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ONE calls for Australia to shift aid to the world’s poorest

Sydney, the 9th of July 2015 – In the lead up to the Third International Conference on Finance for Development (FfD) being held in Addis Ababa next week (July 13-16), The ONE Campaign has released new analysis that reveals the poorest nations and the poorest people are being hardest hit by cuts to the Australian aid budget.

ONE’s Australia profile found that less than a quarter of Australian aid reaches the poorest countries in the world. In fact, over the past year Australia has cut its aid to Least Developed Countries (LDCs), by more than 20 per cent, or over $200 million dollars – more than the decrease to the total aid program. LDCs in the Indo-Pacific region which have suffered cuts include Timor-Leste, Solomon Islands and Kiribati. This drastic reduction means the share of Australian aid going to LDCs is among the lowest in the developed world, alongside Greece, Slovenia and the Slovak Republic

ONE is calling on Australia to refocus its aid program to ensure that aid reaches those who need it most, by committing to investing at least 50 per cent of their aid spending in LDCs by 2020. ONE is also calling for the reversal of recent cuts to Australia’s overall aid program and for the government to set an ambitious timetable for reaching the international target of spending 0.7% of GNI on aid.

The key findings ONE’s Australian profile include:

  • Less than a quarter (23 per cent) of Australia’s aid program is directed towards the poorest nations. Other countries such as the UK, Canada, Japan, the USA and New Zealand all direct between 30 and 40 per cent of their aid funding to LDCs in an attempt to end extreme poverty
  • Australia’s current aid budget represents only 0.27 per cent of Australia’s Gross National Income (GNI), well below the international target of 0.7 per cent of GNI, and its current budget for LDCs represents only 0.06 per cent of GNI
  • Australian aid funding for programs directly targeting women and girls in particular has also decreased

Political leaders and decision makers from around the world will agree international commitments to support the fight against extreme poverty over the next fifteen years at the FfD conference. ONE is calling for the Australian Government to raise its game and help set the poorest countries on a path to self-sufficiency.

ONE’s Global Policy Director, Eloise Todd said:

“2015 could be a game changer for the world’s most vulnerable people, but decisions taken in Addis Ababa will determine whether the opportunity is seized or squandered. We won’t see an end to extreme poverty unless countries like Australia shift focus to the poorest countries and the poorest people.

“Australia is one of the few donors whose aid to LDCs has been reduced more than decreases to the total aid program. In a declining aid environment, the poorest of the poor are bearing the greatest burden of cuts. So far, the Abbott government has been historic for all the wrong reasons, overseeing cuts to the aid budget that have set Australia down the path to being the least generous it’s ever been in terms of aid. But next week Julie Bishop has the chance to turn this around.

“Despite multiple summits to debate these issues, there’s a shocking lack of global leadership to deliver genuine, life changing commitments for the world’s poorest and hardest to reach. Julie Bishop must inject some urgency into this process in Addis Ababa and encourage fellow leaders to agree historic commitments that ensure that everyone, regardless of gender or country of birth, has access to basic health and education.

Download the ONE DATA Report Australia profile.

Notes to editors

  1. The full DATA report is available at http://www.one.org/datareport
  2. 43% of people living in Least Developed Countries live in extreme poverty, compared with 13% of the population in non-LDC developing countries. LDCs are projected to make up 50% of the global poverty burden by 2030.
  3. ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organization of nearly 7 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, we raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs.Visit one.org for further details on this and other campaigns.