What James Shaw’s climate change announcement does & doesn’t mean for New Zealand aid

Earlier this week James Shaw announced that New Zealand will give $1.3 billion as climate finance over 4 years to developing countries. As always, in the maddeningly murky world of aid, we know the headline figures, but beyond that, an awful lot is missing.

Here’s what we know and what we don’t:

What we know
Shaw said that this would be government aid money. Under Paris Agreement rules, the money could potentially have involved private finance, but Shaw’s statements rule this out. Also, under Paris rules the money could have had a loan component. But New Zealand doesn’t loan aid, and there’s been no talk of changing this. The money will almost certainly take the form of government aid grants. This is good.

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New Zealand aid transparency gets (a bit) better

When the budget was released in May, I lamented New Zealand’s lack of government aid transparency. (Read the Devpolicy blog here, or the NZADDs budget update here.)

To its credit, MFAT has now placed some very helpful aid data on its website. In particular, it states how much it plans to spend over the next three years in each of its main Pacific partners and Timor Leste, as well as regional totals for the rest of the world.

To be clear, this isn’t the end of our transparency woes. There are other areas where more information is still in short supply. To give one example, it would be great if the 23 four-year international development cooperation plans for country and other programmes were placed online when finalised.

Nevertheless, this is a real transparency improvement and the Aid Programme deserves credit for it. (Thanks also to the Twitter user who alerted me to the new data.)

Terence for NZADDs admin.