Australia is a founding member of SPC. The first Secretary-General of SPC was Australian career diplomat, William Forsyth. Australia has a proud history of engagement with the Pacific Community, both as a member and as a donor partner through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
In March 2014, the Government of Australia (GoA) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) signed a 10-year Partnership arrangement. The Partnership for Pacific Regionalism and Enhanced Development 2014–2023 (the Partnership) supports SPC’s activities in line with the Pacific Community Strategic Plan and Divisional Business Unit Plans.
Australia is SPC’s second largest donor and the single largest source of flexible core funding, providing over AUD30 million to SPC in 2017 (half through core support). Australia’s funding to SPC falls into three categories:
- Core budget support: Untagged and available for all executive, corporate, administrative and program functions at SPC’s discretion. Membership contributions are included under this category.
- Program support: This flexible tagged funding is linked to the implementation of individual divisions’ business plans. It is available to support all executive, corporate, administrative and program functions under those business plans. Australia currently provides program funding to:
- Project support: This funding is tagged at the activity level, to support discrete and time-bound areas of work undertaken by SPC divisions.
Approximately 94 per cent of Australian funding comes from DFAT, with the balance in the form of project support from agencies such as the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Geoscience Australia and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
Key SPC activities supported by DFAT funding include:
- The Educational Quality and Assessment Program (EQAP), which works to improve literacy and numeracy through education assessments, data and benchmarking for evidence-based education policies and interventions;
- The Regional Rights Resources Team (RRRT), which provides technical support and training to Pacific island countries on priority human rights including gender inequality, violence against women, children’s rights and disability;
- The Statistics for Development Division (SDD), which supports Pacific island countries to collect, analyse and disseminate data and statistics;
- The Pacific Public Health Surveillance System, which monitors infectious disease outbreaks in the region.
- The Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePACT), which conserves and makes available for use Pacific food-crop genetic materials to help Pacific island countries and territories recover from natural disasters and pest and disease infestation
- The Land Resources Division (LRD), which works to improve food and nutritional security through the sustainable management and development of land, agriculture and forestry resources.
- The [email protected] Program, which delivers employability and entrepreneurship training to young, marginalised Solomon Islands youth.
- The Pacific Community (SPC) – Government of Australia (GOA) Partnership 2014-2023
- Evaluation of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community – Government of Australia Partnership: Final Report