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Joint statement of strategic partnership between Australia and France

In order to mark 170 years of unbroken friendship between Australia and France, which began with the opening of the first French consulate in Australia in 1842, and in recognition of the historical links that underlie current bilateral relations, Mr. Kevin Rudd, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of Australia, and Mr. Alain Juppé, Ministre d'Etat, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of the French Republic, have issued the following joint statement, the purpose of which is to establish a strategic partnership between Australia and France.

Australia and France are both committed to democratic values and human rights. They share a common aspiration for a fairer, safer and more socially responsible world. 

Mindful of the shared values that draw them together and the convergence of their interests across the globe, including in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, Australia and France are entering into a strategic partnership, following on from the joint declaration of 11 September 2011 of the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kevin Rudd and the Ministre d'Etat, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Mr. Alain Juppé.

In this spirit, the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Government of the French Republic declare the following guidelines and objectives:

A. Political cooperation

The two Governments reassert the importance of increasing high-level bilateral exchanges in order to promote dialogue and practical cooperation on bilateral, regional and international issues and will for that purpose:

  1. Conduct regular consultations between their Ministers for Foreign Affairs and other senior ministers where appropriate. Meetings will be held between senior officials in order to support such meetings.
  2. Encourage the Policy Planning Department of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and equivalent bodies in Australia to step up exchanges, and to facilitate cooperation and closer ties between expert groups and research organisations in Australia and France.
  3. Exchange diplomatic personnel, beginning with the placement of an Australian exchange officer in the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of France.
  4. Ensure regular exchanges between the Australian and French parliaments, with the support of their friendship groups.
  5. Promote initiatives to strengthen links between the cities and regions of Australia and France, particularly in the framework of commemorations of the centenary of the First World War.

B. Defence cooperation

The two Governments reassert their mutual commitment to the peaceful settlement of conflicts around the world, to enhancing bilateral defence cooperation and the strengthening of international peace and security, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

Their armed forces have stood alongside each other in many theatres of operation since the First World War and at present in the Indian Ocean, Middle East and in Afghanistan. They recall the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic regarding Defence Cooperation and Status of Forces signed on 14 December 2006. To maintain and strengthen defence dialogue and cooperation, they will:

  1. Conduct regular consultations and visits at senior political, civil and military levels.
  2. Step up contacts and exchanges, including by organising regular dialogues between officials, researchers and academics ("one and a half track" dialogues) on strategic issues, especially those relating to the Asia-Pacific region.
  3. Promote long-term strategic cooperation in the Pacific region, drawing on the Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group exchanges between Australia and France in liaison with New Zealand and the United States, and on preparation and implementation of joint action under the FRANZ Agreement in response to natural disasters in the Pacific.
  4. Foster Franco-Australian defence cooperation with third countries, particularly in the Pacific.
  5. Continue cooperation on current and future defence materiel programmes by maintaining various high-level dialogues involving the participants (suppliers, customers and government authorities).

C.  Security cooperation

The two Governments reassert the importance of close bilateral cooperation to address major international security issues of common concern, and will :

  1. Reinforce cooperation to combat terrorism, including by giving effect to the Declaration of Intent between the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic on Cooperation to Combat Terrorism signed on 26 April 2011.
  2. Enhance efforts to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and strengthen nuclear security levels, both through dialogue in multilateral fora and practical action.
  3. Cooperate in the framework of the international cybersecurity agenda, including through dialogue between Foreign Ministries on the development of international cyber norms. 
  4. Enhance cooperation to combat maritime piracy, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering and other transnational security threats.
  5. Cooperate on development of international space norms, including an international code of conduct, in support of responsible and peaceful uses of outer space.
  6. Foster dialogue on strategic issues of mutual interest, including Europe's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), and strategic issues regarding security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region.

D.  Economic cooperation

The two Governments reassert their intention to promote bilateral trade and investment and deepen their dialogue on international economic policy, and will to that end:

  1. Organise exchanges between Australian and French officials on both bilateral and multilateral economic and trade matters, particularly setting up a closer cooperation on the G20 agenda, including to share experiences on respective G20 presidencies (France in 2011 and Australia in 2014) and views on ongoing issues.
  2. Organise exchanges between the two countries' regulatory authorities in areas of common interest, such as prudential regulation, market regulation and competition, either in existing multilateral frameworks or bilaterally.
  3. Encourage investment between the two countries and business partnerships, including in the Pacific, through the work of L'Agence Française pour les Investissements Internationaux (AFII) in Australia and by Austrade in France, and business organisations and communities.

E.  Energy and resources cooperation

The two Governments will :

  1. Generate high-level dialogue between Australian and French authorities on energy policy and primary energy sources, with the participation of business circles where necessary.
  2. Step up bilateral cooperation relating to strategic metals, in particular by promoting industrial cooperation and development of open and transparent international markets.
  3. Step up cooperation on nuclear safety within the framework of the Australia-France Joint Statement on Civil Nuclear Safety issued on 11 September 2011 and develop exchanges between respective specialised services in charge of nuclear security.
  4. Continue existing cooperation relating to carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, especially through the Global CCS Institute.

F.   Transport cooperation

  1. The two Governments will organise further high-level dialogue between officials on transport policy.
  2. The two Governments will also organise further dialogue to promote business opportunities for Australian and French companies in the transport sector, especially relating to high-speed rail, infrastructure (including smart infrastructure and infrastructure security), and airspace management.

G.  Cooperation in education, science, technology and culture

The two Governments emphasise the value of the many cultural, linguistic and scientific exchanges that have developed in recent years.  In order to strengthen contacts and links of friendship between the peoples of Australia and France, in particular between young people, they will :

  1. Promote Australian and French courses, including transnational education delivery, through CampusFrance and Austrade.
  2. Continue their cooperation in education, higher education and research, through student grants, postdoctoral programmes, support for early career researchers to establish networks and linkages, and exchanges between teachers and researchers from institutions of higher education, consistent with the Memorandum of Understanding on the Recognition of Qualifications signed on 1 July 1999 between France and Australia.
  3. Maintain high-level scientific and innovation-focused cooperation, including in the biomedical, biotechnology, marine science, land and water management, sustainable infrastructure, climate change, fire management and clean energy spheres.
  4. Step up cultural cooperation, especially in the audiovisual sphere, by encouraging an exchange between Australian and French producers and new partnerships through renegotiation of a cinematographic co-production agreement.
  5. Explore the organisation of a joint Australia-French season in each country, spanning a wide range of subjects including culture, trade and investment, science, technology and tourism, possibly in conjunction with First World War commemorations.

H.  Cooperation on shared memory of the First World War

In order to best commemorate the centenary of the First World War the two Governments will :

  1. Prepare jointly a programme of commemorative events, and foster initiatives and activities relating to their shared memory through relevant institutions and organisations in each country.
  2. Update the Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and France on Cooperation in the Field of the Shared History of the World Wars of the Twentieth Century, signed on 14 November 2003.

I.    Cooperation on environmental and climate issues

The two Governments, mindful of the importance of combating climate change, of sustainable development and of environmental protection, will :

  1. Reassert both countries' commitment to global and regional solutions to the challenges posed by climate change, especially for small island states in the Pacific, including by coordinating their support for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
  2. Step up cooperation in the UN climate change negotiations, including through the Cartagena Dialogue, to take forward progressive action on climate change including through the mandate to negotiate a new agreement applicable to all parties under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  3. Continue exchanges between the Australian and French governments and business communities on carbon market issues, building on discussions between Australia and the EU on linking our carbon trading schemes.
  4. Continue to give a high priority to promotion of sustainable development, both in bilateral cooperation and in major international forums.
  5. Jointly promote the strengthening of the role played by the United Nations in effectively improving global governance of sustainable development.
  6. Continue practical action to encourage sustainable management of the Coral Sea and surrounding areas, in accordance with the Declaration of Intentions between Australia and France, on behalf of New Caledonia, of 10 March 2010.
  7. Continue their bilateral cooperation to counter illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in the sub-Antarctic zone, in particular by continuing joint patrols in the maritime areas adjacent to the French southern and Antarctic territories and Australian Heard Island and McDonald Islands.
  8. Reassert their clear and firm commitment to the Antarctic Treaty and to continuing close collaboration within the Antarctic Treaty System. Reassert support for the environmental protection regime enshrined in the Madrid Protocol and to encourage Antarctic Treaty parties not yet party to the Madrid Protocol to become party to it.

J.   International Development Cooperation

By working in partnership, Australia and France aim to help people living in poverty and assist developing countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals, especially in Africa and the Pacific region. 

They reaffirm their commitment to improve aid effectiveness and strengthen cooperation on international development. They recognise the value of working together to ensure development activities have greater impact, reach and influence.

To these ends they will :

  1. Seek opportunities for responsible Ministers to conduct regular discussions and periodically review the state of the relationship between Australia and France on international development.
  2. Maintain a regular senior-level dialogue on international development to discuss strategic priorities, objectives and practical cooperation on joint programs and coordination of in-country programs.
  3. Exchange views and coordinate positions on development issues under discussion in regional and global forums, including the G20, the OECD DAC, UN development agencies and multilateral development banks.
  4. Support on-going cooperation between Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD) relating to agricultural research in West Africa, on the basis of the Partnership Agreement on Agricultural and Climate Risk Research to Advance Food Security in Africa between AusAID and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) signed in July 2011, and building on the joint initiative of Australia and France within the G20 to help boost agricultural productivity.
  5. Identify opportunities for enhanced cooperation with African partners in sectors related to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
  6. Explore opportunities for enhanced cooperation between Australia and France in the Pacific region, in the spirit of the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination in the Pacific.

K.  Cooperation in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

The two Governments reassert the importance of their cooperation in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, where they both have an interest in promoting peace, stability and prosperity, and support the growing integration of French territories into their regional environment.  To that end, they will :

  1. Step up Franco-Australian cooperation in the Pacific region on issues of interest to both governments, including the promotion of sustainable development, promotion of human rights and democratic governance, economic development, the sustainable management of ocean resources and action in the event of natural disasters (FRANZ arrangement).
  2. Continue exchanges and dialogue on regional issues, including with French territories in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. 
  3. Continue actively to counter illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and to promote responsible and sustainable management of fish stocks, including through cooperation on air and sea surveillance and through regional fisheries management organisations.
  4. Enhance the coordination of their support to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community through high-level dialogue between the Permanent Representatives of Australia and France.
  5. Promote the regional integration of French territories in the Pacific Ocean, in particular through their enhanced status within regional organisations.
  6. Give impetus to the actions taken by the Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), of which France is an important partner and of which Australia will be Vice-Chair in 2012 and Chair in 2013 and 2014 ; in this spirit, support the increased engagement of French territories in the Indian Ocean within regional organisations.

Signed at Paris, on this 19th day of January, 2012

Done in duplicate in English and French.

For the Government of Australia

For the Government of the French Republic