Australia reaffirms its commitment to the Pacific with new development policy

Dear Editor

On 8 August 2023, Australia launched its new International Development Policy.

The first in a decade, the policy reflects Australia’s enduring commitment to stability and prosperity in partnership with Samoa and others in the region. It sets out Australia’s long-term vision for international development and reinforces our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and 2030 agenda.

It also dawns a new era of greater responsiveness, deeper listening, and more cooperation than ever before. This policy further enhances our commitments as outlined in our Samoa-Australia Bilateral Partnership Arrangement (O le fala folasia i lo ta Va) which was signed by Prime Ministers Fiame Naomi Mataafa and Anthony Albanese in Canberra earlier this year.

Australia listened carefully to the contributions of a broad range of Samoan and Pacific voices, hundreds of community groups and development experts around the region. These perspectives have shaped the policy in significant ways.  

For example, more of the programs we fund in Samoa will be led locally so that real and sustainable change can be achieved in communities. 

We will also strengthen relationships with partners, including the Government of Samoa to ensure that solutions are fit for purpose and better respond to the concerns and recommendations of local experts.   

I am pleased to confirm that Australia will be maintaining our recently increased AUD$4.78bn budget commitment to international development for 2023/2024, including AUD$53.5 million in official development assistance for Samoa. 

This funding will allow programs like our ‘Tautua - Human Development for All’ and ‘Tautai - Governance for Economic Growth’ Partnerships with the Government of Samoa to thrive. The results of which will be greater impact on the ground, led by Samoa’s priorities as outlined in its Pathway for the Development of Samoa.

Among its key commitments, the policy identifies ambitious targets and action on climate change through greater investment and access to specific climate expertise.   

Australia’s new policy comes at a time when our region is being reshaped by factors such as the climate crisis, growing poverty in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising geostrategic contest. These are immense challenges that require collective and persistent efforts.

Over the next year we will be engaging closely with our partners on country specific development plans for bilateral and regional programs. These plans will provide a mutually agreed vision on how we will work with our partners to take forward the new policy.

As Australia’s senior representative to Samoa, it is my privilege to help respond and unlock the development potential of our region.  

Australia’s International Development Policy is available here 

I look forward to continuing work with partners on our shared ambition and commitments. 

Your sincerely,

Emily Luck

Australia’s High Commissioner to Samoa

Samoa Observer

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