New Pacific index benchmarks OECD aid performance – New Zealand comes out on top

6 May 2014


 New Pacific index benchmarks OECD aid performance – New Zealand comes out on top

 New Zealand tops Australia when it comes to efforts in supporting the development aspirations of its Pacific neighbours, according to findings of the new Alfred Deakin Research Institute-Sustineo Pacific Index.

The new index, developed by researchers from the University's Alfred Deakin Research Institute in partnership with Sustineo Pty Ltd and with support from the Australian Research Council, ranks and assesses the effort to support development in the Pacific from countries that make up the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

It looks at each country's effort with respect to seven drivers of development -  aid, trade,  migration, finance, security, the creation and dissemination of new technologies and the promotion of environmental sustainability in the region.

The index has been created by a research team comprising Professor Mark McGillivray, Associate Professor Simon Feeny, Dr Sasi Iamsiraroj, Mr Marc Curran, and contributions from Sustineo Pty Ltd as the industry partner.

Andrew Rowe, Sustineo's Managing Director said the ability to objectively benchmark the support rich countries provide to Pacific Island nations has not been available until now.

"The Pacific Index will now allow a more informed and nuanced dialogue on the best ways to support our Pacific neighbours", he said.

"The Index will also be a valuable input into the Government's current initiative into benchmarking aid program performance."

Professor McGillivray said the Pacific is almost a tale of paradise almost lost.

"Pacific Island have consistently recorded the lowest and most volatile rates of per capita economic growth of any region in the world."

"Progress towards the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of halving income poverty is the worst of all regions in the world with only two countries Pacific Island countries on track to achieve this goal, he said."

"Worse still, there is solid evidence that poverty in the Pacific is actually increasing."

Professor McGillivray said the paradox was that the Pacific countries are among the highest recipients of development aid in the world.

"Aid alone is clearly not enough to address the development challenges that regions face," he said.

"We need to look comprehensively at what rich country governments are doing for the Pacific, recognising which countries and doing the most but also identifying those doing the least.

"The index starts to give us an insight into this, by identifying rich country efforts in other policy areas important to growth and development in the Pacific."

Some of the key findings:

  • The top five donor countries in the Pacific region are, New Zealand (1), Australia (2), Denmark (3), Finland (4) and Portugal (5)
  • The United Kingdom is (8), France (10), United States (18)
  • Japan ranks toward the bottom (25), Switzerland (26) and South Korea (27)
  • New Zealand outperforms Australia in terms of support for the Pacific Islands in terms of Aid and Migration;
  • Australia is the top ranked country in terms of trade and openness to imports
  • Australia has high rankings in Aid and Migration

Professor McGillivray said the index would provide a valuable tool for policy makers and organisations lobbying on the Pacific Island countries' behalf.

Further information:

The Pacific Island nations involved are: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati,
Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.


Media contact

Sandra Kingston
Media and Corporate Communications
03 9246 8221, 0422 005 485
Email Sandra

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