Australia boosts aid to its neighbors: The increase, to $3.1 billion from $1.9 billion, is part of Canberra’s sense of responsibility for the Asia-Pacific region. (Janaki Kremmer, 5/18/06, The Christian Science Monitor)

The amount of aid spending will jump to $3.1 billion by 2010, from $1.9 billion. The new spending will channel funds into humanitarian areas in the Asia-Pacific region such as health and education, while sustaining its current aid related to law-and-order projects. Among the few specifics available, the white paper on foreign aid unveiled late last month said that Australia will head an international bid to tackle malaria in the Pacific.

The effort is part of Australia’s moves since 9/11 to stake out more clearly Southeast Asia and the Pacific as its sphere of concern and responsibility, say analysts, who see in the new humanitarian focus a more comprehensive approach to fostering stability, development, and goodwill.

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