Devpolicy news: FM on aid | Much aid works | PNG CMC funding

Foreign Minister: aid effectiveness the watch word

That was the promise from the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in her opening address to the 2014 AAIDP Workshop we hosted last week. Concluding her wide-ranging speech on future directions for Australian aid, the Minister said: “we want to see value for money – ‘effectiveness’ is the watch word.” Ms Bishop also outlined more details of the Government’s approach to benchmarking and to working with the private sector.

Riddell: much aid works

Roger Riddell gave a nuanced but ultimately positive answer to the question “Does aid really work?” in his keynote address to the Aid Workshop. “Not as well as it could, and not as well as it should” but “much aid has had a positive impact.” Riddell challenged donors to do better, but also challenged the lack of rigour of many of the criticisms of aid, based as they are “on partial and often poor data.” You can read Riddell’s blog post here, his speech here [pdf], and his paper here [pdf].

AAIDP Workshop wrap

Participation at the inaugural Australasian Aid and International Development Policy (AAIDP) Workshop far exceeded our expectations, and showed that interest in aid and international development is alive and well. Many thanks to our co-hosts The Asia Foundation, to co-convenor Joel Negin from Sydney University, to our hard-working organising team and to all speakers and chairs. We’ll be putting papers and presentations on the Workshop website in the coming days, and announcing our plans for 2015 once we’ve got the workshop evaluations in.

UPNG economics lecturer volunteering opportunity

Austraining has just advertised an Australian Volunteers for International Development position for an ”Economics Teaching and Research Fellow” to work in the Division of Economics of the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) for a period of one to two years. The assignment would be a terrific experience for any economist interested in development, with the opportunity to collaborate with Devpolicy thrown in. You have to be an Australian or NZ resident, and you can find the job here. Assignment Code: AV0214PG04P. Contact us if you have any questions.

Funding announced for PNG Family and Sexual Violence Case Management Centre

We are excited to report that Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop announced $3 million of funding over three years from the Australian aid program to establish the Papua New Guinea Family and Sexual Violence Case Management Centre (CMC), based in Lae.

The CMC is a new PNG-based NGO supported by the Development Policy Centre and the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University, in partnership with Oxfam. All funding from the Australian aid program will be going toward direct service delivery for survivors and related support costs, not to ANU.

The goal of the CMC is to improve access to and effectiveness of services for the survivors of family and sexual violence in PNG, initially in Lae. In line with this, the CMC will undertake three types of activities: case-management services for survivors of family and sexual violence; co-ordination with other service providers; and operations- and research-based advocacy.

For more details, visit the CMC website. You can also sign up for email updates on the project.

New policy brief on political settlements

In our first policy brief for 2014, Björn Dressel and Sinclair Dinnen discuss political settlements. They argue that although the concept offers great potential, its current unconditional embrace by the development community may not be wise. In their policy brief, they highlight four reservations, and call for more research and debate.

Read the blog here and download the paper here [pdf].

Upcoming events

2014 PNG Budget Forum

The next PNG Budget Forum will be held on Thursday 10 April at the National Research Institute in Port Moresby. The forum will analyse the 2014 budget, and also release the next round of analysis from the PEPE survey. More details coming soon.

2014 PNG and Pacific Update

The PNG Update will be held at the University of PNG in Port Moresby on 12-13 June and the Pacific Update will held at the ANU on 16-17 June. We have a call for papers out for the PNG Update. More details on both here.

Blog highlights

Robin Davies’ “post-surgical stocktake” of the current year aid budget cuts.

Matthew Dornan on the appallingly low levels of electricity access in the Pacific.

Aid transparency started well but ran out of steam under Labor.

Large numbers of medical students want to work overseas in development, but have nowhere to go.

How can Australian aid support reform? Neil McCulloch finds inspiration in the Philippines.

Blog summary

You can find a list of all posts since our last newsletter on 31 January in the list below.

Australian aid

Development entrepreneurship – a new model for the DFAT aid program? By Neil McCulloch.

Australia’s idealistic medical students: an under-exploited development opportunity? By Jonathan Pryke and Stephen Howes.

What happened to aid transparency under Labor? By Hanna Gillies, Jonathan Pryke and Stephen Howes.

Australia’s overseas aid program: a post-surgical stocktake by Robin Davies.

Pacific and PNG

Energy poverty and access to electricity in the Pacific: heading in the wrong direction? By Matthew Dornan.

Pacific Plan reviewed: what next? By Matthew Dornan.

Global development policy

Does foreign aid really work? An updated answer by Roger C. Riddell.

From arbiter to advocate: what the DAC’s 2013 expansion tells us about its future (Part 1) by Benjamin Day.

Four reservations about political settlements by Björn Dressel and Sinclair Dinnen.

Beyond human rights: ending child marriage as a development imperative by Ashlee Betteridge.

In brief

‘Political settlements’ implies an unrealistic permanence

DFAT releases APPRs and ODE reviews – at last

Australian aid and Cambodia’s troubled rail project

Australian Foreign Minister announces funding for PNG case management centre

Still more work to do on child rights, according to UNICEF report

Opportunity to work as a lecturer in economics at UPNG

Australasian Development Economics Workshop calling for papers

How a journalist reignited the Sachs-Easterly aid war

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