The Philippine Embassy in Canberra reported to the Department on the success of the 16th High-Level Consultations (HLC) on Development Cooperation held at the AusAID Headquarters in Canberra on 14 March 2012, highlighted by the signing of the Statement of Commitment for the Australia-Philippines Development Cooperation Strategy 2012-2017.
Signatories were National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Deputy Director General Rolando Tungpalan and Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) Deputy Director General James Batley.
The Statement of Commitment outlines the strategy for the Australia-Philippines development cooperation program over the next six years (2012–2017). It contains the respective commitments of the Australian and Philippine governments that will assist the poor and vulnerable to take advantage of the opportunities that can arise from a more prosperous, stable and resilient Philippines.
The Statement aligns itself with PH priorities in the Philippine Development Plan 2011–2016. Its strategic objectives are to strengthen basic services for the poor and reduce vulnerabilities arising from climate change and conflict. These are supportive of the vision and consistent with the development priorities and outcomes of the Plan. In his introductory remarks, AusAID’s DDG Batley gave a brief overview of PH-Australia development cooperation, saying it is an important aspect of our countries’ bilateral relations.
He said that the new development strategy, being results-focused, streamlines the aid program on select key issues where Australia’s assistance can make a real difference in improving the lives of the poor. The strategy also gives emphasis to performance-based assistance, transparency, and public accountability.
PH and Australia agreed that the new program aims to effect a paradigm shift from the traditional donor-beneficiary relationship to genuine partnership in support of PH national objectives.
For his part, DDG Tungpalan expressed the Philippines’ appreciation for Australia’s contribution and the fact that both countries view and address development issues under the same lens. He also welcomed the conduct of a joint annual review of the new development program to ensure that all systems are in place and to actively address issues and concerns which may arise in the program implementation.