Australia, Philippines ink the 2012-2017 Development Cooperation Strategy
The Australian and the Philippines Governments today signed a Statement of Commitment for the Australia-Philippines Development Cooperation Strategy 2012-2017. This provides a road map for the two countries’ partnership to address some of the key issues in the Philippines that keep people poor and vulnerable to poverty.
Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) Deputy Director General James Batley and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Deputy Director General Rolando Tungpalan signed the Statement of Commitment during the High-Level Consultations held at AusAID headquarters in Canberra.
The Statement of Commitment outlines the strategy for the Australia-Philippines development cooperation program over the next six years (2012–2017). It contains the respective commitments of the Australian and Philippine governments that will assist the poor and vulnerable to take advantage of the opportunities that can arise from a more prosperous, stable and resilient Philippines. The Statement of Commitment is in line with the Philippine Development Plan 2011–2016.
“The SoC’s strategic objectives of strengthening basic services for the poor and reducing vulnerabilities arising from climate change and conflict are supportive of the vision and consistent with the objectives, development priorities and outcomes of the Plan,” NEDA’s DDG Tungpalan said.
“This new strategy focuses Australia’s aid program on select key issues where our assistance can make a real difference in improving the lives of the poor,” AusAID’s DDG Batley said. “We will work together with Philippine partners to address critical gaps in social services for the poorest Filipinos, particularly education, and to reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters and conflict.”
Australian aid will assist the Philippine Government to promote opportunities for all by improving learning outcomes of school children in English, maths and science and ensuring that more children finish elementary and secondary education.
“Over the last five years, Australia has helped over two million Filipino children access better quality schooling,” DDG Batley said. “Under the new strategy, we will build on these successes to help the Philippines continue improving learning outcomes as the government expands the education cycle through the ’K to 12’ reforms.”
The Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Bill Tweddell, said, “Australia will also have a strong focus on strengthening local governments, recognising that they deliver most basic services to the poor. Australian assistance will seek to improve the transparency and accountability of local governments, with emphasis on providing more efficient and effective basic services, particularly road infrastructure.”
“By 2017, we will have worked with local governments to rehabilitate and maintain up to 1000 km of the country’s secondary road network. Upgraded roads will help create local jobs, cut transportation costs and increase access of Filipino communities to services such as schools and health clinics,” DDG Batley said.
Australia will assist in building capacity within relevant government institutions and facilitating partnerships between government and civil society to support the Philippine Government’s thrust for a more transparent and accountable government.
“Disasters and conflict drive people into poverty and threaten sustainable economic development,” DDG Batley said. “Australia and the Philippines will also work together to address these major challenges to reduce the vulnerability of poor Filipinos to both natural disasters and conflict.”
DDG Tungpalan emphasized the Philippine Government’s clear and coherent reform agenda premised on good governance and a greater focus on higher order results (i.e. outcomes and impacts). He added that a strong partnership with the Australian Government in planning, implementing and monitoring and evaluating aid and investment programs is essential in the delivery of an effective joint development cooperation program.
“Agreeing to a Statement of Commitment entails bigger challenges for both Australia and the Philippines but this new approach underscores a real commitment to greater alignment, closer collaboration, and shared accountability by both Governments,” DDG Tungpalan said.
Australia is a long-standing development partner of the Philippines and the country’s largest bilateral grant aid donor. In the current financial year, Australia will provide over Php5 billion in development assistance to the Philippines.