New York, September 2023
Today the Foreign Minister of Australia, Senator the Hon Penny Wong, and the Federal Foreign Minister of Germany, Annalena Baerbock, met at the margins of the General Assembly in New York to reaffirm the closeness of our bilateral relationship, underpinned by shared values and commitment to the international order based on the rule of law.
We deeply appreciate the return of significant cultural heritage material to the Kaurna People of the Adelaide region from the collection of the Grassi Museum in Leipzig.
We are working together in Europe, the Indo-Pacific and globally. We partner to address challenges to long-established global norms, rules and laws, including the Charter of the United Nations. We aim to ensure sovereignty and territorial integrity and build resilience against political and economic coercion.
Taking forward bilateral cooperation
Germany and Australia acknowledge the achievements of the past two years under our Enhanced Strategic Partnership and will further expand bilateral cooperation.
We have deepened security cooperation on defence, hybrid and cyber threats including disinformation, and Women Peace and Security. Australia welcomes Germany’s increasing participation in Indo-Pacific joint military exercises, including plans for another naval deployment in 2024 and involvement in Exercise Talisman Sabre 2025. The Pacific will be a key focus of our bilateral Indo-Pacific Dialogue as Germany expands its Pacific presence.
We are building green hydrogen, renewable energy and critical minerals partnerships required for effective energy transition. Our aim is for new, sustainable and inclusive supply chains for a zero-carbon future, to boost economic resilience and deter economic coercion. We commit to strengthening and reforming the rules-based multilateral trading system, with the WTO at its core.
We aim for swift conclusion of an ambitious free trade agreement between the EU and Australia, which will deliver commercially meaningful, fair and sustainable trade benefits and strengthen our strategic ties.
Our joint response to geopolitical challenges
Australia and Germany unequivocally condemn Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. We demand Russia’s complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine in respect of its internationally recognised borders. We are committed to supporting Ukraine to end this war on its own terms. We have provided substantial support to Ukraine – Germany, the largest contributor after the United States, and Australia one of the largest non-NATO contributors. We agree that support for Ukraine must continue for as long as necessary.
We call on all those with influence on Russia, particularly China, to exert their influence now to convince Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and to end its illegal war.
We condemn Russia’s weaponisation of food, including its decision to terminate the Black Sea Grain Initiative and its attacks on Ukrainian agriculture, port and energy infrastructure. Russia’s war is causing immense human suffering, perpetuating sexual and gender-based violence, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, constraining growth, increasing inflation and elevating financial stability risks.
In the Indo-Pacific, we are concerned by growing strategic tensions. Australia welcomes Germany’s commitment to this region including its increased engagement and presence in the Pacific and deepening security and defence cooperation.
We are concerned about militarisation of disputed features in the South China Sea and unsafe behaviour at sea and in the air. We emphasise the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the comprehensive legal framework for all activities in the oceans and seas. We reaffirm the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight. We reiterate that disputes should be settled peacefully in accordance with international law and reaffirm the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award as final and binding on the parties.
We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and call for the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues without the threat or use of force or coercion. We reaffirm our shared opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo.
We are committed to working with the Pacific Islands Forum to deliver regional priorities, including the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific. We will coordinate and pool resources through Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP) in support of Pacific priorities. We are supporting disaster preparedness, enhancing partners’ speed and ability to respond.
Strengthening the international order and common values
Germany and Australia are partners in protecting and promoting universal human rights evident in our twin resolutions on National Human Rights Institutions in the Human Rights Council and General Assembly.
We commit to tackling the root causes of gender inequality across security, trade, foreign and development policy. As members of the Equal Rights Coalition, we aim for full, equal and meaningful participation of all elements of society in decision-making and leadership.
We collaborate in international fora to safeguard the protection of and respect for the human rights of all women, girls and marginalised groups, as well as strengthening their representation and access to resources. We address the pushback against human rights that disproportionately affects persons subjected to multiple forms of discrimination.
We are dedicated to implementing the 2030 Agenda and all seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the only internationally agreed blueprint for sustainable development for all people.
We must ensure the coherent delivery of the SDGs, because we know what would take their place – proposals that would likely lead to unsustainable development, and disregard gender equality, environmental protection and human rights.
Germany and Australia will continue to pursue new inclusive approaches in our respective foreign policy development, including for Germany its Feminist Foreign Policy and for Australia its First Nations approach to foreign policy.
Global, just energy transition and ambitious climate action
Australia and Germany have set ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and are taking strong action to achieve those targets, including our respective net zero targets. We are committed to urgent action in this critical decade, and to pursuing efforts to keep 1.5 degrees within reach. Therefore, we need greenhouse gas emissions globally to peak by 2025. We commit to taking necessary steps to achieve an ambitious outcome at COP28 including a global goal for renewable energy and energy efficiency and to taking swift action to decarbonise our energy systems, including to rapidly scale up the share of renewables in energy production and progressively work towards the phaseout of unabated fossil fuels. We commit to the phase out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
Australia and Germany will continue our efforts to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, to achieve the USD 100 billion annual climate finance goal and collective doubling of adaptation finance by 2025. Australia and Germany are acutely aware of the impact of the climate crisis on Pacific Island countries and will support them in addressing this. We commit to increasing our climate finance contributions and welcome efforts by regional and multilateral climate funds – including the Pacific Resilience Facility and the Green Climate Fund – to prioritise support and improve access for the most vulnerable developing countries.
Australia welcomes Germany’s support for Australia’s bid to co-host COP31, in partnership with Pacific Island countries. We note the importance of multilateral processes and international cooperation to accelerate global climate action. Germany and Australia agree to work together in the run-up to COP31 to deliver ambitious results that contribute to meeting the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. Considering this, we are looking forward to starting the implementation of the New Collective Quantified Goal, once decided at COP29.