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2016 Australasian Aid Conference Convenes Leading Researchers on Global Development

January 27, 2016

By Stephen Howes, Camilla Burkot, Anthea Mulakala, and Joel Negin

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 for the 2016 Australasian Aid Conference. Now in its third year, the conference – co-sponsored by the Development Policy Centre and The Asia Foundation – is bigger and better than ever, with some 80 papers and 254 registered participants so far.

In many respects 2015 was a bumper year for global development policy, leaving us with no shortage of topics for discussion and debate. World Resources Institute Europe Office Director Kitty van der Heijden will touch on several of these, with a particular focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, in her keynote address on “forging a new development future.”

We’re also pleased to host, with the generous support of The Asia Foundation, several high-profile speakers from Korea and China as part of our plenary sessions. Eun Mee Kim of Ewha Womans University and Ye Jiang of Shanghai Jiao Tong University will provide us with insights on what the Sustainable Development Goals will mean specifically for Asia, while Teng Fei of Tsinghua University will join former Australian Special Envoy on Climate Change Howard Bamsey and our own Stephen Howes to discuss the outcomes of the Paris Climate Change Conference.

As in previous years, there’s also plenty of analysis of Australian aid policy on offer. After welcoming the foreign affairs minister and shadow minister to the last two conferences, we’re very pleased to give the floor to DFAT Secretary Peter Varghese to open this year’s conference. As one of our plenary sessions, we’ll launch the results of the 2015 Australian aid stakeholder survey. Former Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Bob McMullan will address our conference dinner.

We had to increase the number of parallel sessions from four to five and start early on day two to cope with the increased supply of papers. That makes for a total of 25 parallel sessions.

It’s invidious to single out individual sessions, but we are particularly excited that international researchers are increasingly looking to our conference as a venue to present their research. We have an entire session on aid to post-war Sri Lanka hosted by that country’s Centre for Poverty Analysis. We also have the Overseas Development Institute running a session on aid, recovery and state building.

We also have a record number of speakers joining us from countries as diverse as the UK, U.S., Indonesia, Japan, the Netherlands, Korea, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, China, Cambodia, Fiji, Myanmar, Spain, Lebanon, and Zambia. Check out our interactive map below to explore the full array of conference offerings.

It’s a global conference, covering the big themes of international development: the politics of development, migration and climate change. Of course aid features strongly, with sessions on aid effectiveness and a whole series of “aid and” sessions: local government, global health, agriculture, conflict, the private sector, research, governance, gender and public opinion.

Closer to home, the conference has a distinctly Asian flair, with sessions and papers on aid to Indonesia, aid to and from Asia, and Myanmar, among others. Even closer still there is a strong Pacific focus. Too often we try to force global solutions on the Pacific, but this time we’ll be looking at Pacific lessons for the global community, in education, health, financial management, and migration. We’ll also be scrutinizing Australia-Pacific relations.

So, don’t miss out. You can find all the details on registration here. We look forward to seeing you at the conference!

This article was first published on DevPolicy Blog.

Stephen Howes is the director of the Development Policy Centre, Camilla Burkot is a research officer at the Centre, Anthea Mulakala is The Asia Foundation’s director of International Development Cooperation programs, and Joel Negin is associate professor and acting head of school at the University of Sydney School of Public Health. Together, they are the co-convenors of the 2016 Australasian Aid Conference.


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