AUSTRALIA AND THE PHILIPPINES CELEBRATE 24 YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP IN EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES
Australia and the Philippines today celebrate 24 years of partnership in empowering Filipino communities to pursue their own development and achieve better standards of living.
“Since 1986, the Australian and Philippines Governments have worked through the Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program (PACAP) to help improve the lives of people in poorer communities across the Philippines,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith said.
Over two decades, PACAP has changed the lives of approximately 1.5 million people in poor communities throughout the Philippines. PACAP has supported more than 2000 community-based projects in partnership with 1,250 civil society organisations.
“Whether by ensuring remote communities finally have access to safe and clean water, or farmers have access to improved agricultural practices for more sustainable year-round production, or children and adults with disabilities are better able to support themselves and their families, PACAP continues to achieve real results on the ground,” Ambassador Smith said.
“One of PACAP’s most significant contributions is building partnerships between a wide range of stakeholders - government, non-government organisations, the private sector and the communities themselves - enabling them to work together to bring about positive change in people’s lives. Communities are empowered to realise their stake and contribute to their own development.”
At a National Forum organised by PACAP, over 100 partners from the government, non-government organisations, and the private sector were provided an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned and successes of PACAP in two decades.
“PACAP’s history, experiences and practices – built over its 24 years of existence – provide a rich and strong foundation of development management. This national forum allows PACAP to tell its story about what worked well and what areas require improvement in terms of engaging communities,” Ambassador Smith said.
“The Australian Government is currently developing a program to succeed PACAP. The new program will be informed by the new Philippines-Australia development assistance strategy, to be agreed by the Governments of the Philippines and Australia next year. It will continue to build on PACAP’s success, working directly with the vibrant Philippines’ community and civil society sectors.”
Australia and the Philippines have a strong relationship, underpinned by over 50 years of partnership in development cooperation. The aid partnership with the Philippines is one of Australia’s largest, with more than Php20 billion in official development assistance over the last five years. Australia’s current annual aid to the Philippines is estimated at over Php 4.5 billion – placing Australia amongst the top grant donors to the Philippines.