Peer Review assesses Australian aid in Pacific
A Peer Review Team is traveling around the region assessing the effectiveness of Australia's aid in the Pacific.
A Peer Review Team is assessing the effectiveness of Australia's aid in the Pacific.
The team, put together by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, recently completed the first leg of the review in Samoa.
The reviews are focussing on Australia's bilateral and regional development cooperation and aim to provide recommendations in areas where improvement is needed.
Indira Moala reports.
Around the region, the team will continue meeting with Australian High Commissioners, government and non-government stakeholders, members of civil society and other development partners. Daniel Sloper, who is the first Assistant Secretary of the Pacific Division, from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs, says the Government is keen to hears the recommendations for improvement in its aid programmes.
DANIEL SLOPER: What the peer review is doing is testing that if you like and looking at where there is good practise and where there are issues we need to address. But outside of the review as well we're always interested in feedback on how the aid programme in the pacific is working, particularly the effectiveness of our policy and how we deliver the aid with our partners. And what we can do better to work local communities and other donors as well.
Samoa's newly appointed High Commissioner to Canberra was an observer at the discussions held by the Peer Review team in Samoa. Hinauri Petana, who was previously the principal financial adviser to the Samoan government, says the review in Samoa provided helpful answers as to how the implementation of Australia's aid could be improved.
HINAURI PETANA: There has been a lot of give and take, in terms of how we could work through whatever problems that we would encounter in terms of implementing a lot of these programs. And so that review has helped considerably in looking at the next steps and I think the next step for Australia, given it's indication of wanting to have better returns on their investment in key sectors that they may wish to go in to, implementation becomes an essential aspect of all of this to look at.
Mr Sloper says coordination of aid as well as transparency issues are among the challenges that affect successful implementation of their aid programmes.
DANIEL SLOPER: Clearly some of the discussion with us has been about the sectoral focus we have and how we coordinate with other donors and partner governments to ensure that the development outcomes that we're focusing on do match up with our common interests. I mean we look to this all the time and try to adjust programmes to reflect new priorities on both sides - the Australian government and that of our partner governments. But I think coordination and the transparency of decisions remains a challenge for everyone in the region.
Daniel Sloper says harnessing greater private sector engagement also remains a critical issue that the Australian government is focusing on to help generate prosperity and address other development perspectives shared within the region.
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