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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Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time.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

Non-Government organisations

Chapter 27 of Agenda 21

NGOs play a vital role in raising awareness and proposing solutions to environment and development issues. Funding for both project and administrative purposes is available to NGOs from a number of Commonwealth (Federal) Government programs. (see Case Study )

To facilitate a dialogue with Australian non-government organisations on international environmental issues, the Australian Government established the NGO Consultative Forum on International Environmental Issues in 1993 as part of Australia's follow-up to the Earth Summit (UNCED) held at Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. Among the principles recognised by the Earth Summit as critical to the pursuit of sustainable development was the need for community participation and involvement at all levels of the ecologically sustainable development process.

The forum's role is to provide a channel between the Government and the community for the exchange of views and information on international environmental issues and conventions. Meetings of the forum provide an opportunity for dialogue between the Government and NGOs on Australia's objectives in meetings of the Commission on Sustainable Development and other international environmental meetings. The forum comprises seventeen peak community bodies, drawn from conservation groups, business and industry groups, the ACTU, representatives of aboriginal peoples and women's and youth organisations. The forum meets biannually with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister the Environment, Sport and Territories, the Minister for Development Cooperation and Pacific Island Affairs, Australia's Ambassador for the Environment and relevant officials.

The Australian Government encourages participation by NGOs on Australian delegations to international environment convention meetings. Guidelines provide for invitations to be made to peak NGOs who are members of the NGO Consultative Forum on International Environmental Issues, to nominate two advisers to join Australian delegations to these meetings. To maintain balance in the delegation, the two places are reserved for environment/development and business/industry nominees. If one group declines to nominate an adviser the vacancy is not available for reallocation. In the case of delegations to meetings of the Convention on Climate Change, where the issues to be discussed are especially wide ranging, the Government made a third place available for a union representative/adviser.

NGOs and Australia's development cooperation program

In 1993-94, the Australian Government provided a total of A$70.8 million through NGOs as official development assistance. In addition, it is estimated in excess of $30 million revenue was foregone through tax deductibility provisions on private donations to NGOs. The Australian Government provides funding to NGOs through a variety mechanisms. Central amongst these is the provision of development project subsidies for activities initiated by NGOs through the AIDAB - NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). AIDAB administers this program in consultation with the NGO community through the Committee for Development Cooperation (CDC).

The Australian Government holds quarterly consultations with Australian environment and development NGOs on environment aid policy and programs. An NGO Environment Initiative was introduced in 1989. The scheme is open to all Australian NGOs that have the capacity to implement environmental projects in developing countries. Funding is expected to total A$1.5 million in 1994-95.

NGOs also participate in a wide range of special programs funded by Australia's development cooperation program including: women in development; HIV/AIDS; maternal and child health; assistance for South Africans and for the countries of the Southern African Development Community; community development in the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam; and development education in Australia. Australian NGOs also cooperate extensively with AIDAB in the delivery of emergency relief and refugee assistance.

The Government also provides core support to those NGOs which specialise in the management of volunteer programs. In view of the effectiveness of these programs in strengthening technical expertise in developing countries, enhancing relations with Australia and improving understanding within Australia of conditions in the developing world, funding for volunteer programs increased in 1993-94 to A$8.4 million.

Case Study

Grants to Voluntary Conservation Organisations

For further information contact:

Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories