Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan, with the UN calling for an additional $4.4 billion in humanitarian support in the next month to avert catastrophe. Donations can be made to UNICEF or your international NGO of choice.The Guardian has a photo-essay on how food aid has worked to date
The Australasian Aid Conference took place in Canberra last week, with more than 350 participants and 100 speakers in attendance. You can watch a livestream of the plenary sessions from the two days, including Julie Bishop’s opening address.Roby Alders has won the inaugural Mitchell Humanitarian
A new report from the WHO has found that smoking costs the global economy more than US$1 trillion in health care costs and lost productivity annually. The UN is calling for an 'immediate and massive' reaction to the very real risk of a widespread famine in Somalia that could impact more than
The NY Times has run a profile of Jin Liquin, the inaugural head of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.A coalition of governments, philanthropists and business have announced $460 million of funding for an initiative that will focus on creating vaccines for infectious diseases that afflict
For many 2016 felt like a punch in the guts. Max Roser helps provide some perspective with his Our World In Data website. Writing for the Washington Post, he discusses why we are programmed to think things are getting worse and tend to ignore or overlook the slow transformations that change our
World Bank member countries have pledged $75 billion in lending to the world’s poorest countries over the next three years. This amount is 50% more than what was committed over the last three years. The increase will be financed through the Bank issuing debt to capital markets, the first time
The Australian has run a story, 'Power row engulfs Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank', about tensions between the Australian government and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) over the focus on renewable energy in the latter's proposed energy strategy. Most of the article
William Easterly writes for the New York Review of Books about why it is time for the war on poverty to separate itself from the war on terror (ungated version here.) Facebook has released high-resolution population maps for Ghana, Haiti, Malawi, South Africa, and Sri Lanka for their internet
The chaos caused by India’s sudden ban on high-end bank notes that represent 86% of all cash in circulation continues. The Economist warns that 'it could, in fact, turn out to be the worst mistake of Mr Modi’s career', while The Guardian assesses the political ramifications this will have on
COP 22 is underway in Marrakech. Carbon Brief provides a primer for what the latest UN Climate Change Conference expects to achieve.Despite concerns that it might back out, Australia announced last week at the summit that it will ratify the Paris climate agreement.Smoking cigarettes still causes
A damning report from the UN on its South Sudanese peacekeeping force has resulted in the sacking of their Kenyan commander, Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki. Kenya has responded by withdrawing its 1000 troops from the peacekeeping force of 13,000. Zimbabwe is becoming a cashless society, but not
The Economist discusses why the world should be both encouraged and embarrassed by the latest global poverty figures. It highlights that, were it somehow possible to transfer the right amount of money into the right hands without cost, just $159 billion a year would be needed to end
Mapping China’s opaque aid program in the Pacific Islands was more complicated and time-consuming than I had anticipated. I made peace with this fact when I found myself building a makeshift 270-degree visual cocoon out of every electronic device in my apartment so that I could cross-check the
The Clinton Foundation has been under the microscope over the last few months. Dylan Matthews takes a look at its record and details how it has undoubtedly had an impact in saving millions of live through playing a critical role in pushing down the cost of HIV/AIDS drugs in developing
Today the Lowy Institute’s Melanesia program launches a major update to the Institute’s flagship research mapping project on Chinese Aid in the Pacific.* The map now contains a decade of Chinese government aid activities in the Pacific Islands region, making it a valuable resource for
The Indian Government is proposing a basic income guarantee in India that it estimates would cost 0.3% of GDP. Maitreesh Ghatak argues that it would cost up to 11% of GDP, which is particularly worrying in a country where 'only 1% of Indians actually pay income tax, while a mere 2.3% file tax
By Chloe Hickey-Jones, an intern in the Institute's Melanesia Program.
The World Happiness Report for 2016 has been released. Australia is ranked in the top 10. Check it out here.The fourth annual Aid Budget Breakfast will take place this Wednesday 4 May, following the release of the latest
With the first Turnbull Government budget this week, it is important to take stock of the impact the Coalition government has had to date on Australia's aid program.
Perhaps the largest foreign policy legacy of the Abbott Government has been the impact it had upon Australian aid.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully addressed New Zealand's international priorities in a speech at the Lowy Institute. The minister discussed the importance of economic development, renewable energy and disaster readiness in the Pacific and talked about New Zealand's relationship with Fiji
Forty years after independence, Papua New Guinea is the largest single recipient of aid from Australia. Yet Australians seem to be largely ambivalent about the country. Few Australians know the history of our colonial rule in PNG and our ties to the country are being forgotten.
The recent outbreak of Zika virus and its spread to 23 countries — mainly in Latin America and the Caribbean — has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare Zika a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). On 1 February 2016 Director-General of the WHO, Margaret
Alastair Davis is an intern in the Lowy Institute Melanesia Program.
Political tension relating to payments to ex-combatants in the Solomon Islands has continued. PM Sogavare has responded forcefully to critics of his contribution towards peace in the Solomons.
Vanuatu Youth Against Corruption
The OECD has released full details of official aid flows for 2014. Foreign aid from OECD members totalled US$137.2 billion, a 1.2% increase in real terms over 2013. Less of that aid, however, appears to be going to the poorest countries.
Annie Duflo, the Director of Innovations for Poverty Action
The world’s first dengue fever vaccine, which in clinical trials has prevented up to 93% of severe dengue cases in people aged 6-45, is about to be released in Mexico, the Philippines and Brazil. Dengue fever causes about 25,000 deaths around the world annually.
The Economist has a piece
The WTO ended its Ministerial meeting in Nairobi in December and 'declined to reaffirm' its commitment to the Doha (otherwise known as the 'development') round of trade negotiations.
Heather Stewart says this is the clearest signal that the Doha negotiations, which began way back in 2001, are
To mark International Migrants’ Day on December 18 the World Bank released its Migration and Remittances Factbook for 2016 (summary available here). It’s packed full of statistics, and includes one of my favourite graphs exhibiting the importance of remittances as a source of development
COP 21 is over with a deal that has been heralded by world leaders as 'the best chance we have to save the one planet we have', while the expert consensus is that it 'has landed more or less where expected'. Robin Davies pours some cold water on praise for the deal by highlighting three big
MIT and Harvard economists have debunked the claim that aid funded welfare programs in developing countries make people lazy. Vox has a good summary.
Devpolicy has posted the second in a two part series looking at Australian development NGO expenditure, which I have co-authored. In this post we
The Commonwealth has announced its first female secretary-general, Baroness Patricia Scotland. The Baroness’ first task should be to beef up the effectiveness of their aid work as The Commonwealth has routinely ranked as one of the worst performing multilateral donors.
In the first of a two part
Australia is terrible at influencing its aid recipients, according to a massive survey conducted by AidData. Dramatic aid cuts have probably not helped.
Aid investments in governance have been a flagship of Australia’s in the 21st century. Sina Odugbemi from the World Bank asks if the
The Vanuatu corruption and pardon scandal continues, with 11 MPs released on bail after being arrested for conspiring to defeat the course of justice. Today, Vanuatu's Supreme Court Justice is set to rule on the constitutionality of Speaker Marcellino Pipite's decision to pardon himself and the 13
The awarding of the Nobel Prize in Economics to Angus Deaton, best known for bringing empirical rigour to the study of how individuals spend, save, and invest, and how those choices are connected to poverty, has prompted discussion of his views on aid. Deaton has been described as an aid sceptic,
The Asia Pacific is the most dynamic digital landscape in the world, home to the fastest adopters of new technologies and the largest concentration of mobile and social media users. An escalation in online activism, changing cyber dynamics, developments in digital diplomacy and the exploitation of
Fairfax Media's John Garnaut uncovered more detail on the controversial loan deal the O'Neill Government struck with UBS last year to purchase a stake in Oil Search. The deal has sparked tensions with landowners who claim it has jeopardised their share of royalties in the PNG LNG project, while two
In 2010 former Lowy Institute research fellow Fergus Hanson published a forward-looking policy brief urging Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to catch up to the rest of the world, join the 21st century and get online. Social media, he argued, is only one aspect of digital
On Monday, Prime Minister Turnbull unveiled a new cabinet with sweeping changes to the front bench. The most important point for the Pacific is that Julie Bishop retains her position as Foreign Minister, with an improved status in cabinet as one of the kingmakers of the new Government.
The G20 has become a key international forum since it was set up in 1999. When Australia began its presidency of the 2014 summit in Brisbane, many commentators suggested that Australia’s chairing of the G20 would reinvigorate it. This timely book looks at what that meeting achieved and what has
Following a community outcry over the plight of asylum seekers in Europe, the Australian Government has announced that it will resettle 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. This will be in addition to the annual refugee and humanitarian intake of 13,750. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the
Of Papua New Guinea's population of about 8 million, 80% are rural villagers who produce most of their own food. This makes them vulnerable to extreme weather events. Reports of severe impact on food crops from the recent frosts and ongoing drought in Papua New Guinea are coming from most areas in
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow.
While it's managing its response to serious economic challenges brought about by a budget deficit and drought, Papua New Guinea is preparing to host the Pacific Islands Forum leaders
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow.
Papua New Guinea has been in the international spotlight a lot in the last month and it has been almost all bad news. Revelations of a record budget deficit, the emerging worrying impact
As part of the 'Sectarianism and Religiously Motivated Violence' Masters course run by the Lowy Institute's Rodger Shanahan at ANU's National Security College, students are asked to write an article on contemporary sectarian conflict. This piece by William Stoltz was judged the best of those
The establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) reached another milestone on Monday when 50 of the 57 founding members signed the AIIB's Articles of Agreement. Seven countries are still sorting out domestic requirements before signing.
China's Finance Minister Jiwei Lou and
With the signing of the AIIB's Articles of Agreement in Beijing yesterday, how is the Bank shaping up? Here are some key things that struck me reading the Agreement:
The Bank's members are split into two groups: regional and non-regional. Regional members include those countries
While Beijing's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has won overwhelming support (to the surprise of many, including China itself), another bank headquartered in China seems to be flying under the world's radar.
Few people have heard of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB). This was the
This is part 4 of former Fairfax Media Indonesia correspondent Michael Bachelard's series on Papua. The introduction to the series is here and here are part 1, part 2 and part 3.
'In June last year, seven doctors were sent to this town, but five didn't want to come. In September they tried to
Papua New Guinea will commemorate 40 years of independence from Australia this year. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is using the anniversary to promote the changing nature of Australia's relationship with PNG. In a speech earlier this week she said:
There are challenges and
Last week the Lowy Institute hosted a speech by Australia's Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop. If you haven't already listened to it, you can do so here. It's worth staying tuned for the Q&A where Bishop skilfully handled a number of tough questions.
The speech itself was rather simple. The Foreign
The latest round of negotiations for the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change closed in Bonn last Friday with mixed results. With ten formal negotiating days left until crucial climate negotiations resume in Paris later this year, the clock is ticking.
Bonn Climate Change Conference, 1 June