But the aid agency says the government must do more to immediately meet growing humanitarian needs, driven in large part by the impacts of the climate crisis.
CARE Australia chief executive Peter Walton highlighted that while the new policy was a positive reset, a number of question marks remain over the ability of those in our region to confront the lived reality of the climate crisis and the commitment of Australian Aid to women and girls beyond our immediate region.
“At first glance, we welcome many of the commitments in this new policy. The stated commitment to putting local organisations and voices in the driving seat, with less risk aversion to allow for more innovation, is truly welcome,” said Walton.
Walton shared that with this new policy, ambition comes the need for a new architecture too; if they are to see these commitments realised in practice.
“We have been particularly vocal around the need for a shift towards genuine locally-led aid, so we look forward to better understanding how this will be realised through a new Civil Society Partnerships Fund.”
CARE Australia says empowering women and girls in climate action and dynamic and flexible humanitarian aid beyond the Indo-Pacific are areas which at first glance, deserve more attention in the policy.
“While we are encouraged by the ambitious tone, including mention of investments to reduce disaster and climate risk, there is no specific commitment to supporting women and girls to adapt to the challenges of the climate crisis,” added Walton.
Walton said that improvements to the transparency of aid flows and decision-making would bring Australia up to the mark of other donor countries, with more support to humanitarian aid needed further afield.
“We continue to await a clear commitment to increased humanitarian aid beyond the Indo-Pacific, recognising this is truly how we can play our part in a world in crisis. For women and girls from Syria through to Afghanistan, Australian Aid can and is already making a real difference. But all too often, we see needs which outstrip resourcing.”
Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.