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Robin Davies

Honorary Professor, Development Policy Centre

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Robin Davies was appointed as an Honorary Professor of the Australian National University in April 2023 following more than five years as head of the Global Health Division and the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security in Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was previously Associate Director of the Development Policy Centre from late 2012 to 2017.

For almost twenty years, Robin worked at the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), both in Australia and overseas, including ten years as a member of its senior executive service. Until late 2011, he headed AusAID’s international programs and partnerships division.

Robin was Australia’s representative on the G20 Development Working Group from its establishment in 2010. He played an active role in shaping the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth and subsequent work on “growth with resilience”. As founding head of AusAID’s Sustainable Development Group from 2007 to 2009, he represented Australia in negotiations leading to the establishment of the multilateral Climate Investment Funds in 2008 and oversaw the development and implementation of a series of Australian climate change funding initiatives, including the International Forest Carbon Initiative and the International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative.

Robin managed AusAID’s devolved country program in Indonesia from 2003 to 2006. In that capacity he oversaw the first stage in a substantial scaling up and strategic reorientation of Australia’s aid to Indonesia, which for a time became the largest recipient of Australian aid, and led the Australian Government’s humanitarian response to the impacts of the December 2004 earthquake and tsunami in Aceh and North Sumatra.

Robin was AusAID’s first permanent representative to the OECD Development Assistance Committee in Paris from 1999 to 2002. He represented Australia on the boards of the UN World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development in this period. He has also worked at Australia’s Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Robin is on the boards of the Global Health Security Network and Femili PNG Australia. He previously served on the board of UNICEF Australia from 2013 to 2017 and chaired its Programs, Policy and Advocacy Committee.

Robin holds an honours degree in philosophy from the Australian National University.

Current areas of work

  • Global public goods – exploration of the role of multilateral organisations and other development agencies in the provision of international public goods, with a long-term horizon
  • Development assistance policy narratives – examination of actual and potential new development assistance policy narratives in the context of the shifting geography of poverty, the rise of global challenges and the increasing importance of non-traditional donors
  • Humanitarian financing – advocacy for the creation of global humanitarian investment fund to mobilise resources at scale, improve the governance of humanitarian financing, and ensure resources are allocated to effective implementing agencies
  • Aid transparency – advocacy for the establishment of better tools, and in particular a global portal to access International Aid Transparency Initiative data, to allow the manipulation, presentation and comparison of data on development assistance activities
  • Australian aid policy and administration – ongoing consideration of shifts over time in Australian aid and development policy, and in aid evaluation and administration
  • Payment by results – examination of the characteristics, merits and limitations of payment-by-results approaches as applied in health, agriculture and climate change mitigation
  • Public-private partnerships for development – elaboration of a conceptual framework and practical models for the establishment of effective, poverty-reducing financing partnerships between development agencies and private sector actors

Research interests

  • Development financing
  • Global public goods
  • Human rights and development
  • Aid policy and management
  • Australian aid

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