The Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) was for large aid projects that helped create enduring economic development. The final funding round was in 2012.

The fund has been replaced by New Zealand Partnerships for International Development Fund (Partnerships Fund), however legacy SDF activities continue. 


The SDF prioritised activities that:

  • were aligned with the New Zealand Aid Programme's priorities as outlined in the New Zealand International Development Policy Statement [PDF, 595 KB]  and Funding Priorities Framework [PDF, 63 KB]
  • were focused on the Pacific. Under the SDF, the aim was to distribute funding per region on the following basis: 75% to the Pacific, 15% to Southeast Asia, and 10% to elsewhere in the world
  • had a sustainable economic development benefit, although some human development, basic human needs and disaster risk reduction activities were eligible
  • were larger and longer-term, and therefore more likely to lead to effective and sustained results. The SDF accepted multi-year applications and prioritised activities over $500,000 for the life of the activity, but a modest allocation was retained to fund activities smaller than this.
  • could demonstrate effective and innovative partnerships with other New Zealand and in-country partners
  • could demonstrate new and innovative approaches
  • could articulate how tangible results would be delivered
  • could demonstrate value-for-money
  • could clearly demonstrate how New Zealand's expertise and comparative advantage would contribute to the activity.

Matched funding

The third and final round of SDF included a matched funding component. The rationale for the matched funding model was:

  • a 'co-investment' approach that more strongly promotes the joint ownership and partnership between the aid programme and NGOs
  • ensuring that the aid programme supports NGO partners in proportion to their own fund-raising and capacity to implement
  • reducing the risk that NGOs become over-reliant on government funding, which may erode their wider mandate
  • encouraging NGOs to prioritise so they can submit quality applications
  • a tiered approach reflecting the priority geographical areas for the aid programme with the aim of supporting NGOs to work in these areas.

What was funded

Since the Sustainable Development Fund began in 2010, MFAT allocated approximately $79 million to New Zealand NGOs for multi-year activities.

List of all SDF activities funded [PDF, 244 KB] 

Partnerships case studies including SDF projects

Forms, templates and documents

SDF3 Activity Design Document Template [DOC, 810 KB]
SDF Round 3 Budget Template [XLSX, 44 KB]
SDF Budget Guidance [PDF, 81 KB]
SDF-Budget-Q-and-A [PDF, 45 KB]
SDF - Results Measurement Framework explained - Definitions-Diagram-Table [PDF, 382 KB]
SDF Gender Guideline [DOC, 87 KB]
Sustainable-Development-Fund-Matched-Funding-Declaration [DOC, 101 KB]
SDF Activity Progress Reporting Template (Revised Oct 2012) [DOC, 136 KB]

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