Minister for Foreign Affairs launches the Pacific Research Program
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On Tuesday 24 October the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, launched the Pacific Research Program. The PRP is a consortium led by the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program (SSGM) and including the ANU Development Policy Centre and the Lowy Institute.
The Pacific Research Program (PRP) is co-funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the consortium partners’ parent bodies and is designed to be a globally pre-eminent centre of excellence for research on the Pacific that:
a. Produces high-quality policy relevant research that is available, accessible and communicated to policy makers and program designers in Australia, the Pacific and from around the world.
b. Plays a central role in fostering and facilitating a strong and vibrant Pacific-Australia-New Zealand-wide network of research on the Pacific.
c. Is connected to Australia’s broader engagement with the Pacific and fosters a greater knowledge and understanding of the Pacific among the Australian community.
d. Demonstrates a high degree of effectiveness in contributing to evidence-based policy-making and program design primarily in Australia and also the Pacific and around the world.
The geographic scope of the PRP is the Pacific region as a whole, though Melanesia will be an area of particular interest in line with Australia’s geographic location and national interests. The sectoral focus of the PRP will be on the intersection of politics, economy and power in relation to the region’s most pressing development challenges.
In conjunction with the launch of the PRP, SSGM has also undergone a name change to the Department of Pacific Affairs (DPA). This change does not diminish the unit’s focus on Melanesia, which will remain essential to its work, but is intended to reflect better the full scope of the work it undertakes, including through the PRP, and to provide a more intuitive and self-explanatory title.
The PRP will build on what has gone before, but will also represent change in some important ways. In particular, our consortium partners have much to bring to the program: we look forward very much to working closely with them.