Lowy Institute
  • UNDP's 2014 Human Development Report is out. Headline news is that more than 2.2 billion people are either near or living in multidimensional poverty.
  • Interestingly, rankings remain unchanged at both ends of the Human Development Index (see image). Norway, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands and US remain in the lead for another year, while Sierra Leone, Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Niger continue to rank at the bottom of the list. Here's The Guardian's analysis.
  • What you need to know about the new BRICS development bank: catch up with this easy guide from the Wall Street Journal and this analysis from Philippa Brant on China's growing web of development financing.
  • Is 'green growth' a fad?  Matthew Dornan from DevPolicy explains.
  • Guinea worm is almost eradicated. It's a huge victory for public health, and for Jimmy Carter's charity. (H/t Browser.)
  • Martin Drewry argues in The Guardian that Africa loses more to Western countries than it gains in aid. A new approach is needed.
  • Disturbing UNICEF data on rates of female genital mutilation and child marriages.
  • @GlobalPolicy 's first e-book: The Donors' Dilemma: Emergence, Convergence and the Future of Foreign Aid'.


In recognition of the International AIDS conference in Melbourne this week, an AIDS-themed edition of our regular Aid & Development Links. The conference opened yesterday with a minute's silence for the delegates lost in the MH17 disaster. 

Firstly, the latest facts from UNAIDS Gap report for Asia and the Pacific:

  • In 2013, there were 35 million people living with HIV. 4.8 million are in Asia and the Pacific.
  • New HIV infections have fallen by 38%  globally since 2001, but in Asia and the Pacific there were an estimated 350,000 new HIV infections.
  • Indonesia is cause for concern, with new HIV infections rising by 48% since 2005.
  • India accounts for 51% of all AIDS-related deaths in the region.
  • In Asia and the Pacific, only in Thailand and Cambodia are more than 50% of people living with HIV on antiretroviral treatment
  • Of the 35 million people living with HIV in the world, 19 million do not know their HIV-positive status. But as people find out,  they seek life-saving treatment. For example, In sub-Saharan Africa, almost 90% of people who tested positive for HIV went on to access antiretroviral therapy. 

AIDS analysis and readings: 

  • The Guardian reviews the status of recent claims of an AIDS 'cure'.
  • Oilsearch’s role in partnering with the PNG Government on  HIV prevention, testing, counseling and treatment services is an important model for developing countries.
  • Dream of Ding Village,  by Chinese author Yan Lianke, is a novel that offers a disturbing insight into the AIDS epidemic in China resulting from blood-selling.

Helpful AIDS 2014 Conference links:


 In 2013, the Lowy Institute launched its inaugural Media Awards in an effort to enrich the discussion of global issues in Australia.

As part of this initiative and in the lead-up to the 2014 Lowy Institute Media Award, on 29 July we invite you to join us for a special panel discussion with Zoe Daniel, ABC foreign correspondent and Stan Grant from Sky News as they share their experiences working in the field as Australian foreign correspondents.

For more information and tickets, visit the Lowy Institute website.  

Image courtesy of IMDB.

  • Six new documentaries  in PNG aiming to inspire young women in the country. 
  •  The 2014 Millennium Development Goals Report was released last week. Good news that targets relating to poverty have been met, with poverty rates halved between 1990 and 2010. But bad news on the child mortality and maternal mortality targets. See Robin Davies' commentary on the new report. 
  • The US and China  meet this week to chair a special Joint Session on Climate Change
  • The mega-cities of the future will be in Africa and Asia.
  • Seven billions: visualising the world as seven regions, each home to one billion people. 
  • India now gives more foreign aid ($1.3 billion) than it receives ($665 million).  (HT@petemartin7)
  • Africa's manufacturing islands and anti-Americanism in the Middle East: Chris Blattman links to a bunch of development-related academic papers.
  • With little fanfare, the US recently made some important changes to its policy on landmines.
  • We often talk about quantity of foreign aid, but how do donors rank on quality? Brookings have released the third edition of their Quality Official Development Assistance (QuODA) assessment 
  • 'Dysfunction': Medicins Sans Frontiers reviews three recent crises, and marks the UN's humanitarian response poorly.


A new Lowy Institute poll released today has thrown fresh light on Australians' attitudes towards the UK.

The Lowy Institute Australia-UK Poll has found more than 8 in 10 Australians see the relationship as important (with 28% saying it is 'very important'). However, when asked to choose Australia's 'best friend' from a list of six countries around the world, the UK ranks third in popularity behind the US and New Zealand, with around a third (35%) of Australians saying the US is 'Australia's best friend', and almost a third (32%) nominating New Zealand as Australia's best friend.

It seems Australians feel closer to these other English-speaking nations than to their neighbours in Asia. When Australians are asked to choose our country's 'best friend' from a list of six countries around the world, the US, New Zealand and the UK rank well above China, Indonesia and Japan, with only 11% choosing any of these last three nations as Australia's 'best friend'.

 Australians' warmth towards the UK has been a consistent feature of Lowy Institute polling, with the UK scoring a warm 77 degrees on our 'thermometer' of feelings towards other countries of the world in 2013.  (See image below from the Lowy Institute Polling Interactive)

By way of background, in May 2014, the Lowy Institute commissioned market research company Newspoll to conduct a short poll on Australian attitudes towards the UK, to tie in with the new Lowy Institute-Ditchley Foundation Australia-UK Asia Dialogue, which the UK and Australian foreign ministers announced in March at AUKMIN. The dialogue begins today in the UK. 

  • WhyDev presents its World Cup of Human Development. Compare your favourite teams in the 'Global Development World Cup' interactive. And want to learn more about Brazil? This World Without Poverty site has some great info, videos and other links.
  • A new female entrepreneurship index has some lessons for organisations wanting to support aspiring entrepreneurs in developing countries. 
  • Another UNSC temporary seat candidature campaign, another round of new development assistance. This time it's Turkey and it is courting Pacific Island votes.
  • The booming protein business: as incomes rise, so does demand for meat and dairy.
  • ICYMI: @LowyInstitute launched an excellent paper by NYU academic Richard Gowan who positively reviews Australia's term on the UNSC. 
  • Arvind Subramanian from the Center for Global Development has an eclectic reading list about economic development.
  • What will happen to aid in the post-2015 era? How should the old aid model change? Important new paper from ODI & UNDP.
  • The World Resources Institute has launched Global Forest Watch, using satellites and big data to monitor deforestation:

  • The FT summarises a good-news report showing improvement in global food security.
  • Bold moves last week from President Obama who unveiled sweeping US carbon emission rules.  Will this expose Australia's  5% emissions reduction target by 2020 as too low?
  • 'Africa is a country' and 26 other developing country myths.
  • Is India a bigger aid donor than Australia?
  • Nice little video on MDG progress from ODI — great graphs.
  • ICYMI: the 2014 Lowy Institute Poll launched last week, which included data on how Aussies perceive foreign aid. Read Ashlee Betteridge's analysis on DevPolicy blog.
  • For those heading to Sydney Film Festival, be sure to catch an excellent documentary trailing HRW's Emergency Team as they investigate human rights abuses in hot spots around the world. Watch the trailer:



Today, the Lowy Institute for International Policy releases its tenth annual poll on Australian attitudes to the world.

The 2014 Poll has found that Australians believe China and Japan have equal claims to the title of 'Australia's best friend in Asia'. Sentiments towards China have also warmed significantly this year to its equal highest rating of 60° on the Lowy Institute's 'thermometer' of feelings towards other nations. 

Despite this increased warmth, nearly half (48%) of the adult Australian population believe China is likely to become a military threat to Australia in the next 20 years (up seven points), and a majority say the Australian Government allows too much investment from China (56%). A very high 64% of Australians either don't know or hold no view when asked whether they admire Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Other highlights:

  • Australians appear comfortable with their government spying on other countries, including allied countries. The majority of Australians think it is acceptable to spy on China (65%), Indonesia (62%) and East Timor (60%), but also on the US (54%) and even New Zealand (51%).
  • In a shift of public opinion, 45% of Australians now see global warming as a 'serious and pressing problem', up five points since 2013 and 9 points since 2012. In a new question this year, 63% of Australians say the government 'should take a leadership role on reducing emissions', while only 28% say 'it should wait for an international consensus before acting'. 
  • In a strong endorsement of the Abbott Government's policy of turning back asylum seeker boats, 71% agree that the government should turn back boats when safe to do so. For 59%, offshore processing in places such as Nauru and PNG is supported. However, temporary protection visas are more divisive — 48% agreeing and 49% disagreeing.
  • Confirming findings from previous Lowy Institute polls, only 60% of Australians, and only 42% of Australians 18-29, say that 'democracy is preferable to any other kind of government'. When asked to choose between 'a good democracy and a strong economy', only a slight majority of Australians (53%) choose a 'good democracy'. 

Download your free copy of the 2014 Lowy Institute Poll. Also remember to visit an updated 2014 Lowy Institute Poll Interactive, a data visualisation tool exploring key results from ten years of Lowy Institute polling.

  • 'The mosquitoes are smart. We have to be smarter'. Snappy video from the Gates Foundation on anti-malarial work in Africa.
  • 64% of voters support Budget cuts to aid? So says a new media poll. Read Ashlee Betterridge's analysis of the figures on DevPolicy.
  • ODI have collected into one place on their research on women in security & development.
  • Last week, the Aus-PNG Network was launched, fostering improved people to people ties between Australia and Papua New Guinea. Check out the online hub .
  • The most powerful women in global development.
  • Countries buying private insurance to protect against climate change? Good New York Times article from Robert J Shiller, an economics professor at Yale. 
  • 4 June marks 25 years since Tiananmen Square massacre. Human Rights Watch's multimedia feature examines the impact of the bloodshed and repercussions from Beijing's efforts to silence news of the event. 

  • 10 things to know about EU aid. Look out for number 8: five areas where development policy goes beyond aid. (h/t ODI.)
  • 'Leaders fiddle while the world burns'. A candid interview with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
  • Mapping development finance in Africa: the African Development Bank and AidData have launched 'MapAfrica', an interactive platform designed to increase the transparency of its projects.
  • Continuing the aid  vs cash theme from last week, an interesting conference video on the subject.
  • Vietnam's future as a rice producer under threat due to climate change, says new IFAD project.
  • Why China will fight for a global climate change deal.
  • Lovely photo essay from UNDP India on the recent elections. 
  • Kirsty Sword Gusmao speaks to the Lowy Institute about the future of the Australia-Timor Leste relationship:



  • The OECD's flagship report this year assesses policy coherence and illicit financial flows. The Australian chapter focuses on Pacific fisheries.
  • Did climate change close Mt Everest? 
  • Nigeria's kidnapped girls have been sold into marriage with their abductors for $12.
  • Richard Branson's formula for putting people, and the planet, alongside profits.
  • Transforming development: the first blog by Melissa Leach as incoming head of the Institute of Development Studies.
  • Robert Chambers' new book for and about development practitioners.
  • Saturday 3 May was World Press Freedom Day.  Watch this video to see the price journalists pay to report news around the world.