THREE of the world's most fragile countries are on Australia’s doorstep, according to a new report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development that implores the international community to maintain its aid commitments.
The OECD’s States of 'Fragility 2016: Understanding Violence' report identifies 56 countries or regions as being fragile based on how exposed they are to risks like economic shock, youth unemployment, disease, corruption, crime and violence.
Three of Australia’s closest neighbours - Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste (East Timor) - are assessed as fragile.
PNG is rated as more fragile than countries that have endured recent coup attempts such as Egypt, Libya and Burkina Faso.
The report calls on the international community to provide adequate, long-term development assistance for these countries and focus funding on the real drivers of fragility. It also wants countries to develop better financing strategies.
According to the report, PNG and Timor-Leste are more vulnerable to political risks, while the Solomon Islands most substantial vulnerability is to environmental and health risks.
Together with Indonesia, these three countries represent the largest four recipients of Australian aid. PNG was given $554.5 million in 2015-16, the Solomon Islands $175.9 million and Timor-Leste $95.3 million.
Despite ongoing conflict from West Papuans over Indonesian rule, Indonesia was not deemed fragile by the OECD.
Although the Australian government has cut the aid budget in recent years, the cuts have not significantly affected allocations to these countries.
In the 2014-15 budget, which reduced spending by $650 million, there was an increase in the outlay to PNG.