South and West Asia
Estimated expenditure in 2013-14 across the South and West Asia region is $512.7 million. Individual country funding is available on each country homepage.
Our estimated funding for 2012-13 is $493.3 million.
Estimated Official Development Assistance (ODA) 2011–12: $299.9 million
South Asia is home to around one fifth of the world's population (1.4 billion), making it both the most populous and densely populated geographical region in the world. South Asian economies have performed strongly with GDP growth of 7 per cent (2009-10) despite the impacts of the global economic recession. However, rapidly-increasing wealth is not being shared equitably within countries. Disadvantaged sub-regions with poorly connected infrastructure, trade and political arrangements, and vulnerable groups such as women and minority populations, are falling further behind. South Asia has the largest concentration of poor people in the world, the highest rate of child malnutrition and the lowest income per capita. Based on current trends, the region will not achieve most of the MDGs. South Asia is also highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. This has the potential to undermine water and food security, increase the frequency and scale of natural disasters, and result in the displacement of vulnerable people.
The aid program is working closely with countries in the region and other development partners to support South Asia's progress toward the MDGs.
Australian aid to South Asia
Australia's development cooperation program in the region primarily contributes to improved service delivery in education, health, and water and sanitation. Australia is also responding to priority issues such as climate change, promoting good governance and humanitarian needs in the region. The program's focus on improving basic service delivery covers the following sectors:
Basic education programs in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Health and nutrition
Maternal and child health and nutrition activities in Bangladesh and Nepal; food security and livelihoods for the ultra poor in Bangladesh and Nepal; and HIV and AIDS and health research in South Asia.
Water and sanitation
Water, sanitation and hygiene activities in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India.
Human resource development
Scholarships in all South Asian countries. Australia Awards are the focus for bilateral assistance to the Maldives and Bhutan.
Activities include building capacity for water resource management in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan.
The program also has a strong humanitarian focus. In Sri Lanka, the aid program is assisting people displaced by the civil conflict with recovery and reconstruction, including health, nutrition and children's education needs and the removal of landmines. In India, we have assisted communities affected by floods, in Bhutan, we provided assistance for the post-earthquake reconstruction of schools, and in Bangladesh and Nepal, we assisted refugee communities.
A regional approach
Many of the developmental challenges facing the region (e.g. climate change, the management of water and other shared natural resources, disaster risk management, trade, infrastructure, energy connectivity and the spread of diseases) are cross-border in nature. These call for neighbouring countries to work together to achieve desired long-term benefits. Australia will continue to work with major multilateral development partners and regional organisations to address some of these challenges. In partnership with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, Australia is supporting initiatives to improve economic management and promote reforms in regional infrastructure, energy management, urban development and public financial management.
Australia is also supporting initiatives to improve water resources management and community adaptation to climate change. Australia will expand support for agricultural research and training to enable farmers in dryland and irrigated farming areas to use water more efficiently and produce more food.