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Publications archive - International Activities and Commitments


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Australia's report to the UNCSD - 1995

Implementation of Agenda 21
Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1995
ISBN 0 6444 3152 0


Chapter 33 of Agenda 21

Environment-related Changes in Australia's Development Cooperation Program Since UNCED.

Budget overview

In the 1994-95 fiscal year, Australia will provide over A$1.486 billion in official overseas development assistance (ODA) which is expected to equate to an ODA/GNP ratio of 0.34%. This ratio has been relatively constant since the late 1980s. Australia recognises the UN ODA target of 0.7% of GNP and has endeavoured to increase its ODA consistent with the needs of developing countries and its own economic circumstances and capacity to assist. However, the need for continued budgetary restraint in order to consolidate the economic recovery will inevitably affect the scope for increasing specific outlays in 1995-96.

Environment-related activities

The overarching philosophy of Australia's development cooperation program is ESD. All activities are aimed at promoting sustainable development in developing countries. Some activities are specifically targeted at making a positive contribution to the environment. The environmental aspects of ESD are addressed in the bilateral aid program on two levels:

by ensuring that environmental impact is considered in the design and implementation of all activities undertaken by AIDAB and

by building a portfolio of projects with specific environmental objectives. A further key step was the introduction of regular environmental audits of the development cooperation program to monitor the environmental impacts of individual projects.

Funding for environment-related activities from the Australian development cooperation program is estimated at over A$120 million for 1994-95. Activities and programs that are specifically environmentally targeted include bilateral projects under the four year A$80 million Environment Assistance Program and funding to non- government organisations (NGOs) for environment activities under the NGO Environment Initiative (A$1.5 million a year). Examples of major projects include the A$7 million Sea Level Rise and Climate Monitoring Project in the Pacific; A$24 million to extend the capabilities of the Indonesian Environmental Impact Management Agency; A$7 million for a watershed planning project in eastern Indonesia; A$6.2 million to protect the world's largest species of butterfly in Oro Province PNG; and A$4.3 million for the PNG Department of Environment and Conservation Strengthening project. Australia focuses considerable attention on providing environmental assistance to the South Pacific through the South Pacific Regional Environment Program, to which Australia has contributed A$3 million in the past two financial years (1992-93 and 1993-94). Some 700 students sponsored under the development cooperation program are currently studying environment-related subjects in Australia.

Green Development Import Finance Facility (DIFF)

In addition to these explicitly environmental activities, there are many others which have significant environmental components. The 1994-95 budget included the introduction of a A$20 million per annum Green Development Import Finance Facility initiative. This will transfer environmentally friendly technology, such as a major water treatment facility in Jiangsu Province, China. This new initiative will fund projects to improve water pollution control, clean energy technology, improved energy efficiency and waste management.

Multilateral development banks and UN organisations

In the past two financial years (1992-93 and 1993-94), Australia has contributed A$508.6 million to international organisations including A$290.8 million to the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and A$157.1 million to UN programs. Australia provides core support to the UNDP (A$17.4 million in 1994-95) and to UNEP (A$1.1 million in 1994-95). Australia therefore has a keen interest in the objectives, effectiveness and efficiency of the multilateral organisations it supports.

With respect to the MDBs, Australia believes that in addition to the issue of levels of MDB assistance, improving the quality of World Bank (including IDA) operations is essential to ensure greater development impact and sustainability of Bank activities in developing countries. To this end, Australia has given support to the proposed program of the 'Next-Steps' follow-up to the Wapenhans Report. Australia has also supported the Bank's efforts to incorporate ESD Principles into the Bank's operations. As a practical measure, Australia has urged that National Environmental Action Plans be completed and incorporated into country assistance strategies as a matter of priority. These nation-level strategies seek to provide a framework for integrating cross sectoral environmental concerns into the broader context of country economic and social development programs.

In 1994, Australia supported the proposal by the Development Committee of the World Bank to establish a Task Force to review the development role being played by the Multilateral Banks - the World Bank and the four regional development banks (the Asian Development, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the African Development Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank). Reflecting our strong interest in the performance and developmental impact of the multilateral banks, Australia sought and has been included as one of the 17 members of the Task Force. It is expected that the Task Force will present its report to the Spring 1996 Meetings of the Development Committee.

Australia has also been involved in the Asian Development Bank's efforts to assume an appropriate role in the implementation of Agenda 21, the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biodiversity. Australia supports the ADB's increased emphasis on the environment as demonstrated by more rigorous environmental assessment procedures and through environmentally focused projects and programs, including capacity building and institution strengthening.

Global environment facility and Montreal Protocol

Australia will provide new and additional funding for replenishments of both the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund as part of the increased environment funding in the 1994-95 budget.

Australia has committed A$43 million over 1994-97 to the Global Environment Facility to assist developing countries address major world environment issues. This follows Australia's commitment of $30 million to the Pilot Phase of the GEF from 1991 to 1994. Australia's commitment to the current phase of the GEF is part of a total of more than US$2 billion which donor countries pledged to the 1994 replenishment of the GEF. The significant level of funding is an important factor in the emergence of the GEF as a major focus for international efforts in four focal areas; to combat global warming, conserve biological diversity, protect international waters and reduce ozone layer depletion. Under the GEF, the agreed incremental costs of activities concerning land degradation, primarily desertification and deforestation, as they relate to the four focal areas are eligible for funding.

Australia's contribution to the GEF confirms our support for the Biodiversity and Climate Change conventions, and helps to meet undertakings given at UNCED to provide new and additional resources in support of the environment. In addition to its financial contribution, Australia continues to play an active role in the governance of the GEF and is currently a Member of the GEF Council, representing a constituency comprised of Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

Australia will also provide continued support to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Over the next three years, the Government has pledged approximately A$10.6 million to the Multilateral Fund to help in the transfer of expertise and ozone-friendly technology to developing countries.

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) promotes collaborative research among Australian scientists and their developing country counterparts on key aspects of sustainable agriculture including: better land, forest and water management; improved animal husbandry and health; improved management of coastal and marine ecosystems; more effective agronomic practices; minimisation of toxic chemical inputs; and socio-economic aspects of sustainable natural resource development and management.

Support to the ACIAR and the International Agricultural Research Centres (IARCs) totalled about A$33 million in 1993-94, having increased eighty percent over two years. Expenditure for 1994-95 is expected to be over A$36 million, which includes Australia's contribution to the international agricultural research centres of A$8.3 million.

Debt rescheduling

As a member of the Paris Club, Australia participates in debt rescheduling of those countries to which we have exposure. Australia has in recent years participated in debt rescheduling of a number of developing countries such as the Philippines, Nicaragua and Egypt, enabling these countries to move to much more sustainable debt levels. While Australia's exposure to the poorest and most heavily indebted countries (PHICs) is relatively small, Australia has also been supportive of Paris Club initiatives to offer greater concessionality in debt rescheduling to the PHICs. Australia was a constructive contributor to the development of the new 'Naples Terms' agreement for the PHICs. The agreement provides for significantly greater relief to eligible countries on bilateral official debt than the agreement of December 1991 and has the potential to provide a substantial benefit to those PHICs which are pursuing economic reforms.

Sectoral ODA

All activities funded under Australia's development cooperation program are aimed at promoting sustainable development in developing countries. Therefore, the funding totals listed in the table below only relate to activities which are specifically targeted at positively assisting the environment and fall within the scope of the sectoral chapters. These activities are funded from country and regional programs and were approved after 1992. Expenditure on multilateral activities and NGO activities, such as projects under the NGO environment initiative have not been included.

1/1/93 to 31/12/94
Chapter Total Expenditure (A$)
10 Integrated planning and management of land resources 7 558 608
11 Combatting deforestation 5 224 736
12 Combatting desertification and drought 2 011 615
13 Sustainable mountain development 2 032 179
14 Sustainable agriculture and rural development 24 776 908
15 Conservation of biological diversity 5 904 363
16 Environmentally sound management of biotechnology 482 446
40 Information for decision-making 6 658 117

For further information contact:

Australian International Development Assistance Bureau