Overview of Australia's aid program to Palau

How we are helping

2015-16 Total Australian ODA Estimated Outcome for North Pacific
$10.0 million

2016-17 Bilateral Budget Estimate for North Pacific
$5.0 million

2016-17 Total Australian ODA Estimate for North Pacific
$9.8 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 $9.8 million in total Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the North Pacific in 2016-17. This will include an estimated $5 million in bilateral funding to the North Pacific.

Australia’s regional programs complement 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 readily access quality health and/or education services 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: Reduce the threat of explosive remnants of war (ERW)

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: Achieving gender equality and enhancing women’s empowerment

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.

Objective 3: Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector reform

Australia has provided initial technical support for the Palau-FSM ICT Connectivity Project through our Pacific Regional program. Australia is seeking to build on this work, through our bilateral program, working in partnership with the World Bank. In particular, we are working to further support the Government of Palau in its efforts to reform its ICT sector, aimed at delivering better quality services and improve access to services.

Our results

Our results for 2015–16 will be updated later this year. Australia's aid program has contributed to:

  • the removal of close to 20,000 explosive remnants of war (ERW) from Koror and Peleliu
  • upgrading of the Teaching-English-to-Speakers-of-Other-Languages (TESOL) curriculum. Also Australia contributed to a review of the mathematics curriculum, and the implementation of strategies to improve teaching qualifications of mathematics teachers
  • the drafting and endorsement of a national Health Human Resource Development Plan, strengthening health sector human resource management, and the provision of nurse education programs; and
  • 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 and Australia’s 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.

Last Updated: 3 May 2016