Tuesday 18 Jun 2019 | 11:11 | SYDNEY
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Aid & Development

DFAT & digital diplomacy: In denial and in need of review

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

Turnbull's new cabinet is great news for the Pacific

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. Steven Ciobo

The G20 and the Future of International Economic Governance

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

Australia's foreign policy and refugee resettlement

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

Australia–Papua New Guinea relations: Could do better

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

Papua New Guinea: Keep calm and muddle through?

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

Australia's PNG solution: The seeds of sectarianism?

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

Beijing should hasten slowly on AIIB

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

BRICS New Development Bank moves ahead quietly

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

For Australians, is PNG a partner or an obligation?

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

The road to Paris: Ten days and counting

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

A way forward for Indonesia-Australia relations

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

Australia-PNG diplomatic spat needs swift resolution

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

Australia's Pacific aid budget spared from serious cuts

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

Digital Asia links: Nepal earthquake special

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.

Is enough being done to protect aid workers?

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

Australia's unsustainable approach to asylum-seekers

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. The

Nepal aid response reflects regional rivalries

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

Six ideas for rescuing Australian digital diplomacy

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

Cyclone Pam: A photo essay from a volunteer

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

Tough road for Asia's women activists

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-

A new tool to examine Chinese aid in the Pacific

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

No, the IMF did not cause the Ebola crisis

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

Getting better all the time

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,

Fiji grabs the limelight as leaders of China and India visit

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

The top four myths about China in the Pacific

Chinese president Xi Jinping's impending visit to Fiji, where he will meet with all of the eight Pacific leaders whose nations diplomatically recognise China, means newspapers will be filled with ruminations on China's strategic influence in the South Pacific and what this means for Australia and

The case for Pacific Island regionalism

A few months ago I stood on a beach in Tarawa, the most populous of islands comprising the Micronesian nation of Kiribati. It's long and thin sliver of land where you can walk from one side of the island to the other in minutes. It has a population density up to twice that of Sydney or New York, but

China plans a global bullet-train dynasty

It is often observed in China that, the worse the economy, the more active the nation's railway building becomes. A flurry of new high speed rail (HSR) announcements, domestic and international, might suggest that policymakers are worried. Indicators like electricity, freight, steel and wholesale

Australia and the AIIB: A lost opportunity

The debate about whether Australia should join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has gone beyond the realm of economic development and investment to hit at the core of Australia's apparent security dilemma. The initial concern revolved around the governance arrangements and whether

Chinese aid in Fiji coming under new pressures

I was in Fiji last week to get an update on Chinese assistance to the country, as part of a larger project I'm doing mapping Chinese aid activities in the Pacific islands, to be launched in early 2015. Navua Hospital, built with Chinese aid assistance, Fiji. (Author photo) Fiji is becoming

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