Friday, April 24, 2009

Australia 2020 Summit - Australia's future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world

Here are "Australia's future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world" items accepted by the Australian Government in its "Responding to the Australia 2020 Summit" on 22 April 2009:

Australia faces an increasingly complex and interconnected international environment. Globalisation has greatly benefited Australia and our economy has experienced sustained prosperity notwithstanding recent challenges such as the global financial crisis. However, globalisation has also resulted in exposure to a broader range of challenges. The Government is committed to addressing these challenges, including those posed by a global economy suffering the impacts of the financial crisis, climate change, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the potential spread of pandemic disease, people smuggling and narcotics trafficking. These are complex matters with far-reaching implications and the Government is committed to taking a collaborative approach in developing global solutions to these issues.

By 2020, the population of the Asia Pacific region will comprise around 60 per cent of the world's total. Ensuring stability and prosperity in our region is important for both humanitarian reasons and for Australia's security, in terms of protecting our borders and preserving our economic prosperity. The management of Australia's relationships with the United States, Japan, China, Indonesia, India and Europe are critical to ensure the security of the nation.

This new landscape will require new techniques and partnerships. To exercise international influence and tackle emerging challenges will require a new form of "middle power" diplomacy.

The Security Stream at the 2020 Summit developed a range of ideas to address Australia's role in the international landscape. The key themes raised included a concerted campaign to improve our familiarity with Asia, new partnerships and strategies within the Pacific region, greater international engagement and the importance of non-military security issues. Trade and energy security were also discussed. Ideas relating to Australia in a global context were also raised by the Productivity, Communities and Health Streams.

The Security Stream developed a broad range of ambitions, themes and ideas that have influenced and guided the Government's policy in this area, such as:

  • National Security Statement - The Prime Minister presented Australia's inaugural National Security Statement to Parliament on 4 December 2008. This Statement outlined the Government's national security policy. It described the scope of national security, Australia's national security interests, principles and priorities, and outlined the Government's vision for a reformed national security structure.

  • Deployable Civilian Capacity - The Government has agreed to develop a policy framework to enable rapid deployment of civilian experts to assist in international disaster relief, stabilisation and post conflict reconstruction efforts. An inter-agency task force is being led by AusAID to undertake this work. Once established, a national deployable civilian capacity will allow more rapid and early delivery of stabilisation and recovery assistance to countries that experience conflict or natural disaster. The program will be sufficiently adaptable to allow Australia to tailor its response to a particular event or emergency and will improve Australia's integration into multilateral reconstruction and stabilisation operations.

  • Maritime Security Enforcement - On 4 December 2008 the Prime Minister announced that the Government would augment the Australian Customs Service (ACS) to give it the capability to comprehensively work to deter people smuggling throughout the operating pipeline from source countries to our shores. As part of the changes the ACS has been re-named the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. The Government has reviewed aspects of Australia's maritime security enforcement effort and continues to consider opportunities for enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of our strategic approach to maritime security.

  • The Prime Minister's Australia Asia Endeavour Awards - The Government is making a substantial new investment of $14.9 million to facilitate the best and brightest students from Asia and the Pacific in having closer ties to Australia and for Australians to have closer ties in these countries. The Government will support academic scholarships for university students from Australia and Asia, including the expansion of capacity building and leadership scholarships for Asia Pacific students to study in Australia. These initiatives aim to build deep and enduring linkages with our Asia Pacific neighbours. This will have long term benefits for trade, security and development goals, as well as enriching all our cultures.

  • National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program - Incorporating a better understanding of Asia into Australian society is critical to enhancing Australia's engagement with the Asia Pacific region. To increase our Asian language capabilities, the Government is investing $62.4 million in the National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP). The NALSSP commenced on 1 January 2009 and provides opportunities for school students to become familiar with the languages and cultures of Australia's Asian neighbours - China, Indonesia, Japan and Korea.

  • Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre for Excellence - The Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence was opened by the Prime Minister on 27 November 2008. The centre will improve the effectiveness of Australian civilian and military collaboration to prevent, mitigate and respond to the impact of natural disasters and conflicts in the Asia Pacific region. The centre will support Australian Government agencies to strengthen civil-military collaboration through research, and the development of training and doctrine.

  • Pacific Partnerships for Development - The Government has committed to negotiating Pacific Partnerships for Development with our Pacific partners to make more rapid progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The Prime Minister signed the first two partnerships with Papua New Guinea and Samoa at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Niue in August 2008. Further partnerships were signed with Solomon Islands and Kiribati in January 2009.

The following tables provide the Government's response to the ideas raised by the Security Stream at the 2020 Summit.

Key ideas being taken forward by the Government

Topic

2020 proposed ideas

Government response

International Security - Creative Middle Power Diplomacy

  • Adopt a new approach using 'smart power' to address food, water and energy security issues in collaboration with our neighbours.

Agree. As noted in the Prime Minister's National Security Statement of 4 December 2008, it is important that our national security be advanced through creative middle power diplomacy. This is an active foreign policy that is capable of identifying opportunities to promote our security; to prevent, reduce or delay the emergence of national security challenges; and to position Australia to take advantage of international developments.

International Security - Collective Security

  • Strengthen collective security.

Agree. The Government is working to strengthen international security though close engagement with its allies and other partners, including through the United Nations. In March 2008, the Prime Minister announced Australia's candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the period 2013-14, which will enable Australia to take a more active role in addressing global security challenges.

International Security - UN Peace-building Commission

  • Support the UN Peace-Building Commission.

Agree. To date Australia has contributed $2 million to the Commission's Peace Building Fund, with an additional $1 million being contributed in early 2009.

International Security - Preventive Diplomacy

  • Use preventative diplomacy.

Agree. Australia actively engages in 'regional preventative diplomacy' as evidenced by its assistance to East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

Australia also supports the United Nations Secretary-General's proposals to strengthen the UN Department of Political Affairs, focusing on conflict prevention and mediation activities undertaken by African regional organisations.

International Security - Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament

  • Properly resourced nuclear disarmament diplomacy built on regional cooperation on nuclear expertise and non-proliferation, including the appointment of an Ambassador for Disarmament.

Agree. An International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) has been created as a joint initiative of the Australian and Japanese Governments. The Commission aims to reinvigorate international efforts on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in the context of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference and beyond.

Australia's Permanent representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva is the Ambassador for Disarmament.

In addition, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has strong regional nuclear cooperation links through a number of forums.

International Security - Peace-Building

  • Create deeper institutional engagement with a view to state and peace-building.

Agree. Australia works with partner governments, local institutions, non-government organisations, other donors and multilateral institutions to strengthen peace and state building programs in partner countries. At a global level, Australia undertakes these activities through UN agencies and academic and research institutions.

The newly established Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence will enhance Australia's institutional capacity to engage and coordinate with regional institutions to respond to causes of instability and build peace and security.

Regional Security - Deployable Civilian Capacity

  • Establish a deployable public service that will be able to more rapidly and effectively deliver development assistance.

Agree. The Government has agreed to develop a policy framework to enable rapid deployment of civilian experts to assist in international disaster relief, stabilisation and post conflict reconstruction efforts. An inter-agency task force is being led by AusAID to Undertake this work. Once established, a national deployable civilian capacity will allow more rapid and early delivery of stabilisation and recovery assistance to countries that experience conflict or natural disaster. The program reflects many of the ideas discussed at 2020, and also at the Youth Summit, and will be sufficiently adaptable to allow Australia to tailor our response to a particular event or emergency. It will also improve Australia's integration into multilateral reconstruction and stabilisation operations.

Regional Security - Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence

  • Establish an Australia-Japan regional peacekeeping centre and establish civil-defence partnerships.

Agree in-principle. The Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence (APCM COE) was opened by the Prime Minister on 27 November 2008. The centre will enhance the effectiveness of Australian civilian and military collaboration to prevent, mitigate and respond to the impact of natural disasters and conflicts in the Asia Pacific region. The Government intends the APCM COE to be the Australian centre for the international exchange of doctrine on peacekeeping practice.

The Government will seek formal links between the APCM COE and the relevant Japanese institutions involved in peacekeeping.

National Security - Government Response to the Smith Review, National Security Committee

  • New research and analytical capabilities are required on non-traditional security threats.

Agree. The Government announced its National Security Statement and response to the Homeland and Border Security Review on 4 December 2008. The National Security Statement reinforced the importance of the Government's role in research and capability development activities that reach beyond counter-terrorism into other areas of national security.

Research and development capabilities across the spectrum of national security challenges will be addressed through the development of the National Security Science and Innovation Strategy.

The International Strategy Unit within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which was established in October 2008, is regularly tasked to examine non-traditional security issues and their implications for policy.

National Security - Information and Intelligence Data Sharing

  • The National Security Committee of Cabinet should exercise leadership to push for meaningful, real information and intelligence data sharing between policing and intelligence agencies.

Agree. The National Security Statement outlined the establishment of a National Intelligence Coordination Committee (NICC). This committee will ensure that Australia's national intelligence effort is fully and effectively integrated with all relevant agencies and activities.

The National Security Advisor, supported by the National Security Chief Information Officer and in consultation with other relevant agencies, will address the legislative, technical and cultural barriers to the sharing of national security information.

This idea was also raised as an issue in the 2004 Flood Inquiry into Australian Intelligence Agencies. The Government is currently making a number of improvements as a result of the outcomes of the Street Review of interoperability between the AFP and its national security partners.

Pacific Development - Pacific Partnership for Development

A number of ideas were raised regarding development and social exchange initiatives with the Pacific, including:

  • A partnership for development initiative to achieve priority Millennium Development Goals through sustainable business, academic, community and government linkages

  • Encouraging greater exchange of professionals and public servants and the exchange of information on approaches to tackle climate change and food security

  • The use of modern IT technologies to foster closer ties and address mutual challenges

  • Integrate policies and agencies' efforts to fast-track clean energy development and deployment, informed by a coherent plan.

Agree. The Pacific Partnerships for Development initiative launched by the Prime Minister in March 2008 commits Australia and our Pacific partners to make more rapid progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The first two partnerships with Papua New Guinea and Samoa were signed at the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting in August 2008. In January 2009, partnerships were signed with Solomon Islands and Kiribati. Partnerships for Development are being progressively established with other Pacific Island countries.

The Pacific Islands Forum will be held in Cairns in the first week of August 2009, continuing partnership-building in the Pacific region.

Additionally in the 2008-09 Budget, the Government allocated $107 million over four years to increase Australia's support for Pacific public sector training and capacity building.

Business and community links will be significantly advanced through the development of a Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme and consultations on a regional economic integration agreement (PACER plus). In addition, the Government actively supports the Business for Millennium Development (B4MD), which partners with Australian business to reduce poverty in the Asia Pacific region.

Through AusAID, the Government is participating in the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility, which aims to develop and maintain critical economic infrastructure and make progress against the Millennium Development Goals in the Pacific. The Government is also providing assistance for Pacific countries in developing climate change expertise.

The Government is considering further initiatives to support training opportunities for Pacific public servants and increased links with Pacific officials and programs.

Pacific Development - Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme

Also raised by:

Rural

Productivity

  • Establish a workforce and skills program that enables foreign workers to come to remote, rural and regional Australia for up to two years, to work under an Australian industry instrument.

  • Develop links with Australia's overseas aid programs to offer aid recipients work opportunities in Australia as an opportunity to develop skills, earn wages to support their family and community and promote cross-cultural understanding. The scheme would also offer Australian employers the capacity to fill jobs.

  • A rights-based labour mobility initiative for South West Pacific, including East Timor.

Agree. The Government announced the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme on 17 August 2008. This three year scheme will examine the viability of a seasonal worker program, with a focus on the horticulture industry. The Government is conducting the pilot to examine whether a seasonal worker program could contribute to regional economic development objectives and also assist Australian employers.

International Trade - Reducing Barriers to Trade

  • Build stronger linkages, breaking down the practical barriers that limit trade, and work towards creating a seamless single market across the Pacific islands, New Zealand and Australia.

Agree. Australia already has a longstanding and comprehensive closer economic agreement with New Zealand.

At the Pacific Islands Forum in August 2008, Pacific leaders agreed to a new regional economic integration agreement (PACER Plus) to be developed in 2009 and cover Pacific Island countries.

The Government is also committed to promoting APEC's agenda on regional economic integration and continuing on the path towards a Free Trade Agreement of the Asia Pacific. The announcement at the APEC Ministerial Meeting in November that Australia will join the Trans Pacific Partnership initiative is an important stepping stone on this path.

Energy, Water & Food Security

  • Improve the analytical ability of agencies using evidence-based management systems to develop and monitor sustainability and other indicators related to energy, water and food security.

Agree. Agencies already make extensive use of available evidence-based systems. Enhanced systems are currently being established in the water and energy portfolios.

Food Security

  • Innovation in Australia and AusAID should help Australia's neighbours meet the challenges of food production in a world dealing with climate change.

Agree. Since May 2008, the Australian Government has committed over $100 million to food security programs in developing countries, for emergency food aid, and for agricultural and rural development.

The Government has also committed to invest $150 million over three years to meet high priority climate adaptation needs in vulnerable countries in our region, including a range of issues related to food security.

A comprehensive action plan for food security, which includes increased development assistance in agriculture and rural development and continued advocacy for international trade policy reform, is currently under development.

The Government has made an immediate contribution of $50 million to the World Bank Global Food Crisis Trust Fund and is supplementing this with support for urgent food requirements through the World Food Programme.

International Rule of Law - General

  • Reaffirm our commitment to working in international institutions and to the international rule of law.

Agree. The Government is strongly committed to working with international institutions to shape coordinated responses to global challenges. The Government is also strongly committed to upholding and promoting the rule of law at an international level, including through the progressive development of international law and active participation in key international fora.

Removing Discrimination

Also raised by:

Economy

Governance

  • Unleash Australian talent by removing direct and indirect discrimination, which means improving structural support, strengthening laws and creating public accountabilities beyond gender - that is, age, race and disability.

  • Review domestic legislation for human rights impacts and compliance.

Agree in-principle. On 10 December 2008, the Commonwealth Attorney-General announced a national consultation process on human rights and responsibilities in Australia. The consultation will be conducted in 2009 by a committee comprised of Father Frank Brennan SJ AO (Chair), Ms Tammy Williams, Ms Mary Kostakidis and Mr Mick Palmer AO APM.

The Government has recently taken some key steps to address issues of discrimination. For example, in July 2008, the Government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and, in December 2008, tabled a National Interest Analysis proposing that Australia accede to the Optional Protocol to the Convention. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties reported its views on 12 March 2009 and recommended that Australia accede to the Optional Protocol.

In December 2008, the Government tabled draft Disability Standards to improve access to premises for persons with disabilities, and introduced legislation to implement recommendations of the Productivity Commission from 2004 to improve the operation of the Disability Discrimination Act. The states and territories also have existing programs to address issues of discrimination.

Also in December 2008, the Government acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

International Rule of Law - Gender Equality

  • Ensure Australia's commitment to gender equality is reflected in domestic and foreign policy.

On 4 December 2008, Australia acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Government is exploring ways to improve gender equality across a range of policy areas.

International Rule of Law - Multilateral Treaty obligations

  • Develop multilateral treaty obligations in the areas of trade, human rights, labour and environment.

Agree in-principle. The Government has existing multilateral treaty commitments in each of these areas and is committed to developing further obligations where relevant and appropriate. Recent examples include:

  • In December 2008, the Government acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

  • In July 2008, the Government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in December 2008 tabled a National Interest Analysis proposing that Australia accede to the Optional Protocol

  • The Government is considering what steps would be required (in consultation with the states and territories) for Australia to become a party to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment

  • The Government is pursuing vigorously an ambitious and timely conclusion to the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations

  • The Government ratified the International Tropical Timber Agreement in September 2008.

National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP)

Also raised by:

Productivity

Communities

Incorporate Asia literacy into Australian society to increase the knowledge of Asian and regional languages and societies to enhance Australia's global engagement and intelligence. This could be done by:

  • Boosting the teaching of Asian languages in primary and secondary schools

  • Mainstreaming language education

  • Recruiting foreign language teachers from local communities and overseas

  • Reinvigorating professional teacher training, including for native speakers and our ethnic communities

  • Developing a comprehensive national Asia literacy strategy at all levels of the education system by 2020. This should be backed by funding at least equivalent to the former National Asian Languages and Studies Strategy for Australian Schools

  • Ensuring by 2020 that Australia will no longer be the worst-ranked OECD country for second-language skills and that it is positioned to benefit from the economic reality of an increasingly Asia-centric world

  • Ensuring by 2020 every child in Australia can speak a language other than English and will learn about the contribution of other cultures to Australia

  • Ensuring that Australians directly experience Asia.

Agree in-principle. The Government has committed $62.4 million to implement the National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP) over 2008-09 to 2010-11, in recognition of the importance of Asian languages and studies in equipping young Australians with the skills to compete in the globalised economy of the future.

The NALSSP commenced on 1 January 2009 and provides opportunities for school student to become familiar with the languages and cultures of four of Australia's Asian neighbours, namely China, Indonesia, Japan and Korea.

Through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) processes, all governments have committed to the NALSSP and an aspirational target that, by 2020, at least 12 per cent of all students exit Year 12 with a fluency in one of the target Asian languages. NALSSP focuses on increasing both student demand and teacher supply.

In addition, the Government's recent Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan includes $1 billion to build up to 500 science laboratories or language learning centres in secondary schools. The second phase of the National Curriculum will also include language education.

Asia Literacy - the Prime Minister's Australia Asia Endeavour Awards

Also raised by:

Productivity

  • Link young Australians to Asian communities through support for school twinning, exchange programs, mentoring, in-country and community-based learning programs.

  • Remove barriers to Australians studying in Asia.

  • Develop a comprehensive national Asia literacy strategy to re-skill Australia to capitalise on opportunities in Asia.

  • Provide university fee exemptions and other financial incentives to rebuild Asian studies in our universities.

Agree. The 2020 Summit, the Youth Summit and the Schools Summit all recognised the importance of Asia-literacy and the Government has made a commitment to delivering a new scholarship scheme: the Prime Minister's Australia Asia Endeavour Awards. This scheme will provide scholarships for the best and brightest university students from Australia and Asia. The scheme aims to build deep and enduring links with Australia's neighbours. This will have long term benefits for trade, security and development goals, as well as enriching all our cultures.

National Security - Maritime Security Enforcement

  • Assess Australia's maritime area to inform long term management and planning in this area.

Agree in-principle. In the inaugural National Security Statement on 4 December 2008, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would augment the Australian Customs Service (ACS) to give it the capability to comprehensively work to deter people smuggling throughout the operating pipeline from source countries to our shores. As part of the changes the ACS has been re-named the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. The Government has reviewed aspects of Australia's maritime security enforcement effort and continues to consider opportunities for enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of our strategic approach to maritime security.

National Security - Local, Domestic and Community Security

Enhance local, domestic and community security as a foundation for national and global security. This can be done by:

  • Creating a resilient and harmonious domestic community, and

  • Rebalancing community security to support soft power and domestic security capacity.

Agree in-principle. The December 2008 National Security Statement outlined the Government's approach to achieving national security outcomes through enhanced community engagement, including through sustaining support for our forces deployed overseas, undermining the influence of violent ideologies and preserving the social cohesion of Australia's diverse society.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Tom Worthington said...

The Australian Prime Minister has announced the creation of an Office of the Deployable Civilian Capability (DCC) within AusAid, at at the East Asia Summit.

October 26, 2009 8:36 AM

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