28th OSCE Ministerial Council
Asian Partners for Co-operation Statement
Delivered by Ruth Constantine, Alternate Representative
3 December 2021
I would firstly like to extend our thanks to Sweden for its able leadership and chairing of the OSCE, and Albania for its leadership of the Asian Partners group, in what has undoubtedly been a challenging year.
The OSCE Asian Partners mechanism offers us an important platform to strengthen relationships between our regions, and reaffirm our shared commitment to maintaining an open, peaceful, stable and rules-based international order.
In times of increasingly complex transnational and global threats and challenges, our OSCE partnership and the sharing of regional perspectives will become increasingly important.
In this spirit, in 2021 Australia sought to strengthen the OSCE’s policy approaches with insights from the Indo-Pacific. At the first OSCE Asian Partners for Co-operation meeting in March, we spoke, alongside Japan, on our vision and objectives for the Indo‑Pacific.
In April, Australia’s Ambassador for People Smuggling and Human Trafficking participated in a virtual OSCE meeting, which examined our shared priorities for eliminating modern slavery and trafficking from business supply chains, and also facilitated a good exchange on gender perspectives.
At the June OSCE Asian Partner meeting, Australia was pleased to have had the opportunity to highlight grey zone threats in the Indo-Pacific, and the importance for all states to address vulnerabilities to foreign interference. If we are to advance comprehensive security, we need to be able to discuss such non-traditional security threats alongside traditional concerns such as terrorism, organised crime and cyber security.
In 2021, we have seen how adaptation to pandemic restrictions has enabled more virtual engagement, and such hybrid formats could be worth preserving going forward.
We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Albania and Thailand for co-hosting the 2021 Asian Partners Conference, delivered in a hybrid format in September.
Our Ambassador for the Environment spoke on Australia’s efforts towards a clean energy future, including specific technologies that would accelerate a reduction in emissions to net zero.
All manner of partnerships – whether bilateral, regional or global – will be critical for transitioning to a clean energy future, and for combating and mitigating climate change.
Chair, as we look ahead to 2022 and beyond, our commitment to inter‑regional cooperation remains essential to protect peace and security, foster free and open trade, and tackle global challenges.
Australia wants to ensure that the Asian Partners process continues to bring benefits to both Australia, our region, and to the OSCE.
We would again take this opportunity to encourage participating States to consider how to engage better the Asian Partners on issues of substance and in the spirit of genuine partnership.
Let me reiterate our sincere thanks to Asian Partner colleagues, as well as to Sweden and Albania, for your collaboration and engagement this year.
We look forward to working with Poland next year as the incoming chair of the OSCE, and Sweden as Chair of the Asian Partners Group.