Overview of Australia’s aid program to Republic of Palau
2013/14 Estimated Outcome: $4.1 million
2014/15 Budget Estimate: $4.4 million
Australia and the Republic of Palau enjoy a close bilateral relationship supported by shared regional interests, particularly ensuring maritime and transnational security, tourism development and the protection of Palau’s pristine marine environment, a common interest in supporting economic and human development. Many of Palau’s people cannot access opportunities or services such as high quality education and healthcare. The physical isolation of Palau’s islands along with the small size of the population present particular development challenges: transport and communication costs are high, and the skills base of the country is low. As a regional neighbour, Australia is well-placed to work closely with the Government of Palau and civil society organisations to improve the country’s development.
Many of Palau’s people cannot access health, education or work opportunities. While Millennium Development Goal (MDG) data for the country is very inconsistent and often out-dated, recent estimates suggest that Palau is currently on track to achieve targets only for MDG 3 (Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women), MDG 6 (Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases) and MDG 7 (Ensuring Environmental Sustainability). Despite having a relatively strong education system compared to other Pacific nations, it is unlikely Palau will achieve universal primary education (MDG 2). Significantly reducing child mortality (MDG 4) is also a challenge for the country. The under-five mortality rate is 26 per 1,000 (2009)—compared to 4.9 per 1,000 in Australia (2010).
Through the Australia-Palau Partnership for Development the two countries work together to support Palau’s development in areas where help is needed the most. The Partnership commits Palau to provide sound laws, policies and public services for its citizens, and to effectively and transparently manage development resources. It commits Australia to increase our aid, give good technical advice and to work closely with Palau’s Government to deliver this assistance.
Improve the quality of the teacher workforce
Australia is working with the Palau government to develop and implement appropriate strategies to improve the qualifications and quality of teaching staff.
Improve competency and skills base of health sector workforce
Australia and the Palau government are committed to successfully implementing Palau’s Public Health Strategic Plan, by creating a suitably skilled workforce, with a focus on a sufficient level of English, mathematics and science knowledge.
Reducing the threat of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW)
Australia supports Palau to continue to conduct capacity development of local workers in the location, removal and destruction of ERW. Australia also supports the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Training school in Peleliu to train local team members, and in the future to assist other Pacific countries with their EOD training needs.
- Following the successful upgrading of the Teaching-English-to-Speakers-of-Other-Languages (TESOL) curriculum, the maths curriculum has been reviewed and appropriate strategies will be implemented to improve teaching qualifications of math teachers.
- A national Health Human Resource Development Plan was endorsed, and the College of Health established operations in up-skilling health workers.
- Australia’s ongoing commitment to mine action has resulted in the permanent removal of over 30,000 unexploded ordnance from Koror and Peleliu.