Thursday, 21 June 2012
Questions on Notice
Foreign Affairs (Question No. 1851)
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 17 May 2012:
With reference to the media release: 'Australia to assist Pacific and development nations to attend crucial Rio+20 Conference', dated 12 April 2012, and Australia's contribution to the Participation Trust Fund:
(1) Who are the trustees or guardians.
(2) (a) who will decide on the grants
(b) what criteria will be used to assess applicants
(c) which nations are eligible to apply
(3) What safeguards are in place to ensure the Fund operates transparently and with probity.
(4) Which other nations have donated or pledged funds, including details of the amounts for the respective nations.
The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:
(1) The participation trust fund for Rio +20 is managed by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).
(2) (a) As managers of the trust fund, DESA decide on the allocation of funding.
(b) DESA will consider applications on a first-come-first-served basis. Countries are able to request support for up to two participants. Member states are encouraged to be represented at the conference at the highest possible level including Heads of State or Government.
(c) Funding is available to developing countries, including the least developed countries. Australia has expressed its preference that the funds be used to support representatives from the Asia-Pacific region, particularly least developed countries and small island developing states.
(3) The participation trust fund is operated in accordance with the United Nations financial rules and regulations.
(4) Other countries that have contributed to the fund include Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Iceland, Japan, Mauritius, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. We do not have a breakdown of individual funding.