Since 24 February 2022, the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has shaken the foundations of the European peaceful order. Yet in the Indo-Pacific region, too, the rules-based international order is coming under mounting pressure, geopolitical tensions are exacerbating territorial conflicts and the risk of escalation is growing, for instance in the Taiwan Strait. At the same time, the climate crisis is posing an increasing threat to the existence of many Indo-Pacific countries.
Tackling these developments and preserving the international peaceful order are the goals of the policy guidelines for the Indo-Pacific adopted by the Federal Government in 2020. Cooperation with the Indo-Pacific countries is now to be expanded.
Consolidating cooperation with the “blue continent”
The progress report on the implementation of the Federal Government’s policy guidelines for the Indo-Pacific, adopted by the Cabinet on 14 September, envisages the intensification of its cooperation measures to date. To this end, Germany will place an even sharper focus on the concerns of what is known as the “blue continent” and will appoint a special envoy for the Pacific island states for the first time.
Its future engagement will centre on the following areas:
Strengthening the rules-based international order: The Federal Government is committed to promoting compliance with international law and will support its partners in standing up for the preservation of the rules-based order.
Tackling climate change: In order to attain the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, the Federal Government will expand climate and development partnerships and assist high-risk Indo-Pacific countries in coping with the impact of climate change.
Reducing dependencies through diversification: Germany is working towards diversifying supply chains in key sectors and is supporting negotiations on EU free trade and investment protection agreements with Indo-Pacific countries.
Preventing future socioeconomic crises: Inadequate financial reserves, high debt and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are making it difficult for many countries to respond appropriately to future shocks. Germany will provide support in this area.
Reaffirming an inclusive approach: The Federal Government’s offers of cooperation are extended to all partners in the region that are committed to the principles of the rules-based order.
Focus: strengthening the rules-based order, protecting the climate, expanding multilateral cooperation
The 2022 progress report on the implementation of the Federal Government’s policy guidelines for the Indo-Pacific describes the steps Germany, together with partners, has taken over the past year to strengthen the rules-based international order, mitigate the impacts of climate change and expand the role of the European Union.
In February 2022, the frigate Bayern successfully completed its patrol and training mission in the Indo-Pacific, during which it was also involved in monitoring UN sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and took part in maritime cooperation exercises. Furthermore, Germany is supporting further training measures in international maritime law and the equipping of coast guards with reconnaissance drones to monitor coastal areas, for example, in the Philippines. The Federal Government is currently participating in the military exercises in the context of Rapid Pacific 2022 in order to intensify security cooperation.
Germany is taking concrete steps to counter climate change in the Indo-Pacific. The Federal Government is currently negotiating the G7 Just Energy Transition Partnerships with India, Indonesia and Viet Nam to accelerate the phasing-out of coal-based power and the expansion of renewables. In the context of the Partnership for Green and Sustainable Development, Germany is supporting India’s efforts to achieve its national climate and sustainable development goals by 2030 to the tune of 10 billion euro. Germany is also promoting various projects in the Indo-Pacific in the spheres of renewable energy, forest and marine protection and biodiversity.
The European Union has intensified its cooperation in the Indo-Pacific not least at Germany’s instigation. In February 2022, more than 30 Indo-Pacific partners were invited to Paris to implement the EU strategy for the region of September 2021. With the Global Gateway connectivity strategy of December 2021, the EU plans to initiate projects promoting high-quality and sustainable infrastructure in the digital, energy, transport, health, education and research domains. Furthermore, in June 2022 the European Commission succeeded in concluding negotiations on a free trade agreement with New Zealand.