Aid Effectiveness Review and Inquiry into Australia's Relationship with the Countries of Africa report
In July, the Foreign Minister released the Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness and the Government’s response. This was the first time in 15 years that a review had taken place of Australia’s aid program, and provided a good opportunity to raise awareness about Australia’s leadership role in blindness prevention and the work of Vision 2020 Australia’s Global Consortium. Vision 2020 Australia developed a submission to the Review, and published articles in the Australian Financial Review and on the Lowy Institute’s website.
The Review contained several recommendations that closely mirrored points that had been made by Vision 2020 Australia, including increases in Australia’s Aid Program in Africa and the ongoing development of partnership approaches. The Review also recommended that a series of ‘Flagships’ be developed which would guide Australia’s Aid Program. These Flagships would be determined with reference to five criteria: Australia's comparative advantage; neglected needs; the presence of a 'tipping point'; high prospects for success; and related Australian interests. Blindness prevention satisfies each of these criteria — as indicated by the inclusion of blindness prevention in the Australian Labor Party’s pre-election Aid Policy Statement in 2010 — and Vision 20202 Australia will continue to advocate on this issue. The Review and the Government’s response can be found here.
In further positive news for the sector, in June the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee tabled the Report into Australia’s Relationship with the Countries of Africa. The Report cited both Vision 2020 Australia submission and the evidence provided at a Public Hearing, noting the suggestion that Australia could expand the leadership role it was already playing in blindness prevention into Africa, and that this could ‘act as a catalyst for further resource mobilisation from other stakeholders.’ Vision 2020 Australia will continue to highlight the effectiveness of blindness prevention programs, and push for increased blindness prevention funding for Africa. The Committee’s Report can be found here.