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New focus for aid to Indonesia

18 October 2001 Media Statement

New focus for aid to Indonesia

A new approach to the New Zealand Government’s aid programme in Indonesia will see a shift towards direct poverty intervention in the country’s poorest areas, Associate Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Matt Robson announced today.

“The aid programme will now focus on the poorest parts of Indonesia, the Eastern Islands from Lombok to Irian Jaya,” says Matt Robson.

“Its main areas of support will be to fund basic education and community development initiatives undertaken by Indonesian NGOs. Other focal points will be on improving natural resource management, humanitarian assistance, governance and human rights and capacity building.

"The programme fits well with the new and creative thinking following the NZODA Review announced in September.

“Our concern with human rights places a priority on poverty elimination. It is by attending to the needs of those who are closest to the margins of exclusion and alienation, that peace and stability in our region can be secured.

“This programme is designed to have the positive impact at a grass roots level that the Indonesian Government and the people of Indonesia want. We are in for the long haul and, although modest, our contribution will make a lasting difference."

Indonesia is New Zealand’s nearest Asian neighbour and our largest aid recipient in the Asian region. Aid allocation in the five years from July 2002 will be worth $40 million.

Indonesia has a population of close to 210 million people. Around 44 percent of people in the Eastern Islands are below the poverty line. Indonesia’s nominal GDP per capita is about $US2 a day. The United Nations Development Programme’s 2001 Human Development Index, which ranks countries according to their development levels, lists Indonesia at number 102 and New Zealand at number 19.


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