Overview of Australia's aid program to Palau

How we are helping

2014/15 Bilateral Outcome for North Pacific
$4.7 million

2015/16 Bilateral Budget Estimate for North Pacific
$5.0 million

2015/16 Total Australian ODA Estimate for North Pacific
$12.0 million

Australia and Palau share a common interest in supporting economic and human development. The two countries enjoy a close bilateral relationship supported by shared regional interests, particularly ensuring maritime and transnational security, tourism development and the protection of Palau’s pristine marine environment. The physical spread of Palau’s islands and their small scattered populations present particular development challenges: transport and communication costs are high and the skills base is limited, particularly outside the capital, Ngerulmud. As a regional neighbour, Australia is well placed to work closely with the Government of Palau and civil society organisations to support the country’s development.

Australia’s aid program in the North Pacific is focused on Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.  The Australian Government will provide an estimated $12.0 million in total Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the North Pacific in 2015–16. This will include an estimated $3.3 million total ODA for Palau in 2015–16, which will include an estimated $1.2 million in bilateral aid and an estimated $2.1 million from regional programs.

Australia’s regional programs are closely linked and complementary to our bilateral programs across the Pacific. Our regional programs assist Palau including through, amongst other things: support for fisheries management via the Forum Fisheries Agency; support to prepare for and mitigate the impacts of severe climate, tidal and oceanographic events through the Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific; and support for strengthening governance and accountability through the Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration, the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre and the Pacific Regional Audit Initiative.

Many Palauans cannot access health, education or work opportunities. The threat of explosive remnants of war (left over from WWII) is also a major safety concern for communities and tourists on Palau, as well as being a constraint on development.  Australia is supporting Palau to overcome these development challenges and to improve the livelihoods and security of the Palauan people.

Australia’s bilateral aid investments in Palau support the following objectives:

Objective 1: Remove explosive remnants of war (ERW) (total value of $4.5 million over 5 years, starting 2011–12)

This investment aims to provide a safe environment for the people of Palau and remove a major constraint to development. Since 2012, Australia has assisted Palau to carry out the removal of ERW in Palau, including capacity development of local workers in locating, removing and destroying ERW. Australia also supports the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EDO) Training School on the island of Peleliu to train local removal experts and, in the future, to assist other Pacific countries with their EDO needs. 

Objective 2: Improve the quality of the teacher workforce

Australia is working with the Palau government to improve the qualifications and quality of teaching staff, including increased opportunities for women. We are doing this through the procurement of teaching support materials; the provision of advisers to support teacher training in mathematics and English as a second language; the development of new improved teaching strategies; and through developing a best practices curriculum as part of teaching associate degree requirements. 

Objective 3: Improve competency and skills base of health sector workforce

Australia and the Palau government are committed to successfully implementing Palau’s Public Health Strategic Plan, by creating a suitably skilled workforce, including increased opportunities for women. An Australian adviser has helped to assess the capability of nurses and other key elements of the health sector workforce in Palau and a human resource development plan for the sector to ensure health sector staff are appropriately qualified. Australia also supported a major program of nurse training that has resulted in a substantial increase in the number of nurses with appropriate qualifications.

Objective 4: Gender equality

Australia is working to address issues of gender equality in Palau by funding priority initiatives under the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Palau Country Plan 2015–18. This is part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development regional program which commits $320 million over 10 years to improve the political, economic and social opportunities of Pacific women in 14 Pacific countries.  The Palau country plan aims to foster the economic empowerment of women by increasing the participation of women in public life and decision making and reducing the incidence of gender based violence.

Our results

Our results for 2014–15 will be updated later this year.  Australia's aid program has contributed to the following results.

  • Australia’s ongoing commitment to action on ERW has resulted in the removal of close to 20,000 ERW from Koror and Peleliu.
  • Following the successful upgrading of the Teaching-English-to-Speakers-of-Other-Languages (TESOL) curriculum, the mathematics curriculum has been reviewed and appropriate strategies are being implemented to improve teaching qualifications of math teachers.
  • A national Health Human Resource Development Plan was endorsed, and the College of Health established operations in upskilling health workers.
  • Since 1992, 32 Australian scholarship awardees from Palau have completed tertiary studies in Australia and the region.

Our changing program

Our changing aid program in Palau reflects the priorities of the Palau Government as well as Australia’s new aid policy. The program will have an increased focus on economic growth as we expand our support for economic infrastructure, in line with Australia’s economic diplomacy agenda. We have been providing initial technical support for the Palau-FSM ICT Connectivity Project (a joint World Bank-Asian Development Bank initiative) through Australia’s regional Pacific program, and plan to expand our engagement in this sector through the bilateral program in the future.

The Australian bilateral aid program for Palau will also ramp up funding for priority initiatives under the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Palau Country Plan 2015–18, under the Australian Government’s Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development initiative.

Our aid investments focus on key enablers for economic growth, social stability and development in Palau. We will work together to ensure development resources are effectively and transparently managed.