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7 August 2023

8 August 2023:  UNICEF Australia today welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment to bolster its $4.8 billion development program and place a stronger focus on climate change, gender equality and disability equity for aid and development in the Indo-Pacific.

Commenting on the release of ‘Australia’s International Development Policy: For a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific’  on Tuesday, UNICEF Australia CEO Tony Stuart said:

“We are facing significant challenges in our region and globally more children are in need today than since UNICEF was created at the end of World War II.

“Climate change, global economic uncertainty and gender inequality are among the many stressors being felt in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in the Pacific, Southeast Asia and South Asia.

“The International Development Policy highlights that gender equality and climate change will be core areas for action, and we welcome this renewed focus as part of future decision making for aid investment.

“UNICEF Australia has a long-standing partnership with the Australian Government in the region and we continue to stand ready to support Australia’s focus in the region while not losing sight of our responsibilities to provide humanitarian responses around the world.

“To have a stable and prosperous region in the long term we need to ensure children are healthy, educated and prepared for a changing environment.

“The climate crisis is a children’s crisis and Australia’s commitment to prioritise climate change through its development program is critical to collective efforts to protect children, communities and countries from the worst impacts. We encourage funding to be targeted towards the most vulnerable - children.

"UNICEF is working across the region to support new models of social services, such as health, education and protection, so that they can adapt to the impacts of climate change and can become more resilient to increasing and compounding shocks.

“With the generous support of our donors, UNICEF Australia will continue working with the Government and our implementing partners to provide support to countries that are most in need, and ensure Australia is taking the lead when aid decisions and infrastructure investments are being made.

“A Humanitarian Strategy is being developed to support the Government’s Development Policy. UNICEF Australia supports this and has previously called for action to build systems and capacities while also supporting humanitarian action around the world.”