Benchmark (1) : Australian financial contribution to humanitarian mine action programs
This represents over three quarters of the total ten-year commitment by Australia of A$100 million to the year 2005. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, signed the Ottawa Treaty on 3 December 1997. Funding periods vary, with some allocations specific for times and projects/countries, and others part of core contributions to multilateral organisations over a number of years. New funds allocated since July 1999 are $A12.5 million (US$8 million). Of these new funds, $A5.4 million was allocated to new mine action projects in Cambodia, Angola and Afghanistan.
Recipients include Mine Action Centres in Cambodia (CMAC) and Mozambique (UNDP ADP), UN agencies (UNMAS and UNDP), the ICRC and a range of NGOs. In addition, the Australian Defence Force receives reimbursement from aid funds for technical assistance to the UNDP ADP in Mozambique.
AusAID has made disaggregation of the details of funding available, and the development of a policy framework for expenditure is nearing completion. (ref: AusAID/ICBL meeting to discuss and review documents on 15/3/00). Funding is directed - roughly in descending order of magnitude - to: core grants (CMAC, UNDP ADP and UNMAS), mine clearance (NGOs and UNDP), integrated programs (including surveys), mine victims, equipment and technical assistance (including seminars and conferences) and lastly to mine awareness. It should be noted core grant contributions cut across all aspects of humanitarian mine action and is difficult to separate the categories.
There is a clear geographic priority for funding, with the bulk of funding allocated for projects/action in Australia’s immediate region, particularly Cambodia and Laos. Significant support has also provided to countries outside of the region, in descending order: Mozambique, Angola, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan. Some funds will soon be available for Thailand.
The Government has also committed A$700,000 including $200,000 from sales tax revenue from the Elton John CD “Candle in the Wind” in memory of Princess Diana to its community participation initiative "Destroy a Minefield". $400,0000 ofthese funds will be used to match A$1 from the Government for every A$2 raised by the community for a mine clearance in Cambodia. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer launched the scheme in November 1999.
In addition to being the recipients of Government funding for mine action, NGOs in Australia also provide a significant contribution to mine action work. This includes specific projects, particularly in the areas of mine awareness and victim assistance or through landmine sensitivity in integrated development programs. Details of projects and funds are not available.
One Australian company, Minelab, has donated a small amount of equipment for use in humanitarian mine clearance. It is envisaged that Australian businesses and corporations will make contributions to mine clearance under the Destroy-A-Minefield scheme.
Benchmark (2): Policy criteria/strategy governing allocations
AusAID is in the process of finalising the Government’s humanitarian mine action strategy. Consultation with NGOs, interested individuals (including members of the Australian Network of ICBL and commercial deminers), multilateral organisations, and Australian diplomatic posts took place between September –November 1999. The first round of consultations took place in September to assess priorities for the (then) remaining A$47 million pledged by Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer for mine action activities between 1996 -2005. (ref: email invitation toNGOs from John Munro, Director, Humanitarian and Emergencies Section, AusAID, August 1999).
At these meetings, comments were tabled from a number of Australian diplomatic posts in mine-affected countries. Those attending also proffered a range of suggestions regarding regional priorities, approaches and the need for a strategic approach that included clear evaluation criteria, quality assurance, advocacy of the universalisation of the Ottawa Treaty and annual consultations. Many of the suggestions have been integrated into recent funding decisions.
Accountability for outcomes varies depending on the funding channel. For NGOs it is detailed within the scope of services of each project and in the general AusAID accreditation requirements for NGOs. There are also guidelines for NGOs when writing proposals, submitting progress reports and acquitting funds.
Australia provides funding for multilateral organisations such as UNMAS and UNDP often in the form of core contributions. Australia sees UNMAS as the focal point for mine-related issues and activities with the UN system and supports its role of coordinating the UN response to mine action. Australia supports UNDP in its role as carrying responsibility for coordinating mine action in individual mine affected countries. Australian contributions are paid into the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance which is administered in accordance with the UN financial regulations and rules. The Australian Government holds these organisations responsible for the overall transparency of their budgets by actively participating in the governing bodies and other fora of these agencies.
AusAID has developed a “Multilateral Assessment Framework” to assist with the monitoring and assessment of multilateral agencies.
AusAID’s Humanitarian and Emergencies Section coordinates all demining policy and programming within the Australian aid program. This includes contributions to mine action programs globally, in particular through NGOs, as well as contributions to UN agencies. AusAID’s country program managers for Cambodia, Mozambique and Sri Lanka are responsible for the management and monitoring of bilateral funds allocated to mine action in those countries.
Benchmark (3): In Kind Contribution
A proportion of Australian mine action funding includes in kind contributions, either in personnel costs or equipment. AusAID and the Australian Department of Defence are currently finalising a joint agreement to provide two Australian Defence Force technical advisers to the UNDP ADP in Mozambique for the next two years (2000-01).
Funding to governments and mine action centres can include equipment as well as personnel. Funding has been provided in the form of meeting costs and travel for the Australian Network of the ICBL to attend the meetings of the Standing Committee of Experts in Geneva. The Coordinator of the Australian Network, Sister Patricia Pak Poy, has been an official member of the Australian delegation at these meetings.
Benchmark (4): Funding Received by Australia