Australia working to assist fragile states
30 November 2011
Today, at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Republic of Korea, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd endorsed an agreement on a new global direction for assisting fragile states.
More than 1.5 billion people live in fragile and conflict affected countries, and 12 of Australia's neighbours in Asia and the Pacific are classed as fragile. Caught in cycles of poverty and violence, few of these countries will achieve a single Millennium Development Goal by 2015.
Mr Rudd said the New Deal for International Engagement in Fragile States sets out five goals — legitimate politics, justice, security, economic foundations and revenues and services — to give clarity on the priorities in fragile states.
"It also highlights the importance of fragile countries taking ownership of their own development, and sets out a road map for better use of both international and domestic resources," Mr Rudd said.
In the first practical demonstration of the New Deal, Australia and East Timor today signed a development agreement committing both countries to work together in line with the goals set out in Timor-Leste's Strategic Development Plan — the country's vision for how it will look in 2030.
The new agreement defines clear, measurable targets for how Australia will support Timor-Leste through improved governance and security, economic growth through agricultural and infrastructure development, and strengthened services such as health and education.
For example, agricultural development will be one of the priority areas for Australian support in 2012. Improved farming practices will help Timor-Leste achieve its goal of food security by 2020.
Australia will support an additional 49,000 farming families with improved seed varieties which have increased yields by up to 159 per cent. This will have a significant impact on food production in East Timor and go a long way to reducing the country's very high rates of malnutrition.
Mr Rudd said the agreement bolsters Timor-Leste's ownership of its development agenda by aligning Australian support with the Strategic Development Plan.
"As a close neighbour, Australia is strongly committed to East Timor's development priorities and is providing substantial support to assist the Government of Timor-Leste to achieve stability and greater prosperity," Mr Rudd said.
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