COP 21 is over with a deal that has been heralded by world leaders as 'the best chance we have to save the one planet we have', while the expert consensus is that it 'has landed more or less where expected'. Robin Davies pours some cold water on praise for the deal by highlighting three big
MIT and Harvard economists have debunked the claim that aid funded welfare programs in developing countries make people lazy. Vox has a good summary.
Devpolicy has posted the second in a two part series looking at Australian development NGO expenditure, which I have co-authored. In this post we
The Commonwealth has announced its first female secretary-general, Baroness Patricia Scotland. The Baroness’ first task should be to beef up the effectiveness of their aid work as The Commonwealth has routinely ranked as one of the worst performing multilateral donors.
In the first of a two part
Australia is terrible at influencing its aid recipients, according to a massive survey conducted by AidData. Dramatic aid cuts have probably not helped.
Aid investments in governance have been a flagship of Australia’s in the 21st century. Sina Odugbemi from the World Bank asks if the
The G20 has become a key international forum since it was set up in 1999. When Australia began its presidency of the 2014 summit in Brisbane, many commentators suggested that Australia’s chairing of the G20 would reinvigorate it. This timely book looks at what that meeting achieved and what has
The Vanuatu corruption and pardon scandal continues, with 11 MPs released on bail after being arrested for conspiring to defeat the course of justice. Today, Vanuatu's Supreme Court Justice is set to rule on the constitutionality of Speaker Marcellino Pipite's decision to pardon himself and the 13
The awarding of the Nobel Prize in Economics to Angus Deaton, best known for bringing empirical rigour to the study of how individuals spend, save, and invest, and how those choices are connected to poverty, has prompted discussion of his views on aid. Deaton has been described as an aid sceptic,
The Asia Pacific is the most dynamic digital landscape in the world, home to the fastest adopters of new technologies and the largest concentration of mobile and social media users. An escalation in online activism, changing cyber dynamics, developments in digital diplomacy and the exploitation of
Fairfax Media's John Garnaut uncovered more detail on the controversial loan deal the O'Neill Government struck with UBS last year to purchase a stake in Oil Search. The deal has sparked tensions with landowners who claim it has jeopardised their share of royalties in the PNG LNG project, while two
In 2010 former Lowy Institute research fellow Fergus Hanson published a forward-looking policy brief urging Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to catch up to the rest of the world, join the 21st century and get online. Social media, he argued, is only one aspect of digital
On Monday, Prime Minister Turnbull unveiled a new cabinet with sweeping changes to the front bench. The most important point for the Pacific is that Julie Bishop retains her position as Foreign Minister, with an improved status in cabinet as one of the kingmakers of the new Government.
Following a community outcry over the plight of asylum seekers in Europe, the Australian Government has announced that it will resettle 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. This will be in addition to the annual refugee and humanitarian intake of 13,750. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the
Of Papua New Guinea's population of about 8 million, 80% are rural villagers who produce most of their own food. This makes them vulnerable to extreme weather events. Reports of severe impact on food crops from the recent frosts and ongoing drought in Papua New Guinea are coming from most areas in
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow.
While it's managing its response to serious economic challenges brought about by a budget deficit and drought, Papua New Guinea is preparing to host the Pacific Islands Forum leaders
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow.
Papua New Guinea has been in the international spotlight a lot in the last month and it has been almost all bad news. Revelations of a record budget deficit, the emerging worrying impact
As part of the 'Sectarianism and Religiously Motivated Violence' Masters course run by the Lowy Institute's Rodger Shanahan at ANU's National Security College, students are asked to write an article on contemporary sectarian conflict. This piece by William Stoltz was judged the best of those
The establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) reached another milestone on Monday when 50 of the 57 founding members signed the AIIB's Articles of Agreement. Seven countries are still sorting out domestic requirements before signing.
China's Finance Minister Jiwei Lou and
With the signing of the AIIB's Articles of Agreement in Beijing yesterday, how is the Bank shaping up? Here are some key things that struck me reading the Agreement:
The Bank's members are split into two groups: regional and non-regional. Regional members include those countries
While Beijing's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has won overwhelming support (to the surprise of many, including China itself), another bank headquartered in China seems to be flying under the world's radar.
Few people have heard of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB). This was the
This is part 4 of former Fairfax Media Indonesia correspondent Michael Bachelard's series on Papua. The introduction to the series is here and here are part 1, part 2 and part 3.
'In June last year, seven doctors were sent to this town, but five didn't want to come. In September they tried to
Papua New Guinea will commemorate 40 years of independence from Australia this year. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is using the anniversary to promote the changing nature of Australia's relationship with PNG. In a speech earlier this week she said:
There are challenges and
Last week the Lowy Institute hosted a speech by Australia's Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop. If you haven't already listened to it, you can do so here. It's worth staying tuned for the Q&A where Bishop skilfully handled a number of tough questions.
The speech itself was rather simple. The Foreign
The latest round of negotiations for the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change closed in Bonn last Friday with mixed results. With ten formal negotiating days left until crucial climate negotiations resume in Paris later this year, the clock is ticking.
Bonn Climate Change Conference, 1 June
Keri Phillips' excellent backgrounder on the conflict in Bougainville and the upcoming referendum. Results of the Bougainville elections are scheduled to be released on 8 June.
Tensions between Australia and PNG over the proposed Australian diplomatic post in Bougainville appear to be thawing, with
New Lowy Institute polling shows that most Australians support recent budget cuts to overseas aid, but 18-29 year-olds are so-so. Only 33% support the reduction, with 42% opposed.
The ups and downs of the New Zealand aid budget. Good analysis on why Murray McCully has been (mostly) good for NZ
It is hard to avoid a sense of déjà vu when one looks at Indonesia-Australia relations today. Our fundamental strategic interests mostly converge – from regional and maritime stability to managing China's growing power – even if our policy preferences diverge in various issue areas. And
The recent rush by Western countries to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) before the 30 March deadline set by China was widely, and rightly, seen as a policy failure for the US. Earlier, the US had openly opposed the bank.
The US has also resisted reform of the Bretton Woods
Papua New Guinea has reacted to Australia's recent decision to establish a diplomatic post in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville by banning Australian travel to the province. This spat is proving to be an irritant not only for the friendly relationship between Canberra and Port Moresby, but also
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Phillipa Brant, Research Associate.
The Pacific Islands region has been spared any serious impact from cuts to the Australian aid program revealed in budget documents released yesterday.
Australia's bilateral program
Those monitoring the earthquake response will already be well acquainted with the #NepalEarthquake hashtag, but they should also subscribe to this Twitter list.
How Facebook (via Safety Check) and Google (via Person Finder) helped connect people immediately following the 25 April earthquake.
The deaths of five Afghan staff from Save the Children-Australia in Uruzgan province two weeks ago exemplifies the risks of providing development assistance in fragile states.
Development assistance in conflict situations has drastically increased over the past decade, and that trend is likely
The recent contributions on the 1951 Refugee Convention from Khalid Koser and Jane McAdam are heartening. It is good to read rational and reasoned discussion by two experts on the international refugee regime and the challenges it faces.
If timing is anything to go by, Khalid Koser has hit the
At a time when international cooperation on refugees is most sorely needed, countries are instead resorting to increasing unilateralism. Australia is at the forefront. Retreating inwards by trying to seal off borders to people in search of protection is both unrealistic and unsustainable.
In recent years, strategic rivalry between India and China has been evident across the Indo-Pacific, with Beijing progressively growing its diplomatic, economic and military influence on India's land and maritime periphery, and India belatedly pushing back to preserve its once privileged position in
Australia's approach to digital diplomacy is second-rate and entirely inadequate for a nation that sees itself as 'a top 20 country'. Despite an expanded social media presence, Australia continues to lag far behind other countries – large and small – that are investing serious resources into
By Eva Westfield, who was an Australian volunteer based in Port Vila.
Consistently rated the most dangerous countries in the world in terms of disaster risk, Vanuatu is no stranger to the destruction caused by natural hazards.
Talk of Cyclone Pam hitting Vanuatu started about a week before it
Should Australia join the Chinese-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)? As often happens in international affairs, the answer is not found in the technical pros and cons of the proposal, but in the politics.
America seems to have strongly encouraged its close Asian friends (Japan
For many Australians, Laos is a scenic, off-the-beaten path, holiday destination for adventurous travellers.
Relatively few know that it's also a repressive one-party state with a long record of restricting basic rights, and imprisoning or forcibly disappearing critics or citizens who dare to
On 3 March, Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said, 'We must use the celebration of International Women's Day to highlight the plight of women still fighting for freedom and equality, for when that is achieved it will be for the betterment of us all.'
That fight is ongoing in the Asia-
This week's Quick Comment interview is with the Lowy Institute's Dr Philippa Brant, who is behind the Lowy Institute's latest (and very popular) infographic on Chinese aid to the Pacific. Philippa discusses how she put the data together (China doesn't have a comprehensive accounting of its own aid
Mapping Chinese aid in the Pacific, an interactive map launched by the Lowy Institute today, is the first comprehensive survey of Chinese-funded aid projects in the Pacific Islands region.
Lowy Institute Research Associate Dr Philippa Brant drew on over 500 sources including budgets, tender
Headlines blaming the IMF for the Ebola crisis are something you may expect in the tabloid press. However, a robust debate on the role of the IMF in the spread of Ebola was started by an article in The Lancet, a leading health journal.
Four British professors claimed that the fiscal austerity
Eight months until new development goals are agreed. But then what? Good analysis on the Guardian and in this podcast.
15 things you may not have known about EU development cooperation in 2015.
A Chinese-built 338 MW hydropower dam begins operation in Cambodia.
How lawyers can help promote
In case you missed Bill and Melinda Gates' 2014 end-of-year letter about global development, a few highlights:
The global picture of poverty has been completely redrawn in my lifetime. Per-person incomes in Turkey and Chile are where the United States level was in 1960. Malaysia is nearly there,
Jenny Hayward-Jones is Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program and Philippa Brant is a Research Associate at the Lowy Institute.
Pacific Island leaders have had the rare opportunity to meet the international leader of the moment, Narendra Modi, and the president of the world's