The Australian Government is committed to a new and elevated engagement with our Pacific island partners. A central element of the Prime Minister’s Port Moresby Declaration of 6 March 2008 is the intention to pursue ‘Pacific Partnerships for Development’ with Pacific island countries.
Pacific Partnerships for Development commit Australia and our Pacific partners to work together to make more rapid progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and our partners’ own development ambitions. In this context, the Port Moresby Declaration suggests a wide range of possible inclusions within Partnerships, including measures aimed at:
- improving economic infrastructure and enhancing local employment possibilities through infrastructure and broad-based economic growth
- enhancing private sector development, including better access to microfinance;
- achieving quality universal basic education
- improving health outcomes through better access to basic health services
- enhancing governance, including the role of civil society, and the role of non-government organisations in basic service delivery.
The fundamental principles underlying Pacific Partnerships for Development are mutual respect and mutual responsibility. The Partnerships will give effect to these principles in the following ways:
Mutual respect: the Partnerships take country ownership seriously and respect partner country leadership of their own national development plans. Australia and partners will also acknowledge accountability to our respective Parliaments for the impact and effective use of development assistance.
Mutual responsibility: the Partnerships will be explicitly based on mutual, long-term and measurable commitments for development results. Australia will commit to provide new and additional bilateral assistance over time in return for commitments by Pacific partners to improve governance, enhance private sector development, increase investment in economic infrastructure, achieve better outcomes in health and education and in other areas. Jointly, we will assess progress towards development outcomes and hold each other accountable for the commitments we make in the Partnerships. Australia will not engage in conditionality—all commitments made by Pacific partners will be jointly identified and agreed and draw from partners’ own national development plans.
Australia believes these principles will reinforce both partner country leadership of development policy and effective development efforts and the maintenance of genuine and practical development partnerships with Australia.
The Partnerships give effect to Australia’s commitment under the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action to increasingly align assistance with partner government planning and implementation systems. Australia is working with New Zealand, the development banks and other development partners in the region to achieve this.
Further information about already signed Pacific Partnerships for Development: