The Lowy Institute hosted a conference titled Advancing Innovative Development and Aid Strategies in the Asia-Pacific: Accelerating the Millennium Development Goals in Sydney from 16 to 18 June 2010. The Institute brought together key decision makers from government, civil society, multilateral and country donors, and the private sector with an interest in the Asia-Pacific region. The aim of the conference was to stimulate greater international interest in the Asia-Pacific, and enhance the quality of debate around how to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the region. Further, the conference discussed how aid contributes to development in the region.
The conference acknowledged the Asia- Pacific has a mixed MDG report card, with Asia generally progressing well, and the Pacific lagging behind. The conference agreed that solid achievements have been made, but improvements are needed on the way development assistance is given. The way forward is a new development paradigm, which embraces a broader partnership base recognising the growing role of the private sector and philanthropy in the development space; greater utilisation of the power of new technologies to increase access to markets and information; a reinforcement of country led development; an increase in engagement with civil society; and, fostering more inclusive models of economic growth. In addition, a better narrative around why aid contributes to development is needed to increase public support for development.
The Lowy Institute aim to promote conference findings to the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in August in Vanuatu, and to the United Nations Leaders Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York in September 2010.
The conference would not have been possible without the generous support of the Australian Government (AusAID) and the Myer Foundation.