Australian Aid Saving Millions of Lives: Report
12 April 2011 at 1:29 pm
A new report released by aid organisation World Vision claims that Australian aid dollars have contributed to significant declines in child deaths, gains in school enrolments and the provision of clean water and sanitation for the world’s poorest people.
And World Vision CEO Tim Costello has used the report to put pressure on government ahead of next month’s Federal Budget to honour its commitment to boost Australia's level of overseas aid to 50 cents in every $100 dollars by 2015 – something the report says could save an extra 500,000 lives each year.
The report Effective Aid: Helping Millions calculates the impact of aid over the past 20 years and shows that significant progress has been made in combating poverty in the 10 countries that receive the most aid from Australia – with the exception of conflict-torn Afghanistan.
World Vision CEO Tim Costello says the report should give Australians confidence that their aid dollars are going to good use.
Costello says the report shows that despite rich nations only spending one third of one percent of their income on aid each year, even this small investment is having a big impact.
Costello says the amount spent on soft drink each year is greater than the amount spent on aid for poor countries.
Costello says that according to the report, since 1990 global aid efforts have helped prevent 45 million child death and an additional 1.8 billion people have gained access to improved water sources.
He says an extra 40 million children have received a basic education since 2000, and the number of women dying from pregnancy related causes has dropped, and aid related deaths are declining.
Costello says although some people have recently questioned the effectiveness of aid, World Vision program results listed in the report suggest aid is helping to combat poverty.
Costello used the release of the report to put pressure on the government ahead of next month’s Federal Budget. He says Australians understand the importance of aid and are among the world's most generous private donors to overseas causes, yet the generosity of the Australian government aid ranks just 15th out of the 23 industrialised economies.
He says there is bipartisan commitment to boost Australia's level of overseas aid to 50 cents in every $100 dollars by 2015 – a commitment Costello says he hopes to see crystallised in next month's budget if it is to be fulfilled.
The World Vision report shows an increase in the aid budget and a greater focus on essential services could save an extra 500,000 lives annually.