Colonialism and racism are embedded in our institutions, structures and power dynamics – the aid and development sectors are no exception. The current global pandemic has further exposed systemic injustice and racism imposed on communities around the world.
“Colonisation” in aid, trade and development refer to Western governments, institutions, organisations, researchers and practitioners imposing their ideas on countries in the Global South without involving them and continuing to control key resources such as funding.
Since the closure of AusAID in 2013, Australian aid has been increasingly directed towards national interests and private finance over developing countries’ humanitarian and development needs for real aid. It is now closely integrated with Australian diplomatic, strategic and military priorities, taking priority over the perspectives of communities in the Global South in countries that are recipients of Australian aid and in many cases manifesting as development aggression.
Rather than responding to the needs of those in the Global South, Australia has taken an imperial approach embedded in structural racism and whiteness to its Aid program.
At Aid/Watch we believe we need a radical rethink to decolonise the aid system, shift the balance of power, and act in solidarity with communities on the frontline of economic, social, environmental and gender injustices.
To re-imagine a world of justice and equity for all.
CAMPAIGNS & PROJECTS
REIMAGINE AID: KEY QUESTIONS
Aid/Watch calls for radical rethinking to re-imagine and decolonise the aid system, to shift the balance of power, and to act in solidarity with partners in the Global South in transforming to an aid and development program that is anti-racist and spearheaded by those who are supposed to benefit. Key questions Aid/Watch is asking are:
- What are the current power dynamics and imbalances that exist?
- How does structural racism show up in the culture of international aid and development? How can this be ended?
- How can we re-imagine and decolonise partnerships, funding structures and decision-making processes?
- What is AID/WATCH’s role as an organisation? And what internal and external work do we need to do?
- What will it take to reimagine and transform aid and development cooperation? What would it look like? How do we achieve this?
If you work in the Aid Sector, are a former aid worker, or are interested in collaborating with Aid/Watch to tackle these important questions, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-hosted by Aid/Watch Australia and the Reality of Aid – Asia Pacific (RoA-AP), Aid Talks aims to inform the public on how the Official Development Assistance (ODA), commonly known as aid provided by donor countries to developing nations and fragile states, is being utilized as ‘aid investment’ redirected to support private sector players and narrow security priorities over reducing inequality and poverty.
AUSTRALIAN AID & THE PACIFIC
A PACIFIC COMPACT
Aid/Watch Australia‘s Mara Bonacci contextualizes the proposed “Grand Compact for the Pacific” in the Reality of Aid Report 2021: Aid in the context of conflict, fragility and the climate emergency,
The paper asserts that a compact agreement focused on Pacific Island nations must come from the perspective of social, environmental and gender justice and break away from the extractive industries, development aggression and colonial practices currently impacting the region.
MILITARISATION OF AID & MILITARY AID
With the closure of AusAID in 2013, Australian aid has become more closely integrated with Australian diplomatic and strategic priorities, including its military priorities. Aid is now increasingly deployed to counter what the Australian Government sees as a growing threat from China.
A new aid tranche is being used specifically to negate growing assertiveness and political confidence in the region as Australia’s Pacific sphere of influence becomes increasingly challenged.
Aid/Watch in collaboration with partners in the Asia Pacific region will be engaging in research, campaigning and advocacy on the Australia aid program’s continued military scale-up. The project will critique and analyse the militarisation of aid and promote alternatives towards achieving goals of peace and security in the region. This includes:
- Fair trade arrangements – not market access and ‘free trade’
- Effective climate action and climate policy, both in international policy and at home
- Development justice in the region and recommitting to global targets for development aid
- Respecting human and collective rights (Indigenous, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers etc.)
- Re-focusing Australian aid on addressing local needs, not Australian interests
- Committing to a nuclear-free Asia-Pacific region