Australia’s Development, Diplomacy and Defence leaders call for foreign policy re-think

ASIA PACIFIC 4D – The Asia Pacific Development, Diplomacy and Defence Dialogue has today released a Chair’s statement following its inaugural meeting, calling for Australia to rethink its international relations.

The inaugural Asia Pacific 4D convened 25 influential international relations leaders at the Australian National University on 5 November 2019.

The initiative is a partnership in the fields of development, diplomacy and defence, founded on the collective agreement that greater strategic collaboration between the individual fields of foreign policy is required to help Australia address the unprecedented international relations environment it faces.

The inaugural dialogue considered Australia’s current arrangements for strategic planning and foreign policy coherence and how Australia could tackle the contemporary international challenges it faces.

The Asia Pacific 4D Chair’s statement was issued today. In it, the chairs, Professor Michael Wesley, Marc Purcell, Therese Faulkner and Chris Gardiner outlined:

“…that Australia’s weight in the world is declining. Primarily, this is driven by two factors: firstly, the fall of Australia’s relative economic weight to other nations and secondly, the fragmentation of the international order from which Australia has benefited.”

In response to this trend, Chairs stated “that Australia must be more proactive in shaping its international circumstances and protecting and advancing its interests.”

In examining Australia’s strengths in responding to events in its region, such as the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands and supporting the independence of Timor-Leste, the Chairs concluded that: “Australia’s geostrategic approach should not rely upon military means alone … to be effective over the long-term, we must always include non-kinetic aspects such as statecraft, peace-building and efforts to support resilience, including development assistance to reduce poverty.”

Commenting on the release of the statement, CEO of the Australian Council for International Development, Marc Purcell said:

“Asia Pacific 4D is a response to the deterioration in Australia’s circumstances and fragmentation of the international order.

“Australia needs a much more substantial and integrated set of responses to the regional trends we are seeing, especially in South East Asia. We think that greater collaboration between Australia’s development, diplomatic and defence communities will help identify what is required.

“Australia’s development program has played a key role in building a more open, secure and prosperous world for 70 years. In the upcoming Government review of the program, we will echo the view from across the foreign policy community that Australia’s international development expenditure should increase and is a critical dimension to building resilient nations and a peaceful region.”

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