Tuesday 16 Jul 2019 | 16:34 | SYDNEY
What's happening on

About the project

A focus on Pacific Islands has been a central component of the Lowy Institute’s work for more than a decade. We research contemporary challenges facing the Pacific islands region in areas including geostrategic competition, sustainable economic development, governance and leadership challenges, poverty alleviation, and Australia’s relationship with Pacific countries and organisations. We also hold major conferences, workshops, dialogues and exchanges. We have produced influential work on Australia’s Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, the 2006 Fiji Coup, normalising Australia’s bilateral relationship with Fiji, Australia’s bilateral relationship with Papua New Guinea, the future development challenges of Papua New Guinea, the economic benefits of greater labour mobility between Australia and the South Pacific, security and resilience dynamics in the Pacific, and foreign aid flows in the Pacific.

The Institute manages four major projects focusing on the Pacific:

The Pacific Research Program (PRP) is a consortium partnership between the Lowy Institute and the Australian National University’s Department of Pacific Affairs and Development Policy Centre, with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The PRP is designed to be a globally pre-eminent centre of excellence for research on the Pacific. More details are available here.

The Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is designed to enhance aid effectiveness in the Pacific.

The Australia-PNG Network is a project supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, designed to foster people-to-people links between Australia and Papua New Guinea. More details are available here.

The South Pacific Fragile States Project was a project supported by the Department of Defence to produce independent research and forward looking analysis on the key drivers of instability in the South Pacific and the associated security challenges for Australia and the wider region. More details are available here.


The Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map is an analytical tool designed to enhance aid effectiveness in the Pacific by improving coordination, alignment, and accountability of foreign aid through enhanced transparency of aid flows. The Pacific Aid Map has collected data on close to 13,000 projects in 14 countries supplied by 62 donors from 2011 onwards. All data has been made freely available on this interactive platform, allowing users to investigate and manipulate the information in a variety of ways. The Pacific Aid Map is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Lowy Institute Pacific Aid map is available here.

Country profiles from Pacific Islands countries can be found here.

See the Chinese Aid in the Pacific map here.



Latest publications

2013 Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue: Outcomes report

The Lowy Institute hosted the inaugural Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue on 26 November 2013. The Dialogue was convened with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and was an initiative that arose from the 2012 Papua New Guinea-Australia Ministerial Forum. Twenty-two emerging leaders from Papua New Guinea and Australia, from across the business, government, media and non-government sector, participated in the Dialogue.

The Dialogue focused on four main themes:  Growing the economy and attracting investment in the Asian Century; Politics and accountability – new expectations; National infrastructure challenges – new approaches; Reform and innovations in the delivery of health and education services.

Charity begins at home

Lowy Institute Research Associate Dr Philippa Brant writes for Foreign Affairs about why China's foreign aid won't replace the West's.

The full article is available here.

Peter O’Neill’s refugee gamble

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill either played a blinder or sowed the seeds for social turmoil when he signed off on the Regional Resettlement Arrangement with Australia last week.  If the arrangement does stop the flow of asylum seekers to Australia, then Mr O’Neill will have secured a chunk of additional aid and more leverage with the Australian government and not have to do much in return.  But it is a risky bet.

A new aid order in the Asian Century: reflections on The Future of International Development in the Asia Pacific conference, 9-10 May 2013

The Lowy Institute, together with The Asia Foundation and the Development Policy Centre at ANU, co-hosted the conference The Future of International Development in the Asia Pacific in Melbourne on 9-10 May 2013.

Below is a summary of the conference proceedings and reflections on the main themes, written by Nonresident Fellow Annmaree O'Keeffe, Anthea Mulakala from The Asia Foundation, Robin Davies from the Development Policy Centre, and Graham Brown of the Nossal Institute for Global Health.

China no rival in the battle for island influence

In an opinion piece in The Australian, Jenny Hayward-Jones writes that instead of speculating on the hidden intentions of China’s growing engagement with the Pacific Islands region, Canberra's priority should be to assist Pacific Island countries maximise the economic benefits of China's new role.