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Overview of Australia’s aid program to Tuvalu

2013/14 Estimated Outcome: $9.5 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate: $10.4 million

Australia has a strong and long-standing bilateral relationship with Tuvalu and is the country’s largest aid donor. Australia’s aid to Tuvalu focuses on strengthening economic and human development. The Tuvalu-Australia Partnership for Development establishes the framework for Australia and Tuvalu to work together to meet common challenges and to promote prosperity for the people of Tuvalu. The Partnership aligns with the Government of Tuvalu’s own development priorities, as outlined in Te Kakeega II: National Strategy for Sustainable Development 2005–2015.

Tuvalu’s economic prospects are constrained by the country’s distance from markets, small size and vulnerability to external shocks, both economic and environmental. Tuvalu also faces severe development challenges arising from limited education and work opportunities, and modest natural resources. As a low-lying atoll nation, Tuvalu is also highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

The priority outcomes for the Tuvalu-Australia Partnership for Development are:

Good governance, economic growth and stability

Australia is working with Tuvalu to boost its long-term economic prospects by supporting the Tuvalu Trust Fund and improving financial management and planning.

Governance assistance in Tuvalu

Education and human resources

Australia is supporting efforts to develop a skilled and educated Tuvalu workforce by providing early education support and tertiary awards for studies in Australia and in the region.

Education assistance in Tuvalu

Environment and climate change

Australia is providing assistance to assist Tuvalu to build environment resilience and to strengthen disaster risk management that together underpin sustainable economic development.

Environment assistance in Tuvalu

Our results

Economic governance

  • Since 2012, Australia has supported the Government of Tuvalu to undertake important economic reforms, raise revenue and prioritise public expenditure. This contribution has strengthened public financial management practices, and increased the transparency and accountability of government services.

Improving basic rducation and increasing opportunities for tertiary education

  • Since 2007, Australia has awarded an estimated 177 scholarships to Tuvaluans to study at tertiary institutions in Australia and the Pacific. For the period 2008-2012, 64 Tuvalu awardees returned to Tuvalu after completing their studies, of which 80 percent found fulltime employment, the majority in senior Government positions.
  • In 2013, Australia supported 88 Tuvaluans to enrol at the Australia Pacific Technical College to receive vocational training (to Australian qualification standards), and in this same year 70 Tuvaluans graduated. Over the life of Australia’s support to the Australia Pacific Technical College, 115 Tuvaluan women and 98 Tuvaluan men have graduated from hospitality and community services, and trades and technology.

Building resilience

  • 85 per cent of residents on the main island of Funafuti now have access to clean water. 150 new water tanks, placed in all primary schools and secondary schools, have also provided more than 3,000 school children with access to clean water.
  • Australia’s support for Tuvalu’s Climate Change National Adaptation Plan of Action aims to improve food security, through an increase in home gardening and composting activities throughout Tuvalu. Our support has also helped strengthen collaboration amongst government departments, NGOs and island communities on climate change activities.

Related documents

Education assistance in Tuvalu


Australia is working with Tuvalu’s Ministry of Education and UNICEF on the Achieving Education for All in Tuvalu program. The aim of the program is to improve the quality of education available to students. The focus will be on improving school management, training teachers, building student literacy levels, and carrying out education research and planning.

The program will benefit 18 early childhood centres, 10 primary schools and two secondary schools. The program is supporting the Government of Tuvalu’s priorities in the education sector: improved curricula and assessments, increased student achievements, better school management, and more opportunities for human resource development.

Tuvalu Implementation Schedule for Education

Related links

Environment assistance in Tuvalu


Australia’s support for environment activities in Tuvalu helps build environmental resilience and strengthen disaster risk management that together underpin sustainable economic development. Australia provides funding to the National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) project, being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme.

Australia’s contribution to the NAPA project is focused on improving agricultural food security and water management. The partnership with UNDP enables the up-scaling of these interventions and also supports Tuvaluan communities to implement adaptation measures to address food and water issues in the country.

DFAT also funded the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to undertake a stocktake of the conditions of Tuvalu’s water tanks on Funafuti, where two-thirds of the population reside. This will inform planning on the need for more water tanks, maintenance and future water security interventions. DFAT also continued to fund the maintenance of three desalination plants (one co-funded with UK and US) and train local staffs in maintaining these plants, ensuring sustainability in the long run.

Tuvalu Implementation Schedule for Environment and Climate Change

Te Kaniva: Tuvalu Climate Change Policy

Related links

Governance assistance in Tuvalu


Australia’s assistance for effective governance in Tuvalu is focused on supporting key public sector reforms. These are aligned with Tuvalu’s national development policies and plans, including improved economic governance and financial management. The aim of these reforms is to promote a more efficient and more accountable public sector. Australia provides incentive funding to the Government of Tuvalu based on the achievement of agreed reforms.

Australian funding also goes to Tuvalu’s Trust Fund to help build the country’s long-term economic sustainability. Australia has been supporting the Tuvalu Trust Fund since it was established in 1987. Australia was a founding member of the Fund and has a seat on its Board.

Tuvalu Implementation Schedule for Good Governance, Economic Growth and Stability

A Multi-donor Coordinated Policy Reform Program in Tuvalu—Design Summary and Implementation Document

Related initiatives

Economic Policy Reform Program

$19.48 million, 2011-2015

Australia supports effective governance in Tuvalu through an economic policy reform program. This support aims to increase the efficiency of the Tuvaluan Government’s public financial management systems, and improve the links between policy-making and government spending.

In September 2012, the Governments of Tuvalu, Australia and New Zealand and the Asian Development Bank agreed to an incentive-based multi-donor Policy Reform Matrix. Under the matrix, aid payments to Tuvalu are triggered when the Government of Tuvalu successfully carries out ongoing governance reforms. Actions under the Policy Reform Matrix include bringing government accounts up to date, undertaking audits, tax reforms to increase compliance and raise revenue, and increasing non-salary expenditure on health and education.

Australia also makes annual contributions to the Tuvalu Trust Fund, supporting Tuvalu’s long-term economic prospects. This is a priority under the Partnership for Development. The Tuvalu Trust Fund was established in 1987 to support Tuvalu’s development by creating a long-term source of revenue. Contributions are held in trust for the benefit of current and future generations of Tuvaluans. The returns from the Fund enable Tuvalu to support economic development and achieve greater financial autonomy.

Related documents*
Name of document Year published Type
Strengthened Public Financial Management Program Concept Paper 2012 Design document
Related links

Last reviewed: 16 December, 2014