World Vision welcomes aid review's focus on saving lives

Changes announced by the federal government to ensure Australia's aid program saved more lives through proven programs were welcomed by the nation's biggest development agency,World Vision Australia.

Foreign minister Kevin Rudd today said the Federal Government would accept 38 out of the 39 recommendations from the Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness, including a continued focus on the Asia-Pacific region, measures to ensure funds went to projects that delivered results, and which provided more information about aid spending to the public.

"The public have wanted assurance that the aid program was saving lives. Here is a comprehensive review to give them that assurance," World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello said.

"In a time of constraint in order to achieve a budget surplus, a review like this is profoundly important. We are pleased that the aid program is growing. This review should give confidence that the aid program is saving lives, and is cost effective."

"It is vital that all Australians understand that our aid program brings value for our economy, for regional stability, but most critically discharges our moral responsibility as international citizens for people in poverty.

"We welcome the Review's finding that AusAID needs to focus more on partnerships with NGOs and multilaterals . As the review notes, NGOs like World Vision have 'expertise in meeting people's basic needs' and have a significant role to play in delivering effective aid."

In its submission to the review, World Vision Australia had sought changes that would increase openness and transparency, improve access to essential health and education, focus on the poorest people, increase accountability to communities and recipient countries, and co-ordinate aid efforts with better trade opportunities and other factors which enhance development.

Through it's new strategic focus on saving lives and introducing a Transparency Charter, the review recognises most of these aims. It also recognizes the importance of empowering women and girls, and their health and education as fundamental to good development outcomes.

World Vision awaits details on how the voices of poor communities will be taken into account in the development of AusAID spending priorities. The agency is also looking to see that the implementation of this review will mean that basic health sector funding is raised as a share of aid spending.


Tim Costello is available for interviews. Please contact Bill Pheasant on0413 701 028

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