Past events

This page provides a list of archived events we have held, including video recordings, related blogs, and (more recently) audio podcasts: Devpolicy Talks.

2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011
Women Police Officers in Liberia. Photo by UNFPA Flickr.
Women, peace and security: a new global index
5.30–6.30pm 13 December 2017
Dr Jeni Klugman, Managing Director, Georgetown Institute for Women Peace and Security, Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government’s Women in Public Policy Program, Harvard University; Hon Dr Sharman Stone, Australian Global Ambassador for Women and Girls; Dr Anu Mundkur, ACFID Secondee to the Australian Civil-Military Centre.

Countries are more peaceful and prosperous when women are accorded full and equal rights and opportunity. The new global Women, Peace and Security Index from Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the Peace Research Institute Oslo identifies challenges and opportunities for transformative change.

The index incorporates three basic dimensions of wellbeing—inclusion (economic, social, political); justice (formal laws and informal discrimination); and security (at the family, community, and societal levels)—and captures and quantifies them through 11 indicators. It ranks 153 countries—covering more than 98 per cent of the world’s population—along these three dimensions in a way that focuses attention on key achievements and major shortcomings.

At the Australian launch of the index, Lead Author Jeni Klugman shared details on the main findings, and the utility of the index for groups such as policymakers, civil society and the private sector. She was joined by Australia’s Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, the Hon Dr Sharman Stone, and Dr Anu Mundkur, Australian Council for International Development’s representative on the steering group of the Australian Civil Society Coalition on Women, Peace and Security, to discuss the implications of the index more broadly. The event was followed by a networking reception.

The podcast and slides are now available.

» read more
Photo by World Bank Group
The Social Observatory: integrating the social sciences for adaptive practice
12.30–1.30pm 12 December 2017
Vijayendra Rao, Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank.

The Social Observatory (SO) is a unit within the World Bank’s Development Research Group. It has worked for seven years with a $5 billion portfolio of community-based livelihoods projects in India. This work combines rigorous impact evaluations with ethnography, process evaluations, and the development of new citizen-led data systems to transform how such projects learn and adapt. This talk reported on some aspects of this work, showing how randomised control trials (RCTs) and ethnographies can be meaningfully combined, and demonstrated new tools to deepen collective action. For more see:

Vijayendra Rao is a Lead Economist in the Development Research Group of the World Bank. His research has spanned subjects that include gender, inequality, mixed-methods, culture, decentralisation, community development, and deliberative democracy. He obtained a PhD in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and taught at the University of Chicago, Michigan, and Williams College before joining the World Bank.

The podcast and slides are now available.

» read more
Photo by madlemurs, Flickr Creative Commons
A new policy paradigm for resource-rich developing countries: could an export boom be contractionary?
12.30–1.30pm 6 December 2017
Dr Martin Davies, Associate Professor of Economics, Washington and Lee University; Centre Associate, Development Policy Centre, ANU.

Resource-rich developing countries are different. They obviously have large resource sectors, but these typically operate as enclaves, and most profits are repatriated, so net factor income is typically large and negative. In this seminar, Martin Davies presented the findings of a paper co-authored with Marcel Schröder, which presents a simple model of internal and external balance that incorporates the key features of this class of countries. Using this framework, the authors suggest a new paradigm for policy-setting in resource-rich developing countries. This includes a new equilibrium exchange rate concept, and a number of other interesting results, including the possibility that an export boom could be contractionary. The authors then estimate, using this new approach, a set of equilibrium real exchange rates for a panel of resource-rich developing countries.

Dr Martin Davies is Assistant Professor of Economics at Washington and Lee University. His research interests include international trade and development. He has a DPhil from Oxford University, and has taught at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), St John’s College Oxford, and the Foreign Commonwealth Office (UK). He has held a post at the Australian Treasury, and is a visitor to UPNG under the ANU-UPNG partnership.

The slides are now available.

» read more
2017 Mitchell Oration - Development: towards 21st century approaches
5.30–6.30pm 4 December 2017
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Board Chair, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Are our current approaches to development cooperation fit for purpose to address contemporary challenges? How should development practice evolve to reflect 21st century priorities and knowledge? And how can it bridge the traditional donor-recipient divide? Can aid donors and recipients meaningfully engage with the private sector, private philanthropy, and other new sources of financing?

In the 2017 Mitchell Oration, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala drew on more than 30 years of development and financial expertise to reflect on the need for a new way forward.

A development economist and former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Dr Okonjo-Iweala is uniquely placed to provide perspectives on these crucial questions. She has served as Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, since January 2016. She has twice served as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, most recently between 2011 and 2015 – a role that encompassed the expanded portfolio of Coordinating Minister for the Economy. In 2006 she served as Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, and has also held several key positions at the World Bank, including as Managing Director.

The Mitchell Oration series, of which this is the fifth, has been created to provide a forum at which the most pressing development issues can be addressed by the best minds and most influential practitioners of our time.

This lecture was presented by the Development Policy Centre at Crawford School of Public Policy, with generous support from the Harold Mitchell Foundation.

This event was live streamed. To view the video please click here. The podcast is available here.

» read more
China and the United States as aid donors: past and future trajectories
12.30–1.30pm 29 November 2017
Dr Patrick Kilby, Senior Lecturer, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU; and Professor Frank Bongiorno, School of History, ANU.

The United States and China have followed nearly parallel paths as providers of foreign aid over the past seven decades. Although both countries’ aid programs were ostensibly aimed at development, both also leveraged their aid programs to further their own national interests, using very different strategies.

The United States has largely provided foreign aid with the aim of stabilising the world order, favouring a patron-client relationship with recipient countries and using aid to promote economic and political liberalisation. China, on the other hand, has used its foreign aid program primarily to strengthen its position as a leader of the Global South, favouring a hands-off political approach and emphasising reciprocity and solidarity with aid recipients.

In this seminar, Professor Frank Bongiorno launched and Dr Patrick Kilby discussed his recent monograph for the East West Center on US and Chinese aid. In times of growing authoritarianism, as the Trump administration considers cutting foreign aid by one third, he argues that the US should carefully consider whether it will cede the ‘aid race’ to its political competitor.

Dr Patrick Kilby is a political scientist with the School of Archaeology and Anthropology in the College of Arts and Social Sciences, The Australian National University (ANU), and convener of the Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development. He was an East West Center Visiting Fellow in Washington in 2017, and a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2018.

Professor Frank Bongiorno is a professor at the School of History, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU. He has held lecturing positions at King’s College London (2007-11), the University of New England (2000-07) and Griffith University (1996), and also taught previously at ANU (1994).

The podcast is available here.

» read more
Strengthening government systems and processes in PNG: ICAC and other issues
12.30–1.30pm 15 November 2017
Eric Kwa, Secretary/CEO, PNG Constitutional Law Reform Commission.

In this seminar, Dr Eric Kwa discussed the agenda and approach being taken by PNG’s new government in relation to strengthening government systems and processes. Among other topics, Dr Kwa discussed the design of the proposed PNG Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Dr Kwa is the Secretary/CEO for the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Constitutional and Law Reform Commission and one of the country’s pre-eminent legal thinkers. A lawyer by profession with many years of experience in practice and research, Dr Kwa holds a PhD in Environmental Law from Auckland University, New Zealand. He also holds a Master of Laws with Honours (LLM (Hon)) from the University of Wollongong and a Law Degree with Honours (LLB (Hon)) from the University of Papua New Guinea. He was formerly an Associate Professor of Law and Dean of the University of Papua New Guinea Law School.

The podcast is now available.

» read more
Supporting economic reform in Vanuatu: the Governance for Growth program
12.30–2pm 9 November 2017
Bob Warner, Visiting Fellow, Development Policy Centre; and staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Governance for Growth.

The Governance for Growth (GfG) program in Vanuatu has been running for ten years, and is about to move into its third phase. Considered to be quite innovative when it was first implemented, the program has supported some significant economic policy and public finance reforms. It has also survived changes to the institutional arrangements for the delivery of Australian aid, and significant shifts in the political landscape in Vanuatu.

The program was recently the subject of two in-depth reviews, one led by the Overseas Development Institute, and the other by a team of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) economists. These reviews provide an opportunity to consider the successes and failures of GfG, what elements of the model were most useful in supporting success, and whether the lessons of the last ten years have implications for other small island developing states.

These issues were discussed in a panel session involving:

Pablo Kang, Assistant Secretary, Melanesia Branch, DFAT, and former Head of Mission in Vanuatu

Matthew Harding, Director, Pacific Economic Growth Section, DFAT, and Manager of GfG during the evaluations

Jonathan Gouy, Director, Development Economics Unit, DFAT and leader of the economic review

Clinton Pobke, Manager and Jennifer Kalpokas Doan, Senior Program Manager, GfG

Bob Warner, Visiting Fellow, Development Policy Centre, and member of the GfG review team

This event is presented by the Development Policy Centre, a consortium partner of the Pacific Research Program (PRP). PRP is supported by the Australian aid program.

The podcast and slides are now available.

» read more
PNG after the elections: politics
PNG after the elections: politics
12.30–1.30pm 18 October 2017
Nicole Haley, Bell School; Terence Wood, Development Policy Centre; Ronald May, College of Asia and the Pacific; Bal Kama, ANU College of Law.

The 2017 Papua New Guinea National Elections, held in June and July, copped both criticism and praise — but mostly criticism. Ballot box mysteries, corruption allegations, electoral roll issues, unpaid striking polling workers and localised violence dominated news headlines.

Despite all this, and despite the many legal challenges to results yet to be resolved, huge numbers of voters turned out to exercise their democratic right, and a government has formed under returning Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Now that the excitement of the vote itself has passed, what are the implications for PNG’s political landscape? And what are the lessons learned to improve the running of future elections?

A panel of experts discussed how the vote went, the winners and losers, and the longer-run political challenges that the government may face in its term.

Nicole Haley provided an overview of the insights from electoral observers, while Terence Wood discussed election results and issues. Ron May analysed how the parties fared, who won and who lost, and why. Bal Kama explored the legal issues facing the new government and the many appeals against declared outcomes. The panel was chaired by Stephen Howes.

This forum was the second in a series on PNG after the 2017 elections, hosted by the Development Policy Centre.

Listen to podcast here

» read more
 PNG after the elections: the economy
PNG after the elections: the economy
12.30–1.30pm 11 October 2017
Stephen Howes, Director, Development Policy Centre, ANU; Nelson Nema, School of Business and Public Policy, University of PNG; Rohan Fox, Research Officer, Development Policy Centre.

The colourful banners and huge campaign rallies of the 2017 Papua New Guinea National Elections held in June and July may have put policy on the backburner for some as they were swept up in the excitement of the vote.

But one issue was never far from voters’ minds as they headed to the polls — the concerning state of the country’s economy, and the impact on their own lives.

The returned O’Neill government faces major economic challenges. So what are the problems, and what should the Prime Minister and his new Treasurer do about them?

Marcel Schröder of Lebanese American University, Rohan Fox of the ANU Development Policy Centre and Nelson Nema of the University of Papua New Guinea presented their 2017 PNG Economic Survey, co-authored with their colleague, Stephen Howes.

The panel was chaired by Michelle Rooney.

This was the first in a two-part series on PNG after the 2017 elections. A second event on political issues will be held on 18 October.

This event is presented as part of the Development Policy Centre’s PNG Project, which receives funding from the Australian Aid Program through the Pacific Governance and Leadership Precinct.

View presentation slides

Listen to podcast

» read more
Grant Walton
Anti-corruption and its discontents: local, national and international perspectives on corruption in PNG
12.30–1.30pm 19 September 2017
Grant Walton, Research Fellow, Development Policy Centre, ANU.

There has been a rapid scaling up of anti-corruption initiatives since the mid-1990s, and anti-corruption programs are now a core part of development policy and practice. A new book by Development Policy Centre Research Fellow Grant Walton examines the relevance of anti-corruption discourse in Papua New Guinea (PNG), one of the most culturally rich and ‘corrupt’ countries on earth.

Anti-corruption and its discontents: local, national and international perspectives on corruption in Papua New Guinea critically examines the collision of international, national and local perspectives on corruption, challenging international assumptions about corruption and how it should be fought in developing countries. In this event, author Grant Walton shared his findings, while Sam Koim, the former head of PNG’s anti-corruption Investigation Task-Force Sweep, officially launched the book.

Grant Walton is a Research Fellow at the Development Policy Centre, ANU. He received his PhD from the University of Melbourne. Over the past decade Grant has conducted research in PNG, Liberia and Afghanistan. He is also Deputy Director of the Transnational Research Institute on Corruption, and a Research Associate of the University of Birmingham’s Developmental Leadership Program.

Sam Koim is a Papua New Guinean lawyer whose career has focused on anti-corruption efforts. He was a Principal Legal Officer at the PNG Department of Justice and Attorney General, before becoming Chairman of Investigation Task-Force Sweep, PNG’s multi-agency anti-corruption body. He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Development Policy Centre.

» read more
Nematullah Bizhen
Aid Paradoxes in Afghanistan: building and undermining the state
12.30–1.30pm 13 September 2017
Dr Nematullah Bizhan, Research Fellow, Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University.

The relationship between aid and state building is highly complex and the effects of aid on weak states depend on donors’ interests, aid modalities and the recipient’s pre-existing institutional and socio-political conditions. This book argues that, in the case of Afghanistan, the country inherited conditions that were not favourable for effective state building. Although some of the problems that emerged in the post-2001 state building process were predictable, the types of interventions that occurred—including an aid architecture which largely bypassed the state, the subordination of state building to the war on terror, and the short horizon policy choices of donors and the Afghan government—reduced the effectiveness of the aid and undermined effective state building.

By examining how foreign aid affected state building in Afghanistan since the US militarily intervened in Afghanistan in late 2001 until the end of President Hamid Karzai’s first term in 2009, this book reveals the dynamic and complex relations between the Afghan government and foreign donors in their efforts to rebuild state institutions. The work explores three key areas: how donors supported government reforms to improve the taxation system, how government reorganised the state’s fiscal management system, and how aid dependency and aid distribution outside the government budget affected interactions between state and society. Given that external revenue in the form of tribute, subsidies and aid has shaped the characteristics of the state in Afghanistan since the mid-eighteenth century, this book situates state building in a historical context.

In this event, author Dr Nematullah Bizhan shared his findings, while Professor Mark Evans, officially launched the book.

Nematullah Bizhan is Research Fellow at the Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government. He is also a Senior Research Associate at the Oxford University’s Global Economic Governance Program and a Visiting Fellow at Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy and Development Policy Centre, The Australian National University. He has a PhD in Political Science and International Relations from The Australian National University and was previously a high-level participant in the post-2001 government of Afghanistan.

Listen to podcast

» read more
Sam Koim
The corrupt cannot fight corruption
12.30–1.30pm 31 August 2017
Sam Koim, former Chairman, Investigation Task-Force Sweep, Papua New Guinea.

Corruption is a pernicious societal disease that has devastating consequences that can cripple a nation. Although corruption has become a global challenge, its scale and prevalence in any country depend on how it is being addressed. There are countries that are perceived to be less corrupt as graded by Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index, such as Finland, Denmark and New Zealand, and there are others that were once corrupt, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, that have now become the epitome of the fight against corruption.

In this seminar, Sam Koim discussed the literature on experiences of other anti-corruption agencies, his own experience as the former head of Papua New Guinea’s anti-corruption Investigation Task-Force Sweep, and how addressing police corruption is the lynchpin to combating corruption.

The presentation is part of a research paper he is working on about addressing corruption in resource rich developing countries with communal social contexts. He has designed a four-pronged approach to curb corruption effectively, focusing on PNG as a case study.

This seminar is co-hosted by the ANU Development Policy Centre, the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) and the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia program.

Sam Koim has been one of the most significant legal investigators and policy makers in PNG in recent years. From 2011 to April 2017 he was Chairman and Principal Legal Officer of Investigation Task-Force Sweep, a national multiagency team investigating corruption, prosecuting offenders, recovering tax and proceeds of crime, and recommending administrative disciplinary actions. Prior to his appointment to the taskforce, he was Principal Legal Officer in the Department of Justice and Attorney General, Papua New Guinea.

Listen to podcast

» read more
International intervention and local politics
International intervention and local politics
12.30–1.30pm 24 August 2017
Shahar Hameiri, Associate Professor, University of Queensland; Fabio Scarpello, Consultant, VJW International; and Saku Akmeemana, Principal Specialist, Governance, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

International peace and statebuilding interventions have become ubiquitous since the 1990s. Their frequent failures, however, have prompted some researchers and practitioners to move beyond focusing on interveners’ ideas and approaches to analysing how their interactions with recipients shape outcomes. The recently published book by Shahar Hameiri, Caroline Hughes and Fabio Scarpello, International Interventions and Local Politics: Fragmented States and the Politics of Scale (Cambridge University Press, 2017), critically evaluates these analyses, advancing an innovative approach, placing the politics of scale at the core of the conflicts and compromises shaping the outcomes of international interventions. Different scales — e.g. local, national and international — privilege different interests, unevenly allocating power, resources and political opportunities.

In a panel discussion, two of the book’s authors discussed their approaches, demonstrating their utility with a case study of the Aceh Government Transformation Program. Saku Akmeemana acted as discussant, providing a policy practitioner’s perspective on the book’s findings.

Shahar Hameiri is Associate Professor of International Politics and Associate Director of the Graduate Centre in Governance and International Affairs, School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland.

Fabio Scarpello is a Consultant with VJW International and an Associate Fellow of the Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University.

Saku Akmeemana is the Principal Specialist, Governance, at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Listen to podcast

View presentation [PDF]

» read more
Australia’s foreign aid dilemma
12.30–1.30pm 23 August 2017
Jack Corbett, Associate Professor, University of Southampton, UK.

The Australian aid program faces a fundamental dilemma: how, in the absence of deep popular support, should it generate the political legitimacy required to safeguard its budget and administering institutions?

A new book, Australia’s Foreign Aid Dilemma: Humanitarian Aspirations Confront Democratic Legitimacy, tells the story of the actors who have grappled with this question over 40 years. It draws on extensive interviews and archival material to uncover how ‘court politics’ shapes both aid policy and administration. The lesson for scholars and practitioners is that any holistic understanding of the development enterprise must account for the complex relationship between the aid program of individual governments and the domestic political and bureaucratic contexts in which it is embedded. If the way funding is administered shapes development outcomes, then understanding the ‘court politics’ of aid matters.

In August 23rd, Devpolicy hosted the launch of the book “Australia’s foreign aid dilemma”, written by Jack Corbett. Mr Corbett also presented a seminar on this topic.

Jack Corbett is Associate Professor of Politics at the University of Southampton, UK; Honorary Associate Professor at The Australian National University’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs; and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Griffith University, Australia.

He is the author of Being Political Leadership and Democracy in the Pacific Islands (2015, University of Hawaii Press); Australia’s Foreign Aid Dilemma: Humanitarian Aspirations Confront Democratic Legitimacy (2017, Routledge); and with Wouter Veenendaal, Democracy in Small States: Why It Can Persist Against the Odds (forthcoming, Oxford University Press).

View presentation slides [PDF]

Listen to podcast

» read more
Political settlements and their trajectories
12.30–1.30pm 16 August 2017
Sue Ingram, Honorary Senior Policy Fellow, State, Society and Governance in Melanesia, ANU.

Over the last decade, international development policies, most notably in the UK, have advanced ‘political settlements’ as a framing concept to guide statebuilding practice in fragile and conflict-affected states. Such policies have encouraged efforts towards achieving an inclusive, or inclusive enough, political settlement as a bulwark against instability. The empirical research underpinning the policy dictum, however, is surprisingly thin.

This presentation probed the relationship between the character of a post-conflict political settlement and subsequent trajectories of stability or instability through two case studies: Timor-Leste and Bougainville.

While there is a headline correlation between an inclusive settlement and stability, and an exclusionary settlement and instability, the processes at work are more nuanced. In these two case studies the proximate drivers of instability, which may be the product of an exclusionary settlement, are serious elite splits and rent restriction. Conversely, elite cooperation and rent sharing support stability. The case studies also highlight several factors that can accentuate or moderate the motivation and capacity of elites to destabilise, and of citizens to fall in behind them.

This seminar was presented by the Development Policy Centre in conjunction with The State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) program.

Sue Ingram is an honorary senior policy fellow with the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) program in the College of Asia and the Pacific, the Australian National University.

View presentation slides

Listen to podcast

» read more
Alice Albright
Financing global education: challenges and opportunities
5.30–6.30pm 7 August 2017
Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer, Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

Investing in equitable, quality education systems has a powerful positive impact on economies and societies, and in turn drives progress across the range of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Educating and empowering girls and women in particular helps to strengthen economic prosperity, and improves stability and health outcomes.

However, the education sector is chronically underfunded.

Until recently, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has relied largely on financing from traditional donors. Over the past year, GPE has developed a new comprehensive financing and funding framework to mobilise additional, more diverse and better financing for education, and to more efficiently deploy its funding ahead of its next replenishment to be held in early 2018. For Australia, the replenishment and new financing and funding framework provide opportunities to emphasise the education challenges faced by the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to identify and target new resources to tackle these challenges.

In this public lecture, Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of GPE, discussed the global and regional education opportunities, these financing challenges and how GPE is adapting and innovating to address them.

Alice Albright was appointed as the first Chief Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education’s Secretariat in February 2013. Before taking this role, Ms Albright served in the Obama Administration as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), and as the Chief Financial and Investment Officer for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Listen to podcast here

» read more
ODE evaluation
Australian aid evaluations: basic education and pandemics
1–4.30pm 7 August 2017
Staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Cardno, and The Australian National University.

This forum, which was jointly organised by the Development Policy Centre and the Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE), was the latest in a series on the evaluation of Australian aid.

It focused on two recent evaluations. The first was an end of program review for the Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao (BEAM-ARMM) program, which involved four implementing partners working across four distinct components in the conflict-affected Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. It’s objective was to contribute to poverty alleviation and sustainable peace, through increasing access and quality of basic education, and training for Out of School Youth. The review highlighted some of the challenges and lessons for evaluating and achieving improved educational outcomes in complex, high-risk environments.

The second evaluation focuseed on pandemics and emerging infectious diseases, with the view of contributing to the evidence base on strengthening health systems in the Asia-Pacific region to prevent, detect and respond. The evaluation informed decision-making about future Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) investments and policy engagement on regional health security, and approaches for future DFAT responses to disease outbreaks. The evaluation also contributed to the literature on lessons learned from previous outbreak responses, with a focus on impact on human and animal health systems and community engagement on prevention and detection of emerging infectious diseases.

ODE is an operationally independent unit within DFAT that measures and reports on the effectiveness of the Australian aid program. Further information about ODE

Further information about the Development Policy Centre:

View Presentations

BEAM-ARMM end of program review

By Ty Morrissey and Ina Aquino

Evaluating Australia’s Investment in Emerging Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response in the Asia Pacific Region 2006-2015

By Gill Schierhout, Laurence Gleeson, Adam Craig and Irene Wettenhall

Evaluation of regional initiatives for PEID 2006-15?

By Mahomed Patel

Listen to podcast
Australian aid evaluations Part 1: basic education in Mindanao

Australian aid evaluations Part 2: pandemics and emerging infectious diseases

» read more
My Father, My Country: a film evening with Dame Meg Taylor
7–9pm 22 June 2017
Professor Helen Sullivan, Director, Crawford School, ANU; Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General to the Pacific Islands Forum.

In 1938 three Australian patrol officers – Jim Taylor, John Black and Pat Walsh – set off on an epic journey into the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Their purpose: to make contact with highland tribes who until then, had no contact with the outside world, and to explain to them that their lives were about to undergo incredible change.

Fifty years later, Jim’s daughter Meg retraced her father’s steps and met people who remembered the day the patrol arrived. Meg’s observations are combined with excerpts from her father’s journal to provide a personal and poetic narrative about an extraordinary meeting of cultures. [extract from In My Father’s Footsteps]

Dame Meg Taylor is a Papua New Guinean lawyer and diplomat. She studied at the University of PNG, received her LLB from Melbourne University and her LLM from Harvard University. She practiced law with the Office of the Public Solicitor and in the private sector, and served as a member of the Law Reform Commission of PNG. She was Ambassador of Papua New Guinea to the United States, Mexico and Canada in Washington, DC and then worked at the World Bank Group for 15 years. In August 2014, she was appointed Secretary General to the Pacific Islands Forum. Dame Meg is also Pacific Ocean Commissioner.

The film screening was presented as part of the Development Policy Centre’s PNG Project, which receives funding from the Australian Aid Program through the Pacific Governance and Leadership Precinct.

Access Q and A podcast

» read more
Frost-affected sweet potato crop, Tambul, WHP (photo by Kud Sitango,NARI)
Drought and famine relief in Papua New Guinea, 2015-2016
3.15–5.15pm 7 June 2017
Dr Mike Bourke, Honorary Associate Professor, ANU; Brendan Jinks, PhD candidate, ANU; James Komengi and Matt Kanua, independent consultants, PNG; and Sally Lloyd, church worker, PNG.

PNG was severely impacted by the 2015-16 El Niño drought and, at some very high altitude locations, a series of destructive frosts. The drought and frosts impacted many rural villagers between mid-2015 and late 2016, with some people still severely impacted in early 2017. Impacts included: widespread shortages of drinking water; shortages of subsistence food in many places; negative effect on villagers’ health; partial or complete closure of schools; and the Fly River not being suitable for shipping for some months. The impact on food supply was greatest in four sub-regions: very high altitude places in parts of Enga, Hela and Western Highlands; much of inland lowland Western Province; several locations on the edge of the central highlands; and some island and mainland locations in Milne Bay Province.

The five speakers were closely involved in the assessment of food shortages and coordination of food distribution. Presentations covered: a national overview of the impacts; more detailed reports on impacts and food aid in parts of Enga, Hela, Western and Milne Bay provinces; and responses by the PNG national government, donors, churches, international non-government organisations and UN agencies.

The public forum is presented as part of the Development Policy Centre’s PNG Project, which receives funding from the Australian Aid Program through the Pacific Governance and Leadership Precinct.

Listen to podcast

Access presentations:

by Dr Mike Bourke OL (PNG)

by Brendan Jinks

by Sally Lloyd (Hoey)

by James Komengi and Brendan Jinks

» read more
The absence of trust: Australian strategic thinking and PNG 1950-1975
12.30–1.30pm 24 May 2017
Dr Bruce Hunt, Research Fellow, School of History, College of Arts and Social Science, ANU.

The seminar focused on Dr Bruce Hunt’s recent monograph Australia’s Northern Shield? Papua New Guinea and the Defence of Australia Since 1880 and his current project, writing an official history of the bilateral relationship from 1970 to Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Independence in September 1975 (part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s series Documents on Australian Foreign Policy). Dr Hunt explained his use of cabinet notebooks in developing an understanding of government policy and decision-making in the period 1950 to 1975 and how these sources reveal the complexities and challenges for successive Australian governments as they sought to identify and implement policies for Australia’s separation from PNG against an ever-narrowing timeline and deepening concerns about the future stability and unity of the territory. The study of the framework for Australia’s future relationship with PNG is an opportunity to examine decision-making and the development of public policy in the foreign affairs and defence environment.

Dr Bruce Hunt is a Research Fellow at the ANU School of History and the author of the recently published book ‘Australia’s Northern Shield? Papua New Guinea and the Defence of Australia Since 1880’. Hunt served in the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby in the mid-1980s and was twice Director of the PNG Section in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He completed his PhD on PNG in 2003.

This seminar was presented as part of the Development Policy Centre’s PNG Project, which receives funding from the Australian Aid Program through the Pacific Governance and Leadership Precinct.

» read more
Why Forests? Why Now? The science, economics, and politics of tropical forests and climate change
2–3.30pm 16 May 2017
Jonah Busch, Center for Global Development.

Tropical forests are an undervalued asset in meeting the greatest global challenges of our time—averting climate change and promoting sustainable development. Despite their importance, tropical forests and their ecosystems are being destroyed at a high and even increasing rate in most forest-rich countries. The good news is that the science, economics, and politics are aligned to support a major international effort to reverse tropical deforestation.

Why Forests? Why Now? a new book by Frances Seymour and Jonah Busch, synthesizes the latest research on the importance of tropical forests in a way that is accessible to anyone interested in climate change and development and to readers already familiar with the problem of deforestation. It makes the case to decision-makers in rich countries that rewarding developing countries for protecting their forests is urgent, affordable, and achievable.

This event was co-hosted by the Arndt-Corden Department of Economics, the ANU Indonesia Project and the Development Policy Centre.

Jonah Busch is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD). He is an environmental economist whose research focuses on climate change and tropical deforestation. He is a research fellow at the Center for Effective Global Action at the University of California, Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the College of Environmental and Resource Sciences of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. Prior to joining CGD Busch was the Climate and Forest Economist at Conservation International.

View presentation slides

Listen to podcast here

» read more
2017 aid budget breakfast
2017 aid budget breakfast
9–10.30am 10 May 2017
Stephen Howes, Director, Development Policy Centre, Crawford School, ANU; Jacqui De Lacy, Vice President, Global Strategy, Abt Associates; and Anthony Swan, Research Fellow, Development Policy Centre, Crawford School, ANU.

This year is the first after three years of cuts in which the aid budget is slated to increase – by $84 million. While only enough to keep the aid budget growing with inflation, how will this new money be spent? Health funding has been almost halved in real terms over the last four years. Will the government release information on its long-awaited health security initiative? At this year’s aid budget breakfast, we will also review the 2016 Performance of Australian Aid report and the 2015-16 Aid Program Performance Reports.

The fifth annual aid budget breakfast was held on 10th of May, the morning after the budget has been announced. This forum explained what 2017-18 budget means for the future of Australian aid.

Further information about the Development Policy Centre:

Access video

Access presentation slides

The 2017-18 aid budget (and more)

By Stephen Howes

Aid Budget 2017-18:the macroeconomic context

By Anthony Swan

» read more
Coping with high risk and uncertainty in aid policy design and practice
12.30–1.30pm 26 April 2017
Adam Fforde, Professorial Fellow, Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University.

In this talk Professor Fforde will discuss how risk and uncertainty are best coped with in development practice. In doing this, he will examine the theories of change that underpin aid practitioners’ use of tools such as the logical framework approach. He will contend that in many situations we should explore methods of devising policy and organising practice that formally assume context is unpredictable and unsuited to tools like the logical framework approach. He will argue that aid work can often benefit from reconsidering the theories of change it draws upon.

Professor Adam Fforde is Professorial Fellow, Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University. He has a long career in development practice and research. His forthcoming book is Reinventing ‘development’ – the sceptical change agent.

Listen to podcast

Access presentaion

» read more
Image sourced from flickr by bdunnette
Complexity in governments and markets
5–6.30pm 19 April 2017
Professor Vito Tanzi, former head of the Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund.

The Tax and Transfer Policy Institute and the Development Policy Centre are pleased to host this event.

As Governments expanded their activities over the years, pushing spending from around 10 per cent of GDP at the beginning of the last century to the current levels of 30 to 50 per cent of GDP, while increasing intervention through regulations, they tended to lose much of their ability to monitor well what they did. This led to problems of corruption, inefficiency, rent seeking, cronyism, and generally less equitable results in terms of economic results and income distribution. Professor Vito Tanzi presented and discussed the challenge of complexity in governments and markets in tax, spending and regulation.

Vito Tanzi obtained his PhD in Economics from Harvard University and was subsequently a Professor at American University before becoming head of Tax Policy in the International Monetary Fund(IMF) from 1974 to 1981, and Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department from 1981 to 2000. He was State Secretary for Economy and Finance in the Italian Government and Senior Consultant to the Inter-American Development Bank. He is recipient of numerous awards and honours and has published widely on public finance, tax, expenditure and regulation for developed and developing countries. Publications include Public Spending in the 20th Century (Cambridge U Press, 2000) with Ludger Schknecht; Taxation and Latin American Integration (Harvard University, 2008); Peoples, Places and Policies: China, Japan and Southeast Asia (NY: Jorge Pinto Books, 2008) and numerous articles on tax and globalisation, fiscal termites, corruption and the shadow economy.

Listen to podcast

Access presentation

» read more
Andebrhan Welde Giorgis President
Democracy in Africa: past, present and future
12.30–1.30pm 12 April 2017
Andebrhan Welde Giorgis, President, Eri-Platform, and Senior Expert, Global Governance Institute.

Africa has a rich history; old and diverse cultures; and abundant and varied natural resources. Yet, a large majority of Africans remain poor, disenfranchised and oppressed. For five and half centuries, the trajectory of Africa’s autonomous development was distorted by the intervention of nascent Europe: the slave trade, the colonial venture and the Cold War. A legacy of the colonial system, the prototype independent African state has failed to deliver freedom, democracy and prosperity, giving rise to a crisis of legitimacy and relevance.

Against this backdrop, this lecture discussed the basic causes of the democratic deficit in Africa today and its prospects. The discourse focused on the concept of self-determination as a political right of: one, a nation to independence; two, a people to a government of their choice; and three, diverse groups to autonomy in the management of their day-to-day affairs.

Ambassador Andebrhan Welde Giorgis is President of Eri-Platform, an international civic association promoting inclusive dialogue on vital national, regional and international issues impacting Eritrea and the Horn of Africa. He is also Senior Expert in the Global Governance Institute, founding board member of the European Centre for Electoral Support and Brand Ambassador of Wallonia, Belgium. He served as a university president, central bank governor, Member of Parliament, ambassador to the EU and seven EU Member States, Permanent Representative to UNESCO and IMO, Special Envoy to the African Great Lakes Region, and Commissioner for Coordination with the UN Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia. He has published several articles and his recent book is Eritrea at a Crossroads: A Narrative of Triumph, Betrayal and Hope.

Listen to podcast

Access presentation

» read more
Papua New Guinea after the resource boom
2.15–3.45pm 11 April 2017
Marcel Schroder, PNG, ANU.

Dr Marcel Schroder presented a survey of recent economic developments in Papua New Guinea (PNG) since the end of the resource boom in 2014. The specific focus of the discussion was on the country’s exchange rate policy.

Theory suggests that the real exchange rate (RER) should depreciate following the observed fall in commodity prices. In practice, however, the imposition of foreign exchange controls has led to a large backlog in foreign currency orders suggesting that the kina is significantly overvalued. A related paper estimating the extent to which PNG’s RER is currently misaligned discussed. The results of the paper suggest that the kina should depreciate by about 20 per cent. Otherwise PNG is likely to pay high economic costs as real overvaluation sustained through foreign exchange restrictions led to resource misallocation, lower economic growth, black markets, and ultimately a balance of payments crisis in many other developing countries in the past.

Listen to podcast

Access presentation slides

» read more
Australian aid evaluations: new policy, Indonesia's roads, and PNG health
2–5pm 10 April 2017
Staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australian Doctors International, and ANU.

This forum, which was jointly organised by the Development Policy Centre and the Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE), was the latest in a series on the evaluation of Australian aid.

This event focused on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT’s) new aid evaluation policy and two recent evaluations.

Recently, DFAT has overhauled its approach to evaluation, with a new Aid Evaluation Policy and, for the first time, an Annual Aid Evaluation Plan – both available on the ODE website. The Head of ODE explained what these mean, and what difference they will make.

The $336 million, ten-year Eastern Indonesia Roads Improvement Program was one of Australia’s largest ever aid projects, and one of the most successful. This recent ODE evaluation assesses its results, and draws out the lessons for aid-funded infrastructure programs elsewhere.

Remote service delivery in PNG is always a challenge. But a recent evaluation of remote health patrols run by Australian Doctors International (ADI) in New Ireland from 2011 to 2015 suggests that this is a model that works. The evaluator discussed her findings, and the ADI Chief Executive Officer presented respond of ADI on the evaluator findings.

ODE is an operationally independent unit within DFAT that measures and reports on the effectiveness of the Australian aid program.

Further information about the Development Policy Centre:

Listen to podcast

Access presentations

By Penny Davis, Office of Development Effectiveness

By Simon Ernst, Office of Development Effectiveness

By Klara Henderson, evaluation author (video)

» read more
Dr Duncan Green
Understanding how change happens
12.30–1.30pm 4 April 2017
Dr Duncan Green, Senior Strategic Adviser, Oxfam Great Britain.

Human society is full of would-be ‘change agents’. A restless mix of campaigners, lobbyists, and officials, both individuals and organisations, are set on transforming the world. They want to improve public services, reform laws and regulations, guarantee human rights, get a fairer deal for those on the sharp end, achieve greater recognition for any number of issues, or simply be treated with respect. Scholarly discussions of change are fragmented with few conversations crossing disciplinary boundaries, rarely making it onto the radars of those actively seeking change.

Duncan Green’s new book How Change Happens, bridges the gap between academia and practice. It brings together the best research from a range of academic disciplines and the evolving practical understanding of activists to explore the topic of social and political change. Drawing on many first-hand examples from the global experience of Oxfam, as well as the author’s insights from studying and working on international development, it tests ideas on how change happens and offers the latest thinking on what works to achieve progressive change.

Dr Duncan Green is Oxfam Great Britain’s Senior Strategic Adviser. He also teaches on international development at the London School of Economics, where he is a Professor in Practice. He has published two book From Poverty to Power and How Change Happens.

Listen to podcast here

Access presentation slides here

» read more
Mr Stefano Manservisi
European Union development policy
12.15–1.15pm 28 March 2017
Mr Stefano Manservisi, Director-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission.

Development aid from donor countries amounts to more than US $130 billion annually. More than half of that amount comes from European Union nations. However, sustainable development cannot be achieved through aid alone. The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development have underlined the importance of domestic resource mobilisation and investments – both public and private – for sustainable social, environmental, and economic development efforts to take hold. The paradigm has changed and the European Union’s development policy will be adapted within the framework of the European Union Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy in the light of the 2030 Agenda and new global challenges and also taking into consideration the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The Director-General discussed European Union development policy in light of these developments, paying particular attention to the Pacific region.

Stefano Manservisi is the Director-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) at the European Commission since May 2016. He previously served as Head of the Private Office of Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Commission Vice-President. In 2014, he was the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey. Before that, he held other positions at the Commission including as Director-General for Migration and Home Affairs and Director-General for Development and Relations with African, Caribbean, and Pacific States. Stefano Manservisi has been a visiting professor at the University of Bologna, University of Roma III, and the College of Europe.

Listen to podcast here

» read more
2017 annual Australasian aid conference
2017 Australasian Aid Conference
9am 15 February – 5pm 16 February 2017
Researchers from across Australia, the Pacific and Asia, who are working on aid and international development policy.

The Australasian Aid Conference, was held in 15-16 February 2017 in partnership with The Asia Foundation. The aim of the conference was to bring together researchers from across Australia, the Pacific, Asia, and beyond who are working on aid and international development policy to share insights, promote collaboration, and help develop the research community.

The fourth annual conference in 2017 featured papers and interactive sessions on a variety of aid and international development topics, including aid effectiveness, political economy and the politics of aid, gender, private sector engagement, humanitarian aid, migration and trade policy, and the international aid architecture.

Plenary sessions on governance, humanitarian aid, and Asian approaches to private sector cooperation presented by leading global thinkers and practitioners, including Michael Woolcock, Phoebe Wynn-Pope, Adam Kamradt-Scott, Robin Davies, Guo Peiyuan, and Paul McPhun.




The Development Policy Centre would like to acknowledge generous funding support from the Harold Mitchell Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Australian National University.

» read more
World Development Report 2017: Governance and the Law
5–6.30pm 14 February 2017
James Brumby, The World Bank; Luis Felipe Lopez Calva, The World Bank; Natasha Smith, DFAT; Dr Helen Szoke, Oxfam Australia; and Professor Veronica Taylor, ANU.

The launch of The World Development Report 2017, including a presentation of the report and a panel discussion was held on 14th February 2017.

The World Development Report 2017 on Governance and the Law explores how policies for security, growth and equity can effectively achieve their goals by addressing the underlying drivers of governance.

Building on the traditional concern about implementation problems resulting from limited state capacity, this report digs deeper to understand also how individuals and groups, with differing degrees of influence in the decision-making arena, bargain over the choice of policies, distribution of resources, and how to change the rules themselves to shape future interactions.

While in some cases, power asymmetries can lead to persistent policy failure through exclusion, capture, and clientelism, this report demonstrates that positive change is possible. The approach discusses reshaping incentives, shifting society’s preferences and beliefs, and making the decision-making process more contestable.

For more information click here

» read more

Updated:  31 March 2023/Responsible Officer:  Devpolicy Admin/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team