Intervention - The New Deal: g7+ Perspectives and Experiences
WED 26 SEPTEMBER 2012
New York City, USA
Subject(s): Foreign Affairs
It's a great honour to take part in this panel discussion on the New Deal.
I'm reminded that in 2012, we mark 80 years since Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed the original New Deal:
That remarkable extension of hope to a people afflicted by the misery of unemployment, poverty and homelessness.
High ideals entrusted to practical and achievable measures.
Hope that could, in FDR's words, only be delivered with "statesmanship and vision".
That could just as well serve as description of the New Deal initiative.
It is a timely and ambitious agenda, and the g7+ members should be proud of the progress achieved to date – and determined to do more.
Australia was proud to be a founding member of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding which led to the New Deal.
It is sobering to think that there are more than 1.5 billion people living in fragile and conflict-affected countries – more than one in five of all the world’s people.
And that, on present trends, it is likely that not a single g7+ country will achieve even one Millennium Development Goal by 2015.
Nothing could better illustrate the vital relationship between ending conflict and achieving development.
People living in conflict-affected and fragile countries are twice as likely to be undernourished.
Their children are three times more likely to not attend school.
Unemployment is too high, economic opportunities too few and tragically, life expectancy too short.
These stark realities compel us to do more to build peace, to strengthen state institutions, to engage civil society and local communities and support country-led transitions out of fragility, to manage our aid better.
The New Deal Initiative offers real promise to achieve that – in turn, offering real promise to accelerate progress toward the MDGs in fragile and conflict-affected states.
As co-chair of the Secretary-General’s MDG Advocacy Group, I have made a personal pledge to advocate for development in conflict-affected and fragile states.
Building the resilience of fragile states also remains a key focus for Australia’s aid program
In 2012-13 more than 55 per cent of our bilateral and regional aid – almost $1.8 billion – will go to fragile or conflict-affected states.
Seven of the top ten recipients of Australian aid are fragile or conflict-affected countries.
We are proud to be the lead donor supporting the New Deal pilot in Timor-Leste – through a new partnership arrangement with the Timorese government.
By the end of this year, we will have provided access to safe water for an additional 90,000 people as well as access to basic sanitation for 35,000 rural people.
Together we are working towards the goal of rehabilitating all rural roads by 2015, creating some 52,000 jobs by 2016 and bringing opportunities to the rural poor.
By 2015 we aim to be providing quality basic education to 93 per cent of children aged between six and fourteen – and to reduce the drop-out rate to just five per cent.
Building on our work in Timor-Leste, we are moving to align our work in other fragile states with the New Deal.
In Afghanistan, for example, we recognise the importance of Afghan Government leadership and capacity. As proof of this, we now deliver 50 per cent of our assistance through Afghan Government systems.
These are not only good examples of Australia's commitment to the collective enterprise of building peace and fostering development.
They illustrate that the goals and ambitions of the New Deal are achievable.
Together we can deliver change. Our commitment to the New Deal must not waver. The world's poorest and most vulnerable need us now.