April news: ADB v G20 | Aid under the Coalition | Upcoming events | Blog redesign | Aid stakeholder survey | Fear in Sri Lanka

ADB v G20

In 2009, the G20 decided that all multilaterals would have an “open, transparent and merit-based process” to select their presidents. The World Bank, IMF and EBRD have all gone at least some distance to comply with this diktat. But, as Devpolicy’s Stephen Howes, Robin Davies, and Ashlee Betteridge note in this Business Asia op ed, not the ADB. The position of ADB president became vacant late February. There appears to be only one nominee for a replacement, from Japan (as usual), and the ADB has said that even if there was more than one nominee, they wouldn’t be releasing names. One plausible reason for this unedifying process is fear of Chinese domination. This would explain the early support by the Philippines and Indonesia for the presidency staying with Japan. If so, it is bad news not just for the ADB, but for the future of Asian co-operation.

Aid under the Coalition

What would Australian aid look like under the Coalition? With elections in September, this is an increasingly important question. It’s one Stephen Howes addressed in this recent Canberra Times article. His conclusion is that a Coalition government “could definitely be a force for good aid, particularly if it can reinvigorate the effectiveness agenda” which it set going in 2006, the last time it was in Office. But if the Coalition “pushes hard on the national-interest front to link aid more narrowly to strategic or commercial objectives, then aid effectiveness will suffer.”

Child protection in Afghanistan
Tuesday 7 May @ 12.30pm
Brindabella Theatre, Level 2, JG Crawford Building 132, Lennox Crossing, ANU

Kerry Boland, a consultant to UNHCR and UNICEF, and author of Children on the Move, about children of Afghan origin moving to western countries, will talk about her experience building formal and informal mechanisms for child protection in Afghanistan.

2013/14 aid budget forum
Wednesday May 15 @ 8.30am
Canberra/Springbank room, Level 1, JG Crawford Building 132, Lennox Crossing, ANU

The annual budget is the most important event of the year for the aid sector. And it is a time when the entire sector converges on Canberra for the budget lock up. If you’re coming to Canberra for the budget, or if you’re a resident here, come to the morning-after aid budget breakfast at the ANU to hear fresh but in-depth analysis on what the budget means for the sector. The Development Policy Centre will present its analysis. We will also hear from Mel Dunn, the General Manager International Development at URS and Chair of International Development Contractors (IDC) Australia, and from Helen Szoke, the new head of Oxfam. There will be a Q&A, as well as breakfast.

The Future of International Development in Asia and the Pacific
May 9-10
Woodward Centre, University of Melbourne, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton

By examining the future of international development in Asia and the Pacific, looking beyond 2015, this conference will seek to make a distinctly regional contribution to the global post-MDG discussions. There will be a panel discussion on the evening of May 9 that will be open to the public, followed by an invitation-only conference on Friday May 10. The event is co-hosted by the Asia Foundation, the Australian National University, the Lowy Institute, and the University of Melbourne.

The ANU and University of Melbourne are also offering five scholarships for students from each university to attend the conference, including the closed door sessions. More information can be found here.

Pacific and PNG updates 2013: new dates

The 2013 Pacific and PNG Update will now be held on the 27th and 28th of June in Canberra. Details and registration will be available soon. The Updates are designed to bring together leading thinkers and policy makers from Australia, the Pacific and Papua New Guinea.  Details of the 2012 Pacific Update are available here. The Update is supported by the Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies Journal and by the Asian Development Bank.

The Update will be back-to-back with the 25-26th of June State of the Pacific conference, also at the ANU.

Blog re-design and buzzes

After nearly two and half years of operation, we are overhauling the Development Policy Blog. We aim to launch the new design in mid-May. If you have suggestions, contact Ashlee Betteridge. One change we are going to make is to replace our round-ups or buzzes by a more regular flow of in-brief commentary and analysis debate, in addition to our regular op-ed blog posts. To make this change possible, we have halted our “buzzes” for April, except for the Pacific buzz, co-produced with the Pacific Institute of Public Policy.

Australian aid stakeholder survey

This year, the Development Policy Centre will be running the first Australian aid stakeholder survey. This is a new instrument we will be trialling (new for Australia and possibly internationally) to gauge the effectiveness of the Australian aid program, and suggestions for improvement. It’s essentially a type of crowd-sourcing, where the crowd in this case are stakeholders in the Australian aid program. We think that collating the views of the sector in a systematic way should be a worthwhile and constructive exercise.

The survey will be launched in June after a pilot in May. It will cover views on: the aid budget, the aid program, AusAID, and that part of aid program with which the respondent is engaged.

The survey will be conducted online and under a guarantee of anonymity. Some participants will be pre-selected; all are welcome to volunteer. In the coming month we will be requesting feedback on the survey questionnaire and piloting the survey. For more information please contact Jonathan Pryke.

Avoiding four degrees

On March 21, Rachel Kyte, Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank, spoke at a Devpolicy public lecture, argued that “Climate change threatens to roll back decades of development and it will be the poor in every country who will suffer most.” She said more work was needed to effectively communicate the threat of climate change, and to create an “authorising environment” to support the changes needed to enable green growth. A podcast of the seminar is available here, blog summary here and interview here.

Fear in Sri Lanka 

Our latest Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper DP27 “Elephants, tigers and safety in post-conflict Sri Lanka” explores safety in post-conflict Sri Lanka. There are lots of anecdotal stories of how good (or bad) things are in this region, but no-one has done a systematic survey, until now. Dinuk Jayasuriya of the Development Policy Centre and John Gibson of Waikato University use a technique which makes it more likely respondents will answer sensitive questions honestly. As summarized in this post, when asked directly, 19% of Tamils and only 4% of Sinhalese in the post-conflict areas surveyed say that they are fearful of “death, abduction and torture.” But if asked using this indirect technique, the numbers shoot up to 29% for both groups. This indicates the importance of using the technique, and also suggests that violence in post-conflict Sri Lanka may be due more to a general breakdown in law and order in post-conflict areas than to ethnic targeting. 

Blog posts

Here is a list of Devpolicy blog posts (organised thematically) since our last newsletter, a month ago.

Blog digest

March blog digest: Countdown to the May budget | Fear and violence by Stephen Howes.


The future of aid: not all about the money? By Joel Negin.

A once-in-a-generation opportunity: the final push to end polio by Bruce Aylward.

CoST’s benefits: an interview with Chrik Poortman by Chrik Poortman and Robin Davies.

Careers in development: an interview with AusAID Chief Economist Michael Carnahan by Michael Carnahan and Jonathan Pryke.

UK high jump to 0.7 per cent shows Australia how it’s done by Robin Davies and Jonathan Pryke.

Aid, democracy and rights by Terence Wood.


Myanmar: on the move by Tony Swan.

Avoiding four degrees by Ashlee Betteridge.

Measuring fear in post-conflict environments: evidence from Sri Lanka by Dinuk Jayasuriya.


When Monsoon Asia met Melanesia (and Dutch Hollandia became Asian Jayapura) by John Conroy.

Against public objections, Solomons MPs give themselves bigger slush funds by Tony Hughes.

In conversation with Sir Mekere Morauta by Tess Newton Cain.

Lifting skills in the Pacific: using infrastructure procurement for skills transfer by Richard Curtain.

We think it might work, but will it be implemented? By Steve Pollard.

A big day in the region by Tess Newton Cain.


Another Port Moresby community bulldozed by Michelle Nayahamui Rooney.

Reflections on the PNG Budget Forum: Can devolved funding be effectively utilised by Colin Wiltshire.

PNG slowdown pushing regional growth lower in the Pacific in 2013 by Christopher Edmonds and Aaron Batten.

What do big miners contribute to Papua New Guinea’s development? By Margaret Callan.

Sexual violence in Lae: impunity and resistance by Stephen Howes and Kamalini Lokuge.

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