When we look at progress in decentralisation in Papua New Guinea over the last 20 years – the sole continuous and overriding policy priority of successive governments – many challenges remain to improve downstream service delivery. Programming for “social accountability” shifts the focus
Outside observers have all but given up hope that China will engage in meaningful state-owned enterprise (SOE) reform. There is a pervasive sense that rather than shrinking SOEs, China’s leaders are committed to increasing their prominence within the economy.
Foreign perceptions of Chinese SOEs
For decades, Thailand has served as the primary regional hub for UN agencies and programs, international humanitarian organisations and advocacy groups. In comparison to their neighbors in mainland Southeast Asia, Thai people have enjoyed a relatively open civic environment. Thailand has long been a
Heavy rains from 29 March to 4 April caused floods and landslides in many parts of Timor-Leste, claiming more than 40 lives, displacing thousands of people and destroying critical infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Dili, the capital, has been the worst affected, as more than 12 hours of
Book review: Daniel Drache, A.T. Kingsmith and Duan Qi, One Road, Many Dreams: China’s Bold Plan to Remake the Global Economy (London, Bloomsbury, 2019).
The economic fallout of the pandemic has been global, but not equal. If the often-necessary lockdowns have uniformly resulted in economic
“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” – this recognition was a central focus of the 1996 World Food Summit. Today, Covid-
Joe Biden has taken the mantle of US president at a critical time for international development – amid a resurgence in poverty, increasing geopolitical contestation, rapid technological and environmental change, and of course Covid-19. The immediate priorities of the new administration will
Pacific nations have mostly escaped the heavy death toll and hospital bed shortages faced by Western countries battling Covid-19, but the pandemic has dealt a disproportionately severe blow to the region’s economic ambitions. But with the rollout of vaccines and economic recovery in sight in China
In January, the Chinese government released its third white paper on foreign aid, entitled “China’s International Development Cooperation in the New Era”. It is worth taking a closer look at the Chinese-language original, which is more detailed in content than the English-language version
Past global economic downturns have usually had a knock-on effect for military budgets, resulting in lower defence spending. After the global financial crisis led to the contraction of the world GDP in 2009, global military spending only recovered in 2015. With the World Bank predicting that the
The horror year that has been 2020 is thankfully coming to an end with a dose of welcome optimism, now that vaccines are on the way. But the end is still far from within sight for many of Australia’s Pacific island neighbours.
In a new Lowy Institute policy brief, we argue that the Pacific is
Jim Wolfensohn, an Australian-turned-American who became president of the World Bank in 1995, was a mercurial character. His struggle to tackle the challenges of global development, relying on the weak reed of the World Bank, is a classic story of the heroic individual challenging global forces.&
The recent move to cut billions of pounds from the United Kingdom’s foreign aid budget was long feared by advocates. As result, one minister has flagged her resignation, and others have made threats to cross the floor.
The reduction of the UK’s aid spend from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national
Railways are a natural pillar of overland transport for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, given their large capacity. But there is an obstacle to getting direct services across the borders and into neighbouring countries: different rail gauges.
With the exception of North Korea, which uses
On 13 November, the finance ministers and central bankers of the G20 will hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss action to help poor countries struggling to pay debts. A key issue will be getting China, the world’s largest bilateral creditor, to play a more active role.
The push by China’s&
A new infrastructure connectivity initiative in Central Europe is the latest stage for a geopolitical contest. A diverse group of European Union member states in the traditional “buffer zone” between Western Europe and the East have long suffered lagging living standards and weaker economies.
In this feature, we identify ten recurring propositions about the rules-based order and show it's evolution through national debate and government policy. Explore how the rules-based order has developed over time and in meaning with experts offering inside commentary along the way
In 1918 and 1919, the influenza pandemic swept across the world and killed millions. The Pacific suffered disproportionately high mortality. While around 3% of the world’s population died of influenza, mortality reached 22% in some Pacific nations, such as Samoa.
Pacific islanders are generally
It’s been a few years since my once-regular annual budget analysis for the foreign affairs, defence and trade portfolio. But of course, this is not just any budget.
This is a big-spending budget to address the most significant national and international crisis of a century. Before the
The Maseratis are still collecting dust in sheds on a wharf in Port Moresby, but the sun has started to shine on at least one of the major deals Papua New Guinea gained from hosting the APEC Leaders Summit back in 2018.
The PNG Electrification Partnership committed the leaders of Japan, the United
A crowd of young Timorese standing in front of the Portuguese Embassy in Dili has become a familiar sight in recent years. They are hoping to acquire a Portuguese passport, which represents an opportunity for a shot at a better future in Europe. But why are these young people so eager to leave their
Each year, more than US $2 billion of foreign aid is invested in the Pacific Islands region, equivalent to roughly 8% of the region’s GDP. This aid comes in the form of thousands of projects from more than 60 donors. Information about these projects is often messy and opaque, with public
The creation of the Office of Development Effectiveness was announced in Foreign Minister Alexander Downer’s 2006 Aid White Paper. It symbolised the hope and mood of the time: more aid, better aid. Its job was, and remained, to lead on evaluation within the Australian aid program – to assess the
Arguably the greatest, most visible and most impactful legacy of the British Raj in India is the train network that criss-crosses the country. So it perhaps comes as little surprise that India’s favourite regional friend is shoring up their relationship by investing heavily in, yes, more trains
Against the fear and distrust that increasingly characterise Australia’s relationship with China, the Belt and Road Initiative looms large. Australian politicians from both major parties rarely agree on much openly, but nearly all agree that China uses the BRI to achieve geopolitical goals. Many
Rumors circling about an impending major partnership between China and Iran seem to be accurate. A leaked draft of the agreement published by the New York Times in July indicates that it would involve a deep economic partnership which would open the door for strategic action. Ample speculation about
The liberal order faces its greatest crisis since the end of the Cold War. Liberalism is in retreat around the world. The United States is led by a president whose America-first realpolitik contradicts the very idea of rules-based governance. Europe has seen the rise of “illiberal democracies”.
The UK government's ‘Integrated Review of foreign policy, defence, security and development’, announced in February 2020, has been described as the largest foreign-policy review since the Cold War. The UK Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee is inquiring into the FCO’s contribution
When you have the privilege of working in international relations, there are some experiences that stay with you for life. There are the places you go and the people you meet. Conversations that start at the roundtable, continue into dinner, and often go late into the night. At airports and hotels,
Australia plans to spend a lot more on defence to confront what Prime Minister Scott Morrison says will be “a post-COVID world that is poorer, that is more dangerous, and that is more disorderly”. A chorus of voices have responded that Australian foreign policy risks becoming unbalanced, with
With European leaders having just spent five days in close-contact negotiations in Brussels and now Australia’s first offshore ministerial visit for almost five months to Washington, a post-Covid diplomatic agenda is tentatively taking shape.
Just what Covid 19 might
The global economic recession triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic will have acute repercussions for the youth of today – both now and for their inheritance. The International Labour Organization recently warned the economic crisis is hitting younger people “harder and faster than any other group
Rated as the country with the highest disaster risk worldwide, Vanuatu is no stranger to severe tropical cyclones. When Tropical Cyclone Pam struck the country in 2015, it affected around 166,000 people and left a trail of destruction.
Similarly, Tropical Cyclone Harold, a category 5 cyclone that
On Saturday last week, following weeks of lobbying by humanitarian agencies and difficult diplomatic negotiations, the UN Security Council renewed its authorisation for the UN and its partners to provide humanitarian assistance in north-western Syria from across the Turkish border. The final
States have many tools at their disposal to gain influence and project power. Some opt for pressure, coercion or force. Others seek to build closer people-to-people relationships that offer reciprocal benefits and greater cooperation.
Falling somewhere between these two options is “
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of the flagship projects of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It initially attracted US$46 billion in investment, which was later increased to $62 billion by April 2017, to support large-scale “infrastructure construction” and industrial
Nearly a century ago, Dale Carnegie achieved world renown for his book How to Win Friends and Influence People. I’m not sure if it was ever translated into Mandarin, but I’m guessing that Chinese President Xi Jinping has never read it, either way. Perhaps he should. Under Xi’s leadership,
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to grow the Chinese economy through facilitating extensive trade across Eurasia and Africa, is now so large it is shaping how China engages its near region and the wider world. Some 126 countries and 29 international organisations have signed
For most people, the first things that likely come to mind when imagining Patagonia in South America are mountains, glaciers, lakes and fjords. But there is also a lesser-known tourist destination: the visitors centre of a Chinese-owned space station in remote north-west Patagonia, Argentina.