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Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID)
Programs in Thailand
At the request of the Royal Thai Government in November 2003, Australia’s development cooperation with Thailand started to reduce from 2004-05 as Thailand transitioned from being an aid recipient to being an aid donor. While Australia’s bilateral development assistance program with Thailand has ceased, Australia continues to provide some Australian Awards scholarships to Thai nationals through the Endeavour Awards. Australia also provides short-term grant funding support to non-government organisations and human rights institutions to implement projects that help to enhance human rights.
Currently, Australia collaborates with Thailand in regional efforts to improve responses to shared transboundary challenges in people trafficking, child sexual exploitation, labour migrant worker exploitation, Foot and Mouth Disease control, and malaria elimination.
Thailand’s economy grew by an average of 3.1 per cent per year for the period 2007 to 2012. The International Monetary Fund projected the country’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to grow further by 6.0 per cent in 2013. According to World Bank 2011 figures, Thailand’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of US$4,440 was more than four times that of the average GNI per capita of US$1,073 among its neighbouring Mekong countries (Vietnam US$1,270, Laos US$1,130 and Cambodia US$820).
In terms of quality of life, Thailand ranked 103 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s 2011 Human Development Index. Thailand is making good progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and is likely to meet most of the MDG targets. This relatively high level of development and Thailand’s important position in the Mekong Sub-region have provided a sound basis for the evolution of the Australia-Thailand development cooperation relationship from donor-recipient to one characterised by development partnership in the region. As a member of ASEAN and the East Asia Summit and an upper-middle income economy, Thailand is an important partner for Australia in providing south-south leadership and driving broader development outcomes in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
Australian regional assistance to Thailand
East Asia is becoming more connected—both in terms of trade and the movement of people across borders. While this brings economic advantages and can help reduce poverty, it also presents a number of challenges to the region.
The number of people being trafficked in East Asia remains a major concern. Men, women and children are all vulnerable to human trafficking. AusAID’s work in the region involves strengthening national and regional criminal justice responses to trafficking in persons in Thailand and South East Asia. AusAID’s regional human security programs also focus on preventing child sex exploitation in the travel and tourism sectors and on preventing labour exploitation of migrant workers within and from the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
East Asia continues to suffer from pandemics and outbreaks of infectious diseases. Unregulated cross-border trade of livestock have led to outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) which damages the livelihoods and food security of rural communities. AusAID, working with Thailand and neighbouring South East Asian countries, supports a regional campaign to eradicate FMD in South East Asia by 2020. AusAID also supports an HIV/AIDS prevention program focused on people who inject drugs in the Mekong Sub-region and a regional initiative to contain the spread of drug resistant malaria.
See East Asia Regional Program
The Australia Awards aim to promote knowledge, education links and enduring ties between Australia and our neighbours through Australia’s extensive scholarship programs.
Thailand is eligible for the Endeavour Awards funded through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE).
The Endeavour Awards is the Australian Government’s internationally competitive, merit-based scholarship program providing opportunities for citizens of the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas to undertake study, research, and professional development in Australia.
See Endeavour Awards
Human Rights Grants Scheme
The Human Rights Grants Scheme provides grant funding to non-government organisations and human rights institutions based or operating in developing countries to promote and protect human rights in direct and tangible ways. The Human Rights Grants Scheme is managed by AusAID in consultation with Australian human rights experts, Australia’s network of diplomatic missions, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
See Human Rights Grants Scheme