Achieving the Millennium Development Goals and assisting conflict-ravaged nations are central to the U.S. and Australian government’s development efforts, which were mapped out in this week’s 25th annual Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations. The two donor nations also pledged to cooperate with other G-20 countries to help promote a balanced global economic growth.

Australia has shifted the focus of its foreign aid from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Iraq and Afghanistan, a paper from experts at the Australian think tank Development Policy Center revealed. Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Indonesia, where the two countries pledged to expand their bilateral trade and investment cooperation.

A carbon fund managed by the Asian Development Bank was set to scale up its investments beginning next year to offset a slow start since its inception in January 2009.

In the Netherlands, meanwhile, non-governmental aid organizations will receive reduced public funding. The government plans to extend euro2.1 billion (USD2.9 billion) to the country’s 19 largest aid organizations. The figure is short by nearly euro1 billion of amount these groups have sought.

Canada and the U.K. are seeking to finance maternal and child health projects and studies to inform development policies. Canada has launched a call for proposals for projects that address maternal, newborn and child health, while the U.K. is inviting systematic reviews of key policy questions in the field of international development. Meanwhile, development stakeholders will convene for the fifth annual European Development Days from Dec. 6 to Dec. 7, 2010, in Brussels, Belgium.

The African Development Bank will hold a series of career events in South Africa and various cities across East Asia, while the U.S. State Department has launched a revamped website detailing U.N. vacancies that U.S. citizens can apply for.

Three World Food Program-contracted helicopter crewmen, all Latvian nationals, have been kidnapped in Darfur, the agency has confirmed. U.S. Agency for International Development contractor Louis Berger Group has agreed to pay USD69.3 million to end a dispute with the U.S. government stemming from allegations it overbilled USAID for reconstruction work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Appointments:

Tjipke Bergsma – deputy chief executive officer of Plan International.

Katharine Kreis – director of policy and advocacy at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.

Wendy Sherman – board chair of Oxfam America.

Barry Gaberman – board vice chair of Oxfam America.

Darius Teter – vice president of programs of Oxfam America.

Saadia Khairi – vice president for risk management and corporate strategy of the International Finance Corp.

Muhammad Yunus – appointed to mHealth Alliance Partnership’s board.

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.