Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 29 April 2015

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat informs us …

Effectiveness at heart of review of Australia’ s aid to the Region

Measuring the effectiveness of its development assistance to the Pacific region is at the heart of the review of Australia’s aid by Pacific island peers.

The process, coordinated by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), will be the second review of a development partner undertaken as part of the Forum Compact, the first being New Zealand.

“A key focus of such a review is for development partners, in this case Australia, to gain greater insight into how well their policies, procedures and actions support Forum Island Countries’ development efforts, and how these can be improved,” says Cristelle Pratt, the Deputy Secretary General at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

“It is also an opportunity for Forum Island Countries and the region to increase their understanding of these policies and procedures.”

The peer reviews of development partners complements the peer reviews of Pacific island countries, which focus on ways to strengthen country systems in development planning, budgeting and public financial and aid management.

The Review Team of Australia’s aid program brings together senior officials from the Governments of Tonga and Solomon Islands, the Asian Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and a civil society representative from the Pacific Disability Forum.

The team will meet in Canberra from 28 April to 1 May 2015 with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, relevant government agencies, civil society organisations, academics, Heads of Pacific resident missions and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

“This is a great opportunity to assess and draw from practical experiences of participating Forum member countries and development partners in how Australia can strengthen their engagement in the region,” says Natalia Latu, Review team member and the Deputy Chief Executive Officer for the newly established Policy and Reform Division of the Ministry of Finance and National Planning – Government of the Kingdom of Tonga.

The review team will also travel to Samoa from 6 to 8 May 2015 to better understand delivery of Australia’s aid program to a Pacific nation.

The review will present to Australia a set of recommendations on how its development cooperation with Pacific island countries could be improved and strengthened in support of Pacific Island Countries regional and bilateral development needs.


Background Information:

  • The key objective of the Forum Compact was to drive more effective coordination of available development resources, to achieve real progress against the Millennium Development Goals.
  • One of its key deliverables was to conduct peer reviews of country systems, including processes for development planning & budgeting, public financial management and aid management systems. To date, thirteen Forum Island Countries have completed peer reviews of country systems.
  • The idea of a peer review process for development partners in the Pacific emerged from the 2012 Pacific Regional Aid Effectiveness Workshop (PRAEW). In recognising the value added from the results of eight (8) country peer reviews at the time on how to strengthen country systems in Forum Island Countries, the PRAEW suggested that peer reviews of development partners would be an appropriate next step. The 2012 PIC/Development Partners meeting affirmed the recommendations of the PRAEW and tasked the Forum Secretariat to prepare a Terms of Reference for the peer review of development partners.

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