Save the Children has welcomed the Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership announced on Wednesday, strengthening Australia’s relationship with Papua New Guinea and supporting the two nations’ mutual benefit.
The aid agency, which has worked in Papua New Guinea since the 1970s, was pleased to see the two prime ministers commit to cooperation on development assistance and climate change adaptation, resilience and mitigation, as well as recognising the importance of high-quality education and research in human and economic development.
Save the Children Australia Deputy CEO Mat Tinkler said:
“This agreement is an important step for both nations, which share a long friendship. We welcome the CSEP, which comes at an extraordinary time in human history.
“It also comes as Papua New Guinea faces incredible development challenges with endemic rates of violence against women, stunting rates of almost one in two children under five and low levels of school completion.
“At the same time, on top of devastating health consequences caused by COVID-19, the pandemic is pushing Papua New Guinea to the brink of economic collapse, which could have dire consequences for Australia and other Pacific nations.
“Immediate and sustained investment and comprehensive partnerships will support Papua New Guinea to avoid economic peril and come out the other side of COVID-19, and to then realise its potential in the future.
“We welcome cooperation on the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific, but urge the Facility to be used holistically to support human and social infrastructure systems to protect the resilience of Papua new Guinea and other Pacific communities.
“It is good to see Australia backing in this partnership, and this must include a significant step up in development funding for PNG in the October budget. If not, there is a very real risk it will be a hollow agreement.”