Save the Children welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment to promoting prosperity, security and peace in the Indo-Pacific region, outlined in its Foreign Policy White Paper, and its recognition of the role of overseas aid in achieving these aims.
In particular, Save the Children welcomes the government’s:
- pledge to increase Australia’s efforts to be a leading economic and development partner in the Indo-Pacific region.
- endorsement of the Sustainable Development Goals as the agreed global blueprint for ending poverty.
- commitment to promoting the economic and social participation of the most disadvantaged, including women and girls, and people with a disability.
- increased support for countries to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from humanitarian crises.
- commitment to advancing respect for human rights and international rules-based order.
Save the Children’s Head of Policy & Advocacy, Majella Hurney, said "these commitments were endorsed by the aid agency, which also welcomed the government’s explicit recognition of the important role that overseas aid will play in achieving the aims outlined in the White Paper."
Ms Hurney said investing in overseas aid enables Australia to promote its values as a stable, liberal democracy in the region. She said there are also compelling economic and security reasons for investing in aid.
“Australia’s aid program is a powerful foreign policy tool to address the greatest threats to prosperity, stability and security today. It can be used to address the interrelated challenges of poverty and inequality, lack of respect for human rights, mass displacement, and climate change.”
Ms Hurney said that investing in overseas aid also extends our geopolitical influence at a time of rapid change with shifts in power globally.
“The White Paper acknowledges Australia will face increased competition for influence in the Indo-Pacific region from emerging economies.
“The trajectory of aid spending by China and other emerging donors reveals how overseas aid is being used to extend geopolitical influence in developing countries.”
She said while a middle power such as Australia may have limited influence on global security, the agency’s submission to the White Paper argues we certainly have an important role to play.
“Australia should lift its foreign aid investments not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it is in our national interest. It’s our responsibility to promote a more prosperous, stable and secure world – not just for our generation, but for future generations.”
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