Where to New Zealand aid?

Hello and welcome to another NZADDs update,

Where is New Zealand aid going? Where could it go? Where should it go? How should it reflect the SDGs? On 5 July NZADDs will he holding a public workshop to look at these questions. We’re still in the planning stages, but please put the date in your diary.

DevNet 2018 is coming. It will be held at Canterbury University, from December 5-7. Their call for panel proposals is out now! It closes 13 April, so get moving and get your panel proposals to them. More information can be found here.

Where to for New Zealand aid?
Like you, no doubt, we’re eager to figure out where the New Zealand aid programme is going. So Jo sent an OIA to the aid programme asking for its country strategies. You can read the response here. (Spoiler alert, she didn’t get the country strategies.) In November last year Jo and I also sent a letter to Minister Peters expressing our concerns about aid under previous government. In March this year we received a reply. You can read it here.

Minister Peters was more effusive in his recent speech on development in the Pacific to the Lowy Institute. It provides some useful pointers as to his thinking. Jo’s analysis of his speech, written for the foreign policy blog the Incline, is here. There’s also Jacinda Adern’s speech on foreign policy to the NZIIA here. There’s good stuff in these speeches; but one obvious omission is the Sustainable Development Goals. In a Devpolicy blog, Jo offers some advice on how New Zealand can join the international community and get up to speed on the SDGs.

Indicators of change
We have had encouraging meetings with MFAT officials, and there is much to be encouraged by in Minister Peters and PM Adern’s speeches. We believe aid will get better under this government. But how will we know for sure? Or, to put it another way, what would be good indicators of change?
Changes that are possible to accurately observe from our vantage point in civil society. Changes that are clearly indicative of improvements in aid quality.

I (Terence) want to create a set of indicators that I can use to track change in New Zealand aid quality. I want to create them and benchmark them now, and then track them over time. Such a tool shouldn’t be the only way we track change, but it could be a useful addition to subjective impressions.

One example example of an indicator, might be the replacement of the aid programme’s current poorly performing NGO/private sector funding mechanism (poorly performing, according to just about everyone including the OECD) with something that works at least as well Koha-PICD (its predecessor) did.

If you’ve got ideas for other examples please email them to terence.wood@anu.edu.au.

That’s all for this update.

Terence and Jo for NZADDs admin.