Ausaid Annual Report

australian agency for international development

Program 1 ODA Cross regional programs96


Australia's investment in education in 2012–13 was an estimated $841 million or 17 per cent of official development assistance.

Education is the flagship of Australia's aid program. Australia has bilateral education programs in 21 countries throughout Asia and the Pacific including in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Pacific Island countries.

Australia's support for education focuses on:

  • improving access to basic education opportunities for all children including the most marginalised
  • ensuring children and young people are receiving a quality education that allows them to learn the skills needed to participate in society
  • strengthening the ability of partner governments to manage an effective education system which meets the needs of their citizens.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • helping communities in Pakistan refurbish 254 early childhood classrooms for more than 67 000 children, and training 7316 teachers in early childhood education principles, classroom management and disability-inclusive education
  • building 116 new classrooms, 50 teacher houses and 50 toilet blocks in Papua New Guinea, which enabled 3500 students to attend school in new facilities
  • supporting 479 248 children to enrol in primary school, training 8979 teachers, and helping 4931 children with special needs to attend school in Bangladesh
  • supporting the Philippines Government to improve governance and management of its kindergarten to Grade 12 schooling program, the most important reform in education in the Philippines in more than 20 years
  • becoming a founding donor in the World Bank's systems approach for better education results multi-donor trust fund, which will help governments assess their education policies and implement evidence-based reforms.


Australia's investment in health in 2012–13 was an estimated $672 million or 14 per cent of official development assistance (not including spending on water, sanitation and hygiene).

Good health is a human right and a pathway to achieving other development goals, such as better economic growth and reduced poverty. Healthier adults are more able to work and children who are free of disease are better able to learn at school and gain the skills they need to break out of poverty. Four of the eight Millennium Development Goals relate to improving the health of people in developing countries. Sustainable access to safe water and basic sanitation, combined with good hygiene, also contributes to improved public health and better health outcomes.

Australia's support for health focuses on:

  • supporting partner countries to deliver more and better quality health services for poor and vulnerable people
  • closing the funding gap to provide essential health services for all
  • empowering poor and vulnerable people to improve their health
  • working with other sectors, such as education, water and sanitation, and rural development, to address the causes of poor health
  • reducing the impact of global and regional health threats, particularly in Asia and the Pacific
  • maximising the impact of Australia's total health official development assistance investment in partner countries.

In October 2012, AusAID launched a Medical Research Strategy that identifies priority areas for investment to save the lives of poor people in the Asia–Pacific region. Australia will invest in the development of medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tests that can be used to improve the health of the world's poor, with funding of around $40 million over five years from 2012–13 to 2016–17. Australia's initial investment of $10 million in 2012–13 is for tools and technologies to treat, diagnose and prevent malaria and tuberculosis.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • supporting around 2500 additional births in Timor-Leste to be attended by a skilled birth attendant
  • supporting the United Nations Children's Fund to work with the Fijian Government and other development partners to introduce pneumococcal, rotaviral and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines nationally
  • helping to renovate 19 public health clinics in one of Indonesia's poorest provinces, East Nusa Tenggara
  • investing in a Pacific Islands project that provided 56 specialist visiting teams and teaching visits to 10 Pacific countries. Through these visits, 5962 people accessed specialised clinical consultations and 1676 patients received life-changing surgical procedures
  • helping 98 859 women in Bangladesh to improve access to skilled birth attendants to deliver their babies, and helping 231 000 women to receive medical care for pregnancy-related complications
  • funding the Fiji School of Medicine to enable 462 medical students to graduate in 2012, of who 322 were women
  • building on Australia's existing $50 million commitment towards eradicating polio by committing a further $80 million from 2015–16 to 2018–19 to help with routine immunisation and the final steps to achieve worldwide polio eradication
  • training more than 6300 eye health workers, providing more than 23 600 spectacles and other assistive eye devices, and supporting more than 64 300 cataract and other sight-restoring surgeries.

Water, sanitation and hygiene

Australia's investment in water, sanitation and hygiene in 2012–13 was an estimated $174 million or four per cent of official development assistance.

Saving lives by increasing access to safe water, better sanitation services and improving hygiene behaviour is a key objective of the Australian aid program. Diarrhoea kills 1.5 million children every year and is the second leading cause of death in children under five-years-old. Increasing access to safe water and sanitation lowers the incidence of diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases, leading to improved public health, especially for women and children.

Australia's support for health focuses on:

  • increasing access to safe water and basic sanitation
  • improving hygiene behaviour through education and promotion
  • supporting policies and strategies that keep water and sanitation services operating sustainably.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • delivering safe water to 115 000 people and increasing access to basic sanitation for 155 000 people in Vietnam through Australia's contribution to Vietnam's national program
  • providing about 599 272 people in Indonesia with better access to safe water or a water connection, and about 307 110 others with access to basic sanitation or a sewerage connection. With AusAID funding, 394 406 people have increased their knowledge of hygiene practices
  • helping to establish the Civil Society Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Fund, which supports civil society organisations to deliver water, sanitation and hygiene services for people across Asia, the Pacific and Africa. Activities will begin in 2013–14
  • facilitating access to safe water for 410 768 people in Sub-Saharan Africa, and delivering basic sanitation facilities to 189 595 people. In addition, more than 221 585 people were educated on hand washing and hygiene practices.

Food security and rural development

Australia's investment in food security and rural development in 2012–13 was an estimated $455 million or nine per cent of official development assistance.

Three-quarters of the world's poor live in rural areas and rely on agriculture to survive. Sustained economic growth can create new jobs and increase incomes. An increase in income can give farmers the choice to invest in their farm or other activities like better health and education for themselves and their families. Investing in farm activity can lead to increased productivity and thereby a reduction in poverty. A one per cent increase in agricultural yield leads to a 0.6 to 1.2 per cent reduction in the percentage of people living on less than USD1 a day.

Australia's support for food security and rural development focuses on:

  • lifting agricultural productivity by increasing investment in agricultural research and development
  • improving rural livelihoods by strengthening markets in developing countries and improving market access
  • building community resilience by helping to establish and improve social protection programs

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • targeting scholarships, rice subsidies and cash transfer programs to the bottom 40 per cent of poor households across Indonesia—almost 80 million people—by developing a national unified database for social protection programs
  • increasing incomes for 50 543 people (49 per cent women) in the Pacific and South-East Asia through the Enterprise Challenge Fund
  • improving seed varieties and increasing yield results for 33 000 farming households in Timor-Leste through the Seeds of Life program
  • providing an additional 72 000 people in the Pacific, including 37 000 women, with access to mobile banking services so they could receive and remit funds. This is an increase of 20 per cent since 2011–12
  • enabling 108 000 more people to access funds through new savings accounts with Nationwide Microfinance Bank in Papua New Guinea, or Westpac banking facilities in Fiji
  • providing 73 501 women and 73 839 men (total of 147 340 people) with access to agricultural technologies through the Cambodia Agricultural Value Chain program, which increased the incomes of 7452 men and women and added an additional USD6 million to these rural economies
  • rehabilitating 250 kilometres of rural road in Togo through the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, which has increased productivity for 750 hectares of small farms, enabled new lowland rice varieties to be cultivated and improved access to markets.

Climate change and the environment

Australia's investment in climate change and the environment in 2012–13 was an estimated $560 million, an estimated 11 per cent of official development assistance in that year.

The impacts of climate change and environmental degradation can erode past development gains and threaten the current and future livelihoods of the poorest communities in the world. Addressing the causes and impacts of climate change and environmental degradation are key development concerns.

In 2009, Australia committed $599 million over three years from 2010 to 2013 to support climate action in developing countries. This commitment was finalised in 2012–13.

Australia's support for climate change and the environment focuses on:

  • assisting developing countries to plan for, and respond to, the unavoidable impacts of climate change, focusing on the poorest and most vulnerable people
  • helping developing countries reduce their emissions by, for example, supporting low emissions development and efforts to reduce deforestation in ways that support sustainable economic development
  • reducing the negative impacts of environmental degradation, managing natural resources and increasing resilience to environmental stresses.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • helping meet the need for clean energy in developing countries through the Energising Development partnership. By 2012 almost seven million people had been provided with access to improved energy for cooking through this initiative
  • improving water supply in three atoll communities in Tokelau (1411 people) and six communities in Tonga (1190 women and 1163 men)
  • supporting the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to increase resilience to the impacts of climate change by providing more than 100 climate resilient varieties of staple Pacific crops through the Pacific Centre for Crops and Trees.


Australia's investment in infrastructure in 2012–13 was an estimated $319 million or seven per cent of official development assistance.

About a quarter of households in Asia and the Pacific still do not have access to electricity and much of the rural population lives far from all-weather roads. The Asian Development Bank estimates that by 2020 Asia and the Pacific will need $750 billion in financing each year to meet the region's infrastructure needs.

Australia's support focuses on:

  • delivering sustainable transport infrastructure
  • facilitating increased access to basic water and sanitation infrastructure services
  • creating reliable energy services and supporting information and communication technologies
  • supporting urban infrastructure planning and development.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • laying 251 kilometres of high voltage power lines in Samoa since 2009, which is providing reliable electricity to hundreds of remote communities
  • assisting Papua New Guinea to construct, maintain or rehabilitate 2369 kilometres of priority national roads under the Transport Sector Support Program, and 455 kilometres of roads in Solomon Islands under the Road Improvement Program
  • completing detailed design of the Cao Lanh Bridge in Vietnam, which will improve transport links for 170 000 road users a day in the Mekong Delta region. The bridge and connecting roads are expected to open to the public in 2017
  • providing access to electricity through the national grid and the solar home system for an additional 8993 households in Laos under the Rural Electrification Project
  • continuing support to the World Bank's Lighting Africa Initiative, which has expanded to provide four million people in Sub-Saharan Africa with improved, clean, quality-certified, off-grid lighting systems.

Mining for development

Australia's investment in mining for development in 2012–13 was an estimated $43 million.

Investment in mining has grown rapidly in developing countries in response to high commodity prices, largely influenced by China and India's rapid industrialisation. Mining can generate economic opportunities—directly through the creation of jobs, increased tax revenues, rents to landowners and royalty payments, and also by contributing to economic growth by expanding the private sector. If managed well, mining has the potential to move communities, regions and even entire countries out of poverty. However when poorly managed, the sector can be a source of environmental damage, increase inequality and in some cases lead to social unrest.

Australia's support for mining for development focuses on:

  • strengthening and improving the sector's management by partner governments
  • managing the sector's revenue
  • increasing the benefits of mining investments to communities.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • providing a forum for mining stakeholders to discuss issues relating to benefit sharing, governance, transparency, conflict, gender and learning through the Mining for Development Conference held in Sydney in May 2013
  • helping promote transparency and accountability through contributions to the multi-donor trust fund for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. The initiative now has 44 compliant and candidate countries
  • supporting developing countries to establish macroeconomic, regulatory and contracting regimes that reduce the risk of costly remediation through the World Bank (Extractive Industries Technical Advisory Facility) and the International Monetary Fund (Topical Trust Fund on Managing Natural Resource Wealth)
  • improving regulation and governance in the sector with training, short courses, study tours and scholarships through the International Mining for Development Centre and the Australian Mining Awards. In 2012–13, 900 people from 36 developing countries were trained and 132 Australia Awards Scholarships were awarded in fields such as engineering, geology, public administration, natural resource economics and environmental management
  • empowering women to be active stakeholders in mining-related agreement making, and improving development outcomes and local level benefit sharing, through a partnership with the Minerals Council of Australia and the University of Queensland.

Private sector development

Australia's investment in private sector development in 2012–13 was an estimated $1.451 billion or 30 per cent of official development assistance.

Only long-term economic growth, driven by a robust private sector, can sustainably lift large numbers of people out of poverty—no permanent reduction in poverty has ever been achieved in the absence of growth. Growth, poverty reduction and private sector development go hand-in-hand because people exit poverty when they find a job, or find a better job. In developing countries, 90 per cent of jobs are created in the private sector. 97 Even where people are not directly employed by the private sector, taxes collected from businesses can be used to fund public services and social safety nets for the poor. Thriving businesses are therefore essential to poverty reduction.

In August 2012, AusAID released a private sector development strategy which outlines Australia's approach promoting more private sector activity in our partner countries. The strategy highlights the importance of business engagement to deepen our understanding of the business climates in our partner countries.

Australia's support for private sector development focuses on increasing:

  • participation in the formal economy by women and men
  • new businesses started by women and men
  • business profitability
  • trade flows
  • investment
  • access to financial services for poor women and men.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • building partnerships with private companies in the agriculture sector and increasing the incomes of 7452 poor farmers—including 3726 women—through the Cambodia Agricultural Value Chain program
  • training more than 1500 people, including in the areas of agricultural trade, competition policy and intellectual property, through the ASEAN–Australia–New Zealand Free Trade Agreement Economic Support Program, leading to improved use of Australian preferential tariff rates of 67 per cent
  • linking small farm holders to markets and increasing the income of 33 000 poor people through the Zimbabwe component of the African Enterprise Challenge Fund
  • supporting the Lao Trade Development Facility project which has helped improve the efficiency of the country's trade processes and was instrumental to its accession to the World Trade Organization in February
  • providing 67 500 people with access to mobile money services, insurance and other financial services through the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program.

Effective governance and human rights

Australia's investment in effective governance in 2012–13 was an estimated $848 million or 18 per cent of official development assistance.

Effective governance involves managing a country's resources and affairs in ways that are accountable and responsive to the needs and interests of its citizens. Essential components of good governance include the rule of law, effective public sector management, and an active civil society. Governance is important for improving overall aid effectiveness.

Australia's support for effective governance focuses on:

  • enabling better services through improved government efficiency and effectiveness and more accountable, open and responsive governments
  • improving security and enhancing justice
  • enhancing human rights.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • partnering with Transparency International to strengthen citizen engagement and empower civil society to advocate for more transparent and accountable governments. This work was undertaken across 22 countries in the Asia–Pacific, 16 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and 18 countries in Latin America
  • improving access to medical supplies and services in Papua New Guinea by procuring and distributing essential medical kits to all of the country's functional hospitals, health centres and aid posts (around 2000 health facilities in total)
  • training 37 052 civil servants in Indonesia and supporting 740 civil society organisations to track service provision, bringing about greater accountability and more effective service delivery
  • addressing the impacts of domestic violence in Timor-Leste by providing support to four first-care facilities and two shelters, as well as legal assistance for affected women and children
  • improving prosecutions and convictions of human trafficking cases across seven Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) partner countries. Australia supported training for more than 600 police, judges and prosecutors to detect and prosecute human trafficking. Between August 2011 and March 2013, 1522 cases of human trafficking were investigated, 1027 were prosecuted and 3961 victims were supported
  • supporting the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission to visit 598 detention centres and interview detainees, refer any legal issues, and document human rights violations
  • improving access to information on rights for prisoners in Vietnam by publishing 5000 handbooks for defence lawyers. These were distributed to 51 prisons, 66 temporary detention centres and 50 community legal associations.

Child protection

AusAID is committed to ensuring child safety in all aspects of Australian aid delivery and adopts a zero tolerance approach to child exploitation and abuse. The Australian Government is the first bilateral donor to implement a child protection policy. AusAID's Child Protection Policy 2013 stipulates that every individual or organisation that works with children under the Australian aid program has an obligation to protect children from exploitation and abuse. It is our responsibility, shared with our partners, to create and maintain protective environments for children.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • implementing the recommendations made by the Independent Child Protection Policy Review 2011 and agreed to in AusAID's management response 2012 on AusAID's Child Protection Policy 2008. This included releasing an updated and strengthened policy in February 2013
  • creating a dedicated child protection compliance section within AusAID that is responsible for responding to reports of child exploitation and abuse and policy non-compliance, conducting child protection audits and compliance checks on civil society organisations and contractors, monitoring internal and external compliance with the policy, training AusAID staff on child protection, engaging with multilateral organisations and bilateral donors to strengthen their organisational practices, and reviewing the policy every three years
  • undertaking an agency-wide child protection stocktake to identify activities that pose a high or very high risk to children, and developing key risk mitigation measures to strengthen child protection risk management practices under the aid program
  • training more than 366 AusAID staff, Australian Civilian Corps deployees and whole-of-government staff on our child protection policy and child protection issues, and delivering briefings to 123 representatives of partner organisations nationally
  • continuing to build on the initial work undertaken by the Australian Volunteers for International Development child protection working group in 2011–12, including implementing a pilot project in Fiji to test the effectiveness of strengthened child protection processes. The working group comprises core partner organisations, AusAID's volunteers and child protection compliance sections.

Gender equality

Australia's investment in gender in 2012–13 was an estimated $2.109 billion or 52 per cent of AusAID program aid. Expenditure was directed to activities with primary or major gender equality objectives, using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee definitions.

The Australian Government is committed to remaining a firm and persistent advocate, and practical supporter, of gender equality. It has identified gender equality and women's empowerment as a critical cross-cutting theme of the aid program.

Australia's support for gender focuses on:

  • advancing equal access to gender responsive health and education services
  • increasing women's voice in decision-making, leadership and peacebuilding
  • empowering women economically and improving their livelihood security
  • ending violence against women and girls at home, in their communities and in disaster and conflict situations.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • helping 111 skilled midwives to graduate from all four midwifery schools in Papua New Guinea over the past two years by supporting eight clinical midwifery facilitators in 2011–12
  • increasing the number of women village court magistrates in Papua New Guinea from 10 in 2004 to more than 900 by the end of 2012
  • maintaining 344 kilometres of roads in Solomon Islands, which has improved access to services and markets. This work created at least 207 000 days of short-term employment, with women undertaking more than 55 per cent of this
  • supporting the Pacific Fund to End Violence Against Women, helping more than 35 civil society organisations and government departments to access grants and contributing to the learning of close to 100 practitioners from across the Pacific
  • enabling the Vanuatu Women's Centre's to provide services to more than 3800 women in 2012 including counselling, information, and access to safe houses. The centre and its branches facilitated 673 protection orders for women at high risk of violence
  • strengthening gender-based violence expertise on the Australian Civilian Corps register through targeted recruitment
  • researching the prevalence of violence against women in Cook Islands, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau to contribute to the region's understanding of violence against women and help develop policies and programs to address it
  • promoting educational opportunities in key areas of need as widely as possible, which resulted in a 48 per cent rate of uptake by women of Australia Awards in 2012
  • supporting women and girls in Afghanistan, including measures to increase access to education resulting in girls school enrolment rising from virtually zero under the Taliban to more than 2.9 million today
  • funding UN Women to support the Cambodian Government to develop the second National Action Plan to End Violence Against Women, which will identify a comprehensive and coordinated response to violence against women.

A large group of people march down the street in the sunshine, holding signs and wearing t-shirts that proclaim their support of stopping violence against women. Two women in AusAID t-shirts are near the front of the photo.

Caption: AusAID's Louisa Gibbs and Juliette Brassington show their support to stop violence against women and children in the 2012 White Ribbon Day march in Honiara, Solomon Islands

Credit: Lou Anderson, AusAID


Disability-inclusive development

In 2012–13 targeted AusAID funding for disability was an estimated $16.3 million.

There are around one billion people—15 per cent of the world's population—with disability. These people generally have poorer health, lower educational achievements, less economic participation and higher rates of poverty and inequality than people without disability.

An independent mid-term review of the strategy, Development for all: towards a disability-inclusive Australian aid program 2009–2014, was conducted in 2012 and found that the initiative, funding commitment and dedicated staff had led to significant improvements in the lives of people with disability. This was supported by the 2013 OECD Development Assistance Committee peer review of Australia, which highlighted AusAID's 'exceptional emphasis on disability which makes it a leader in this area internationally'. Australia's global efforts to promote disability-inclusive work in humanitarian settings were recognised by the Women's' Refugee Commission, which presented Australia with a Voices of Courage award in May 2013.

Australia's support for disability focuses on:

  • improving the quality of life for people with disability
  • effective leadership on disability and development.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • releasing an accessibility design guide which provides practical guidance on how the design and implementation of development activities can enable people with disability to participate equally in social and economic life
  • undertaking cutting-edge research on the triple jeopardy faced by women with disability who experience violence in Cambodia, and on making roads accessible for people with disability in Papua New Guinea
  • supporting the International Committee of the Red Cross Special Fund for the Disabled to provide assistance to more than 12 000 people with disability in 2012
  • building 1275 junior secondary schools with ramps and accessible toilets in Indonesia, since 2008, which has increased the enrolment of children with disability. In Bangladesh, Australia's support to the BRAC Education Program enabled 3093 children with disability to attend school.

Improving aid effectiveness in situations of conflict and fragility

Australia is an acknowledged leader in providing effective aid to fragile and conflict-affected states. The 2013 OECD Development Assistance Committee peer review commended Australia's approach to fragility and conflict, highlighting that Australia had the framework, analytical capacity, tools, flexibility and organisational structure to deliver innovative and realistic programs that achieve results in fragile contexts.

In 2012–13, around half of Australia's bilateral and regional aid program—more than $1.5 billion—was delivered in fragile and conflict-affected countries. Australia's work in these settings is guided by AusAID's policy Framework for working in fragile and conflict-affected states, which builds on AusAID and whole-of-government experiences that have addressed fragility and conflict.

In international fora, Australia actively supports the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding. AusAID plays a leadership role in this initiative by co-chairing with Afghanistan a working group on New Deal implementation. Australia played an important role in initiating the 'Friends of g7+', a mechanism to support the g7+ to engage with the international community.

As co-chair of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee International Network on Conflict and Fragility Task Team on Implementation and Reform, AusAID initiated work on how donors can address risk associated with using country systems in fragile states and convened the first meeting of human resources specialists to discuss the special challenges of staffing in these settings.

AusAID maintains strong partnerships with research and analytical organisations including the International Crisis Group, the Asia Foundation and the Institute for State Effectiveness. AusAID shares innovative approaches to development in complex environments with the World Bank's fragility and conflict team.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • undertaking technical assessment of program proposals, including:
    • the investment concept and review of the World Bank's Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund
    • peacebuilding efforts and weapons disposal in Bougainville
    • statebuilding and peacebuilding efforts in the Timor-Leste country strategy, and the Government of Timor-Leste's fragility assessment on New Deal implementation
    • analytical and program work to support peacebuilding and donor coordination in Myanmar
  • supporting Australia's leadership of the final Arms Trade Treaty negotiation conference in May 2013. Following an Australian Government announcement of $1 million in funding to support treaty implementation in developing countries, AusAID designed a multi-donor facility with Germany to ensure donor coordination, reduce transaction costs and promote aid effectiveness in treaty implementation assistance and broader disarmament activities
  • training more than 345 AusAID and whole-of-government staff, implementing partners and Australian Civilian Corps register members on how to work in situations of conflict and fragility, including case studies on the role women play in negotiating and building peace. Staff trained included those being posted or deployed to work in Africa, Myanmar, Fiji, Afghanistan, Samoa, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, South Sudan and Papua New Guinea
  • collaborating on the combined Australia–United States military training activity, Talisman Sabre, in 2013. The exercise increased its focus on civilian deployments that contribute to stabilisation and humanitarian activities based on the principles laid out in the Framework for working in fragile and conflict-affected states and the 2011 Humanitarian Action Policy
  • strengthening United Nations peacebuilding efforts through contributions to Australia's United Nations Security Council peacebuilding discussions, and multi-year partnership arrangements with United Nations peacebuilding agencies. These include the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office, United Nations Department of Political Affairs and United Nations Development Programme Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery. Support was also provided for Australia's policy engagement on the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission as well as funding to the United Nations Children's Fund's monitoring and reporting mechanism.

Mine action

Australia's support is helping developing nations to clear landmines and educate people of the risks. It is preventing the world's poorest people from being indiscriminately maimed and killed and assisting with the care and rehabilitation of thousands of landmine victims. Australia's support is also contributing to improving livelihoods by making more land available for farming and other productive uses.

In 2012–13, the Australian aid program contributed an estimated $16.04 million to mine action, directly benefiting 10 countries as well as supporting a range of initiatives that deliver mine action assistance in a broader range of mine affected countries.

Landmines and other explosive remnants of war remain a serious challenge to sustainable development in many of the world's poorest countries. Australia has exceeded its commitment to provide $100 million to mine action over the period 2010 to 2014 to reduce the threat and socio-economic impact of landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • becoming a State Party to the United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions on 1 April 2013
  • assisting Uganda to complete its mine clearance obligations and clear all known landmines by 10 December
  • providing health care to more than 14 200 weapon wounded including 1662 mine victims admitted to International Committee of the Red Cross supported hospitals
  • providing rehabilitation services and prosthesis to 10 139 mine survivors and thousands of other people with disability through International Committee of the Red Cross assisted centres
  • assisting Cambodia to clear 13.87 square kilometres of land and destroy 4539 anti-personnel mines, 28 anti-tank mines and 1999 items of unexploded ordnance. The casualty rate in Cambodia declined a further 12.3 per cent from 211 in 2011 to 185 in 2012
  • providing a three-year, $3 million commitment to reduce the threat of unexploded ordnance in Palau. This included opening a Regional Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training School on Peleliu Island that will train law enforcement authorities and community organisations from Palau and other Pacific countries to identify and clear explosive remnants of war and raise community awareness of the risks they pose
  • playing a continuing leadership role in mine action through Australia's role as Chair of the Mine Action Support Group. This group is a forum for sharing information and endeavours to coordinate and harmonise humanitarian mine action programs to ensure support is delivered where it is most needed.

Australian Civilian Corps

Figure 16: Role of the Australian Civilian Corps in the emergency response, stabilisation and recovery, and development environment

Figure 16:Showing how the Australian Civilian Corps fits into the emergency response process—as part of the stabilisation and recovery stage.

The Australian Civilian Corps (ACC) deploys experienced civilian specialists to countries experiencing or emerging from conflict, natural disasters or state fragility. The initiative, managed by AusAID, has greatly enhanced Australia's capability to respond directly to the capacity gaps that exist between an immediate humanitarian response and longer-term recovery and development programs.

The ACC register currently has highly skilled and experienced civilians who can help developing countries restore essential services, rebuild government institutions and re-establish economic and social stability. AusAID continues to build and refine the skill set and will achieve the target of 500 trained civilian specialists by June 2014.

Since ACC became operational in 2011, AusAID has deployed 547 specialists to support stabilisation and recovery efforts.

There were 50 ACC specialists on 12 deployments in 2012–13:

  • a 23-member team travelled to Papua New Guinea to strengthen the capacity of the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission to deliver the July 2012 general elections
  • in January 2013, five specialists went to Samoa to evaluate the damage caused by Cyclone Evan and identify what was needed for recovery. In May and June, three recovery specialists went to help the Samoan Government deliver its reconstruction and recovery program
  • two specialists visited Fiji to help assess requirements for the Fiji Electoral Office to roll out an effective electronic voter registration process
  • a team of three law and justice experts were deployed to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to advise on reforms to legal and institutional frameworks for criminal law and criminal procedures, the functioning, independence and oversight of the judiciary, administration of justice, and development of the legal profession in South Sudan
  • three stabilisation advisers were deployed to Afghanistan to support community level needs in Uruzgan Province, making a valuable contribution to the Provincial Reconstruction Team
  • three justice advisers were deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan to assist Afghan lawyers at the Justice Centre in Parwan with case preparation, legal technical advice and in-court mentoring
  • a peacebuilding adviser was deployed to Sierra Leone to monitor programs and work with the governments of Sierra Leone and Liberia and with partner agencies
  • one specialist was deployed to Manila as part of a team scoping recovery options after Typhoon Bopha. Subsequently, a disaster risk management and recovery specialist was sent to assist the Philippines Government and United Nations Development Programme to implement the post-typhoon recovery plan
  • one humanitarian specialist went to Thailand to monitor and advise on programs to support refugees living in camps along the Thai–Myanmar border
  • two specialists supported the administration of the local level government elections in Papua New Guinea, aligned with AusAID's existing Papua New Guinea Electoral Support Program
  • one learning and development specialist has been deployed to train and mentor staff at the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecution and Intelligence Coordination Centre in the Seychelles
  • one specialist worked as a mentor and adviser to develop Timor-Leste's disaster preparedness and response plans and capabilities.

Australia Awards

Australia Awards bring together international scholarships and fellowships administered by AusAID, the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under one readily identifiable banner. They aim to promote knowledge, education links and enduring ties between Australia and other countries. Tertiary education is an important component of any investment in education and the Australia Awards are a key part of Australia's education support to 121 eligible developing countries.

The Australian Government works closely with partner governments to ensure that Australia Awards funded through the aid program are aligned with strategies that support the development priorities of each country. Linking awards to the priorities of partner governments has helped maximise their impact. In 2012–13 the majority of AusAID administered Australia Awards were for Indonesia, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

During the year funding for Australia Awards through the aid program was an estimated $331 million, a 16 per cent increase over 2011–12. By 2014 there will be around 6000 recipients undertaking long-term studies, short-term research or professional development fellowships in Australia at some time during the year. At least half of the awardees will be women. There are now four times as many Australia Awards provided each year to developing countries as were provided at the height of the Colombo Plan. The Colombo Plan began as a multilateral framework for providing assistance to Asia after World War II. The initial plan focused on infrastructure and technical assistance, including scholarships. Between 1951 and 1986, through the Colombo Plan, Australia provided 20 000 scholarships to citizens of East and South Asia for study in Australian tertiary institutions, an average of 570 per year.

Table 2: Funding of Australia Awards administered by AusAID from 2009–20131

Financial year
Intake year
Number of awards
Financial year total cost ($million)

1 Data at 30 June 2013. From 2012 Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research administered awards numbers were reported separately in the Australia Awards 2012 Report.

2 Estimated figures based on offers.


Statistics show that 97 per cent of long-term scholarship awardees successfully complete their studies. Students from three of the four countries with the highest number of award recipients—Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam—achieved more than 98 per cent successful completions over this period. To ensure that developing countries benefit from the skills and knowledge acquired through the investment in Australia Awards recipients, awardees are required to return to their home country after completion of their studies.

Table 3: Intake year and region of Australia Awards administered by AusAID from 2009–20131

East Asia
Sub-Saharan Africa
South and West Asia
Pacific Island countries
Papua New Guinea
Latin America and Caribbean
Middle East and North Africa

1 Data at 30 June 2013. From 2012 Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research administered awards numbers are reported separately in the Australia Awards 2012 Report.

2 Estimated figures based on offers.


Australia Awards Office

The Australia Awards Office was established on 2 January 2013 and is hosted by AusAID. Its role is to provide secretariat support to the Australia Awards Board, centralised governance and communication functions and to establish an effective alumni network which engages all Australia Awards alumni. At 30 June 2013 the details of more than 37 000 Australia Awards alumni were registered on the alumni database. The Australia Awards Office was charged with working across government to shape the Australia Awards to support the policy directions of Australia in the Asian Century White Paper and to progress consolidation, coherence and standardisation across all Australia Awards implementation partners. The office has made major progress including raising the profile of the Australia Awards domestically and internationally, reinvigorating alumni activity with an Alumni Network Strategy, building relationships with implementing partners, and progressing whole-of-government consolidation and coherence across the awards.

The Australia Awards Office is working closely with its partner agencies—AusAID, the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIICCSRTE), the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade—to ensure the awards are an effective mechanism for building and maintaining people-to-people links at the individual, institution and government level in Asia and beyond.

Considerable efforts are being directed towards strengthening alumni networks and providing a broader range of networking opportunities for Australia Awards recipients and alumni. This whole-of-government approach is ensuring Australia Awards recipients hosted by all three implementing agencies have opportunities to participate in joint professional development and networking events, guest of government visits and other community functions.

Since being established, the office has worked in partnership with Australia Awards implementing agencies to increase recognition of the Australian Government's significant investment in international scholarships and education, and has established an identifiable brand that appropriately captures the awards' prestige.

Table 4: All Australia Awards by agency, intake year and type from 2009–20121

Intake year
Awards administered
by AusAID
Awards administered by DIICCSRTE
Awards administered
Total %
increase from previous year
15 230

1 Data at 30 June 2013. Two Anne Wexler awards are additional to 2011 totals.

2 Includes Australia Awards recipients from both ODA eligible countries and non-ODA eligible countries.

3 Non-ODA eligible Australia Awards recipients.

4 Prior to 2012 Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research statistics were collated within AusAID administered awards.


Australia Awards in the Asian Century

The release of the Asian Century White Paper in 2012 reinforced the government's vision for centring Australia within the region and its desire to support and grow Australia's Asian literacy. Greater
people-to-people links with our Asian neighbours are vital for achieving this outcome and a key outcome of the Australia Awards. The Asian Century offers many opportunities for Australia, but to seize these, deeper connections are needed to broaden the flow of ideas and acquire new knowledge and capabilities. The Australia Awards are a key mechanism for achieving this.

A total of 12 000 Australia Awards (Asian Century) were committed by the Australian Government over five years to recipients in Asian countries. These include support for recipients to undertake work placements and mid-career sabbaticals in Australia.

Health, education, governance, climate change, disability and economic growth are key areas where Australia Awards recipients are making a difference. These are priority areas for the Australian Government and have strategic implications for Australia in the Asian Century.

International study and professional development experiences support Award recipients to understand another culture, develop skills and build relationships that are likely to last a lifetime. The Australian Government is working with universities to support in-Asia study by Australian students to help develop our Asia-relevant capabilities. These initiatives are part of the government's efforts to embrace and share the opportunities that will be presented to Australia in the Asian Century. They will help Australia to become more prosperous and resilient and build on our already strong collaboration to strengthen and deepen our relationships in the Asian region.

More than half of all Australia Awards for the 2012 intake were for applicants from, or travelling to, countries throughout Asia.

International students foster long-term goodwill and international understanding between Australia and their countries. Australia Awards recipients are using education to make a world of difference to their lives, as well as to their community.

Three men and one woman sit around a table, with notepads and pens, talking animatedly. One man gestures to make his point.

Caption: Australia Awards recipients participating in the professional development workshop in Sydney

Credit: Nina Hughes, AusAID


Australia Awards Fellowships

The Australia Awards Fellowships program is a competitive grants program, established in 2006 to fund short-term study, research and professional development activities hosted in Australia by Australian organisations. It targets senior and mid-career professionals in eligible developing countries, who will be in a position to advance key regional development priorities and increase institutional capacities. Fellowships also help to build partnerships and links between Australian organisations and counterpart organisations in developing countries in Asia and further afield.

Total expenditure for the program in 2012–13 was $23.92 million. During the year 68 Australian organisations hosted approximately 1350 individual fellows from developing countries—with 70 per cent of these from Asia (49 per cent from East Asia and 21 per cent from South Asia).

Engaging our Australia Awards alumni

A key focus for the government is to create an effective and valuable global network of alumni, who maintain their connection with Australia and with each other. This is a crucial element to build and maintain strong people-to-people links that benefit both Australia and its international partners.

As part of the government's efforts to establish an influential network of leaders with strong links to Australia, the Australia Awards Board approved the Australia Awards Alumni Network Strategy in January 2013. The strategy set out a whole-of-government approach to engaging with Australia Awards alumni and establishes the roles and responsibilities of the Australia Awards Office, Heads of Mission, Posts, the four Australia Awards implementing agencies, and their managing contractors.

The Australia Awards Network—an interactive global database—is being developed to allow Australia Awards alumni and current awardees to engage with each other and build people, country and professional linkages. The network will ensure alumni are kept up-to-date with the latest Australia Awards news and events, as well as opportunities for fellowships and awards, and networking events and initiatives.

The Australia Awards Office has also focused on increasing engagement with Australia Awards recipients, both while on-award and after they return home. This includes providing opportunities to ensure incoming officials, outgoing ministers, parliamentary delegations, the business sector and the wider community have an opportunity to network with alumni and hear about how they are using their awards on their return home.

Australia Awards events have been incorporated into guest of government visits as well as outgoing programs for Australian Government officials. For example:

  • Australia Awards recipients attended an International Women's Day address by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr, at the University of Tasmania on 8 March
  • Australia Awards recipients from Papua New Guinea attended an International Women's Day breakfast in Melbourne on 12 March, where they met Papua New Guinea Justice Catherine Davani, who gave the keynote address on ending violence against women
  • Australia Awards recipients from Mozambique participated in the Mozambique President's visit in Sydney on 13 March
  • AusAID hosted 50 Oaktree Foundation ambassadors on 14 March to hear more about the aid program. Nine Canberra-based Australia Awards recipients attended, two of who addressed the group
  • Australia Awards recipients from Myanmar attended a reception in Canberra for the Myanmar President's visit on 18 March
  • an Australian parliamentary delegation attended a networking event in South Africa at the Ambassador's residence on 17 April. This event coincided with a gathering of Australia Awards Africa alumni ambassadors who have been appointed from across the African continent to promote Australia Awards and support recipients
  • a bilateral parliamentary delegation visited Papua New Guinea in early April—and Australia Awards alumni attended an event held at the High Commissioner's residence
  • an Australian parliamentary delegation to Indonesia attended an Australia Awards alumni event held in Surabaya on 16 April.

Four men and six women from Myanmar, dressed in traditional clothing, smile at the camera. Parliament House is in the background, the flagpole rising up into the sky.

Caption: Australia Awards recipients from Myanmar attending an event at Parliament House in Canberra, to coincide with the visit of the President of Myanmar

Credit: Angus Braithwaite, AusAID


Development research

Under the AusAID Research Strategy 2012–2016, which was released in July 2012, AusAID continues to invest in research to improve the quality and effectiveness of Australian aid. This includes increasing the proportion of competitively funded research, strengthening strategic partnerships, increasing the use of research by improving access to research findings, and building capacity to undertake and use research in Australia and in our partner governments.

Key achievements in 2012–13 included:

  • launching AusAID's Medical Research Strategy that identifies priority areas for investment to save the lives of poor people in the Asia–Pacific region. The strategy provides funding of around $40 million over five years from 2012–13 to 2016–17 and commenced with an initial investment of $10 million towards tools and technologies to treat, diagnose and prevent malaria and tuberculosis
  • releasing the Travelling Together research in Papua New Guinea, which identified cheap and simple road design features to improve safety and access to vital services for people with disability, and increased the understanding of road decision-makers about the needs of people with disability
  • undertaking the Triple Jeopardy research project in Cambodia which revealed, for the first time, the extent of violence faced by women with disability, especially from family members other than their partner, and which developed a unique data tool for future investigation in this under-researched area
  • finalising more than 100 research projects from the 2007, 2008 and 2009 AusAID Development Research Awards Scheme funding rounds, including journal articles, conference papers and policy briefs which were made available on the AusAID website's research pages, improving the accessibility and transparency of AusAID funded research
  • finalising the fourth funding round of the AusAID Development Research Awards Scheme, which awarded 50 grants totalling $30 million over three years. Examples of successful 2012 projects under the scheme include:
    • mining for development: $2.4 million was provided for projects examining issues including how to best protect the interests of developing countries in relation to proposals for deep seabed mining
    • water, sanitation and hygiene: $6 million was provided for projects including research to help those living on atolls and flood-prone catchments in the Pacific to adapt to climate change, and evaluate options for water supply and sanitation.

International Seminar Support Scheme

The International Seminar Support Scheme is a competitive grant program established to fund developing country representation/attendance at international development-oriented seminars in Australia and overseas. Providing such opportunities helps to develop knowledge and technical expertise in developing countries and builds linkages between the government, academic and community sectors in Australia and our partner developing countries.

In 2012–13 the International Seminar Support Scheme supported more than 450 people from developing countries to participate in more than 60 international development-orientated conferences, workshops and seminars during the year. The conferences and seminars in 2012–13 covered topics dealing with agriculture, climate change, disability, education, energy, food security, gender equality, governance, health, human rights, Indigenous issues, infrastructure, land planning, law and justice, maternal and child health, mental health, microfinance, peacebuilding, security, trade, water, women's empowerment and youth issues.

96 Cross regional programs are major thematic programs that cross geographic boundaries but are not described separately in the AusAID Portfolio Budget Statements 2012–13, Budget related paper no. 1.9, Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio.

97 Pfeffermann, Guy (2003), Paths out of poverty.