bipartisan Congressional support as director of the United States’ premier development agency. Shah emphasized measurement, transparency, and outcomes in development spending, and he championed the idea that development dollars should build local institutions within developing countries.


A Conversation with KDI’s Joon-Kyung Kim on Korea’s Growth Potential

February 25, 2015


Last week, Joon-Kyung Kim, president of leading economic policy think tank, the Korea Development Institute (KDI) and the KDI School of Public Policy and Management, visited The Asia Foundation’s headquarters in San Francisco for a signing ceremony to extend the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)…


A New Era of Development Finance

February 11, 2015


The global development landscape has changed dramatically in the last 15 years. In 2000, bilateral Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors (UK, U.S., Japan, France) and multilateral institutions like the World Bank dominated the provision of aid. Today, the face of aid is increasingly Asian.


As Aid Landscape Shifts, Security and Justice Programs Remain Critical in Timor-Leste

February 11, 2015


In October, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Jose Ramos-Horta, former president of Timor-Leste, Nobel Peace laureate, and former head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Guinea Bissau…


Asia Foundation & ANU Host Australasian Aid Conference

February 4, 2015


On Feb. 12-13, The Asia Foundation and the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University (ANU) will bring together over 200 researchers, academics, and private and government aid practitioners for the 2015 Australasian Aid Conference in Canberra. With 63 papers spread over some 20 plenary and panel sessions, session topics will in… Read more


Ten Reasons Not to Miss This Year’s Aid Conference

January 21, 2015


We held our first Australasian Aid Conference a year ago. In fact, we called it a workshop, because we thought it would be a rather small affair. Instead, we got 50 papers and 250 participants, and we’re doing it again this year, from February 12-13 at Australian National University…


A Conversation with World Learning CEO, Development Expert, & Trustee Donald Steinberg

September 10, 2014


In Asia editor Alma Freeman sat down last month with The Asia Foundation’s new trustee, Donald Steinberg, president and CEO of World Learning, and former deputy administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, White House Deputy Press Secretary, and U.S. ambassador to Angola.


Subnational Conflict: New Approaches Needed

August 13, 2014


In last week’s In Asia, I examined how the rise of Asia in recent decades has been accompanied by a growth in deadly subnational conflicts (SNCs). These conflicts are occurring across the continent, including in middle-income and otherwise stable states. Democratization has not been a cure. Asia’s subnational conflicts last twice as long as those elsewhere in the world.


China’s Second White Paper on Foreign Aid Signals Key Shift in Aid Delivery Strategy

July 23, 2014


On July 10, 2014, China released its much-awaited white paper on foreign aid on foreign aid. In recent years, Chinese foreign aid has been a subject of scrutiny and even controversy. As the world’s fastest rising power, China has sharply expanded its foreign aid spending in both scale and scope over the last decade.


Reexamining Growth and Poverty in Myanmar

June 25, 2014


International data indicate that Myanmar’s current growth rate is about 7 percent, which by any measure should indicate progress and pride. Macroeconomic reforms have been extensive. The unrealistic legal exchange rate, which at one point was about 150 times…


How Politics Can Outmaneuver Reform in the Philippines

March 12, 2014


Over the past two years, the Philippines has achieved the distinction of being the fastest growing of the ASEAN-6 economies with growth rates of 6.8 percent in 2012 and 7.2 percent in 2013. The official poverty rate in the Philippines was 27.9 percent in 2012 and 28.8 percent in 2006; levels which were interpreted this way…


60 Years of Japanese Development Assistance: Challenges and Opportunities Ahead

February 19, 2014


This year marks the 60th anniversary of Japan’s overseas development assistance. Looking back, Japan’s trajectory from a development assistance recipient to donor is without parallel. In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Japan was a major recipient of U.S. and international assistance.


The Rise of Asia’s Southern Providers in East Asia

February 12, 2014


Today, there’s no doubt that the global aid landscape is changing. Aid from traditional donors to Asia is declining, with total global aid falling by 6 percent since its high point in 2010. Meanwhile, the volume of development cooperation from non-OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members is increasing.


Survey of Victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan Defies Preconceptions

February 5, 2014


It is perhaps unusual for survey research to provoke demonstrations denouncing the results, but that is precisely what happened last month when Social Weather Stations issued a survey release showing that victims of Typhoon Haiyan, “Yolanda” in the Philippines…


Philippines to the World: Thanks for Haiyan Help

January 29, 2014


Super Typhoon Haiyan, “Yolanda” in the Philippines, drew intense international media attention, including a controversial visit by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. The international community responded with generous assistance amounting to (including current pledges) almost a billion dollars.


Afghanistan’s Complex Women’s Rights Discourse

December 4, 2013


Are women’s rights and gender equality universal or culturally and geographically confined to the West? Are there certain cultures and political systems that are inherently misogynistic? Are the concerns of Western powers’ about women’s rights sincere or are they an instrument to pursue their own political objectives against their rivals?


Devastation in the Philippines

November 13, 2013


On November 8, Typhoon Yolanda (known internationally as Haiyan) struck central Philippines, particularly the eastern coasts of the islands of Leyte and Samar, carrying winds close to 200 mph and causing a massive storm surge that flattened entire towns and devastated communities in its wake. Yolanda is said to be one of the most powerful storms ever to hit land. The official death toll stands at more than 2,300, but local officials warn that number could increase significantly. An estimated 8 million people have been affected and 600,000 are displaced. Most visible is the plight of residents of coastal Tacloban – Leyte’s capital city and regional economic hub – who are struggling to find the most basic of services: food, water, shelter, and electricity.


Community-Driven Development: A New Deal for Communities in the Asia-Pacific

November 13, 2013


The Asia Foundation, in partnership with Australian Aid, World Bank, and SMERU, a leading Indonesian research institute, recently hosted a four-day regional conference…


What Does Community-Driven Development Deliver? Lessons from a Balinese Village

November 13, 2013


Early this month, I boarded a bus to visit the Balinese village of Sobangan to see in action the impact from a decade of Community-Driven Development (CDD), an approach that delivers public funds directly to the village level and allows citizens to determine priorities for social services and economic development.


Give2Asia Launches Typhoon Yolanda Recovery Fund

November 13, 2013


The Asia Foundation’s philanthropic partner, Give2Asia, has launched the Typhoon Yolanda Recovery Fund to support the victims of the typhoon that struck the Philippines on November 8. Give2Asia is identifying the most urgent needs for relief, as well as short-term and long-term community recovery, and is defining projects in partnership with local… Read more


Back from APEC, Pres. David Arnold Discusses Private Sector & Sustainable Development

October 16, 2013


Last week, Asia Foundation President David Arnold joined over 1,200 CEOs and 10 heads of member economies at the annual APEC CEO Summit in Indonesia to discuss inclusive and sustainable development, with a special focus on the importance of women in Asia’s growth trajectory.


Photo Blog: Zamboanga City Begins Recovery Through Inter-Faith Efforts

October 16, 2013


October 15 was a national holiday in the Philippines to celebrate Eid’l Adha, the Muslim festival of the sacrifice. The day was also tragically marked by an earthquake in central Philippines, one consequence of which was considerable damage to historic churches…


Photo Blog: Relief Efforts in Zamboanga City

October 2, 2013


The ongoing conflict in Zamboanga City, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, which started on Sept. 9, 2013, has displaced 110,687 people, damaged more than 10,000 homes, and left more than 200 dead, among them soldiers, rebels, and civilians…


Engaging China in International Development Cooperation

August 21, 2013


As the world’s fastest rising power, China has sharply expanded its foreign aid spending in both scale and scope over the last decade. As China emerges as a major player in the field of foreign aid, longstanding “established” Western donors have begun to seize the opportunity to engage China in development cooperation in an effort to form new joint-venture programs and facilitate mutual understanding. Such cooperation and linking of resources could play a significant role in improving aid quality and effectiveness throughout the developing world. It could also help both China and established Western donors learn from each other in the rapidly evolving aid landscape.


New Round of Talks Gives Hope for Peace in Thailand’s South

June 19, 2013


After nearly a decade of deadly conflict in Thailand’s Deep South, Thai officials and insurgent groups met in Kuala Lumpur last week for the third round of peace talks in hopes of finding common ground to end the violence. While both sides agreed to reduce violence during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which starts next month, few concrete solutions emerged. The Thai government has been requesting a cessation or reduction of violence since discussions began on March 28, 2013, but judging from the ongoing violence on the ground, and the apparent inability by the self-proclaimed separatist leaders to influence the militants on the ground, this upcoming Ramadan is likely to be a significant test for the Barisan Revolusi Nacional (BRN) separatist movement.


Confidence in Mindanao Peace Process Fragile

June 19, 2013


While the peace process in Mindanao has made tremendous progress over the past year, including the signing of a Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, there is still a long way to go. The current stage can be described as a “fragile transition,” where there is significant progress in the negotiation of a final settlement to the conflict…


The Right Kind of Development: Building Peace in Thailand and Beyond

June 12, 2013


The Asia Foundation’s new study, “The Contested Corners of Asia,” highlights the growing importance of conflicts that occur within rather than between countries. In recent years, subnational conflicts between national governments and local rebel groups…


Lessons from Aceh: Early Focus on Institutions Critical to Cementing Peace

June 12, 2013


Aceh – Indonesia’s western-most province which endured three decades of a secessionist civil war that left at least 15,000 dead – is frequently cited as the best recent example in Asia of a successful peace process. However, eight years after the Helsinki accord brought an end to the conflict, new forms of localized violence are now emerging.


Data Visualization Site Examines Asia’s Subnational Conflicts

June 12, 2013


In conjunction with The Asia Foundation’s new study, “The Contested Corners of Asia: Subnational Conflict and International Development Assistance,” a just launched data visualization website provides further insight into one of the most pressing challenges in Asia today.


The Future of Armed Conflict

June 5, 2013


The Asia Foundation just launched a major new study on development and subnational conflict in Asia. “The Contested Corners of Asia” argues that subnational conflict is the most widespread, deadly, and enduring form of conflict in Asia, and that increasing development and expanding state capacity do not make these conflicts any easier to resolve. A product of a three-year research effort, the study involved nearly 100 researchers, leading subnational conflict experts…


A New Aid Order in the Asian Century

May 29, 2013


The future of “traditional” aid is increasingly and rather suddenly in question. Why? Several reasons: rapid transformations in the global economic and political order, the growth and diversification of private financial flows to developing countries…


New Study to Reveal Impact of Foreign Aid on Asia’s Enduring Subnational Conflicts

May 29, 2013


On June 3 in Bangkok, The Asia Foundation will release a major new study, “The Contested Corners of Asia,” that examines subnational conflict, now the most deadly, widespread, and enduring form of violent conflict in Asia.


In 21st Century Asia, Civil Society Blossoms

May 22, 2013


With ongoing tensions in Northeast Asia – North Korea threatening war, pervasive struggles over island territory, and disputes over history and trade – there is a temptation to grow impatient with dialogue and diplomacy. But for more than 60 years, economic growth, peace, and stability in this region…


Korea Leads Way for Asia’s Green Growth

April 24, 2013


The conference in the Asian Approaches to Development Cooperation dialogue series convened in Seoul, South Korea, this month, and brought together development experts and senior government officials to discuss climate change mitigation, green growth, and adapting to and building resilience to natural disasters. This dialogue series, co-organized by The Asia Foundation and the Korea Development Institute (KDI), brings together both “emerging” and “traditional” development actors to discuss international development challenges. This year’s focus on effective cooperation for deterring the impacts of climate change was launched in Seoul, fittingly, as South Korea is playing a leading role in low-carbon development in the Asia-Pacific region.


Asian Development Cooperation: Insights from Australia

December 5, 2012


While the Asian Century is most often used to describe the global shift of economic power to Asia, Asia’s rise is also significant in the area of development cooperation. Asian countries have emerged as game changers in the aid arena, challenging traditional notions of aid, reshaping global aid architecture…

Boy tightening bag to horse 

The New Face of Foreign Aid in Asia

October 24, 2012


A sea change is unfolding in the world of foreign aid. Emerging powers, particularly China and India, are challenging longstanding aid principles held by the United States, the United Kingdom, and other established donors. Ironically, amid this shifting landscape, opportunities exist for increased cooperation between established and emerging aid providers, including in the field of governance. Such cooperation would not only help to address pressing humanitarian challenges in Asia, but could improve the quality and impact of aid throughout the developing world.

The Asia Foundation Philippines 

Asia Shows Courage for Change

October 24, 2012


Earlier this month, I attended the 2012 IMF-World Bank annual meeting in Tokyo for the first time and, as expected, talks about the eurozone crisis dominated discussions. However, some very compelling conversations revolving around Asia’s role in this environment and beyond…


Waves of Rohingya Refugees Highlight Refugee Problems Across Asia

June 20, 2012


Today is World Refugee Day. This year’s commemoration coincides with ongoing ethnic violence targeting Rohingya Muslims in western Burma (also known as Myanmar). Ethnic clashes in Rakhine State have left at least 50 dead and 30,000 displaced.

India 2009 - Karl Grobl 

Emerging Economies like India’s Make Aid Recipients the New Donors

February 29, 2012


Rapid economic growth in Asia and other developing regions of the world is triggering a sea change in international aid. Countries that were once beneficiaries of assistance are now emerging as donors themselves, while traditional donors are reassessing their objectives and modalities in order to stay relevant. Nowhere is this more evident than in India. India is widely viewed as an economic success story, which is certainly true on one level. Growth for the current year is projected around 7 percent, and was averaging 9 percent before the last global economic downturn.


Malaysia’s South-South Cooperation Leaves Lasting Effects Far and Wide

November 30, 2011


This story is one that I have shared many times before. Years ago, I found myself walking through a stunning village in Bazarak, Panjshir Valley – home of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud – over 50 miles from Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. I was there to help monitor preparations for the 2004 presidential elections.


Giving Foreign Aid Helps Korea

November 30, 2011


When times are tough, it’s difficult to settle into a charitable mood. At the mention of global aid, people grumble that we can’t even afford to care for our needy at home. But as with individual lives, a nation needs to look beyond immediate concerns in forging a path for the future.


Is There an Asian Approach to Development Cooperation?

April 6, 2011


Over the last several months, the Korea Development Institute (KDI) and The Asia Foundation have held dialogues on Asian approaches to development cooperation. The idea for the dialogues, which brings together development experts from Korea, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, grew out of concern over the absence of perspectives…