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Performance of Australian Aid 2015-16

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Executive Summary

This report summarises the performance of the Australian aid program in 2015-16. It reviews progress with implementation of the Government’s policy and performance framework.

In 2015-16, new strategies for gender equality and women’s empowerment, economic infrastructure, aid for trade, private sector development, education, humanitarian assistance, social protection, and the Australia Awards program were released. Strategies are now in place to guide Australian aid investments for all priority investment areas. Aid Investment Plans for all major country and regional programs were released in September 2015, setting out the direction and expected results for each program. Internationally, in September 2015, Australia joined with other UN member states in committing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Further progress was made in 2015-16 against the ten strategic targets set by the Government to assess the performance of the aid program as a whole. As at 1 July 2016, eight of the ten targets had been achieved with a further target on track to be achieved within the required timeframe. The aid program fell just short of meeting the remaining target on gender equality. Strategies are in place in order to meet the target in 2016-17. Progress against the full set of targets is reviewed in Chapter 1 of this report.

Overall, country and regional programs achieved solid results against the objectives set out in Aid Investment Plans. A majority of program objectives are on track to be achieved within expected timeframes and the majority of 2015-16 performance benchmarks were achieved. However, progress varied within and between regions. A summary of country and regional aid program performance is presented in Chapter 2. Comprehensive assessments of individual program performance are contained in annual Aid Program Performance Reports, available on DFAT’s website.

Australia’s core funding to multilateral organisations and Australian non-government organisations contributed to a broad range of development results. Multilateral performance assessments for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, United Nations Population Fund, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UN Women, World Health Organisation, and the World Bank Group were completed in 2016 and confirmed that these organisations are performing effectively. Summaries of these assessments, as well as the performance of other global programs including scholarships and volunteers are presented in Chapter 3.

Australian aid achieved strong results against the six priority investment areas outlined in the aid policy. Performance was strongest in the priority investment areas of infrastructure, trade facilitation and international competitiveness; effective governance; building resilience; and education and health. The agriculture, fisheries and water investment area comparatively underperformed in 2015-16. Improvements in this area are needed in relation to effectiveness and gender equality. Action is being taken to improve investment designs and to address gender equality issues in investment implementation. Performance by investment priority area and the aid program’s approach to innovation is discussed in Chapter 4.