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Berlin-Canberra Declaration of Intent on a Strategic Partnership

Berlin-Canberra Declaration of Intent on a Strategic Partnership

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations and in accordance with the announcement by the German and Australian Foreign Ministers in Berlin on 25 January 2012, Australia and the Federal Republic of Germany declare their desire to pursue a "Strategic Partnership" aimed at strengthening and deepening Australian-German bilateral cooperation and their multilateral partnerships.

Australia and Germany are committed to an active foreign policy, which reflects their shared values and many common interests, and intend to strengthen cooperation in the priority areas defined in, but not limited by, the Berlin-Canberra Declaration.

Australia and Germany will realise jointly approved projects and identify further projects, particularly in the areas of (I.) strategic policy dialogue, security and defence cooperation, (II.) economic relations, trade and investment, (III.) energy and resources, climate change and clean technology, (IV.) international development cooperation, (V.) education, vocational training, science, innovation and research, (VI.) culture, media and people-to-people links, and (VII.) social and labour policy.

I. Strategic policy dialogue, security and defence cooperation

1. Australia and Germany see great value in enhancing strategic dialogue on global political, security and defence issues. They will continue to intensify bilateral contact at senior political levels. Foreign ministers will aim to meet at least annually in respective capitals or in the margins of international meetings. Australia and Germany will seek to strengthen government-to-government institutional linkages and encourage regular consultations between senior officials from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the German Federal Foreign Office, other government agencies and senior office holders.

2. In order to give strategic direction to and coordinate action in the Berlin-Canberra Declaration, Australia and Germany will establish a "Strategic Steering Committee (SSC)" under the joint chairmanship of high ranking senior officials of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the German Federal Foreign Office. The SSC will aim to meet at least annually. Representatives and experts from other government agencies may be involved in the work of the SSC as required.

3. The German Federal Foreign Office and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in consultation with other government agencies, will determine specific bilateral and multilateral partnership activities, which will be outlined in an "Annex" (hereafter the Annex) attached to the Berlin-Canberra Declaration. The Annex will be reviewed annually by the SSC, without prejudice to existing dialogues and established instruments of line-ministries on either side.

4. Australia and Germany underline the importance of close bilateral cooperation and dialogue on key regional issues, including in the Asia-Pacific region, Middle East, North Africa, Europe and its neighbourhood, and will pay particular attention to these regions in their strategic dialogues.

5. As long-standing and active members of the United Nations with strong credentials in peacekeeping and other forms of multilateral engagement, Australia and Germany will continue to work together to advance the objectives of the United Nations and reform the United Nations system. They will strengthen their coordination and cooperation on UN and global issues in capitals and in key UN forums.

6. Australia and Germany will continue to support partnership between NATO and Australia, based on shared values as well as on similar objectives and strategies of NATO's 2010 Strategic Concept and Australia's current Defence White Paper.

7. In furtherance of their long and distinguished record of promoting global arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, Australia and Germany will strengthen their efforts to combat the threat of nuclear proliferation, through established global forums, as well as initiatives such as the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI). Both countries will continue to actively advocate the universal adoption and implementation of major disarmament and non-proliferation treaties, including those prohibiting weapons of mass destruction and inhumane conventional weapons. Both countries will continue to promote arms control and confidence-building measures, humanitarian arms control and initiatives to combat illicit small arms/light weapons activities.

8. Australia and Germany remain committed to supporting a secure and stable Afghanistan at the centre of a secure and thriving region; an Afghanistan in which international terrorism does not again find sanctuary and that can assume its rightful place among sovereign nations. In that spirit, both countries will continue to work together and with the Afghan government in a partnership based on firm mutual commitments to support effective and sustainable Afghan National Security Forces, and to reinforce and coordinate their efforts in Afghanistan during the Transformation Decade from 2015 to 2024.

9. Australia and Germany will work to deepen their defence dialogue and cooperation through maintaining a program of regular consultations and visits at the political, civilian and military levels.

10. Australia and Germany will continue to support international counter-terrorism efforts, including through the relevant UN bodies and agencies as well as the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF), and will encourage exchange of further information on their threat assessments and counter-terrorism activities. Australia and Germany will continue to work together in joint cooperative activities in South-East Asia and South Asia.

11. Australia and Germany underline the importance of the Internet's security, its freedom and its potential for development, and share the view that there should be an appropriate balance between cyber security and access to information, freedom of expression and the protection of privacy. With a view to developing norms of state behaviour and confidence and security building measures for cyberspace, they will work closely together in international forums, particularly in the UN Group of Governmental Experts.

12. Australia and Germany will continue to encourage bilateral parliamentary exchanges and links between non-government political foundations and foreign and security policy think tanks and institutions.

13. Australia and Germany will work towards a successful conclusion of an Australia-EU Framework Agreement to give further impetus to the broad-ranging cooperation between Australia and the EU on global challenges.

14. Recognising the commitment of both countries to ensuring the integrity of their borders and well-managed migration and visa programs, both countries intend to share information with each other in respect of operations and persons that are (or where there are reasonable grounds to believe could be) in violation of the respective immigration laws of either country. Whether information can be released will be subject to the respective laws and international obligations of the country which has received the request.

II. Economic relations, trade, investment

15. Australia and Germany share open and liberal economies, which are closely linked to the global economy. Australia and Germany acknowledge the role of trade in increasing national prosperity, and the importance of trade liberalisation of all sectors. Both countries will continue to promote a rules-based international trading system, which provides the foundation for a healthy and growing global economy. They are committed to deepening bilateral trade and investment linkages and creating the best possible environment for business to flourish.

16. Australia and Germany will enhance their cooperation and consultation within the G20, as the world's pre-eminent forum for global economic cooperation and decision-making. Both countries see great value in working through the G20 to advance issues of fundamental importance, including the health of the global economy, financial regulation, promoting the positive links between economic growth, trade, jobs and development; and resisting trade and investment protectionism.

17. Both countries support strongly the World Trade Organisation's role in promoting trade liberalisation and anti-protectionism.

18. Both countries will look to hold more regular economic, trade and investment consultations at the senior officials-level.

III. Energy and resources, climate change and clean technology

19. Both Australia and Germany play an active role in international climate change negotiations, particularly through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Cartagena Dialogue towards a global agreement containing binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They share the view that the mandate to negotiate a new international climate change agreement decided in Durban in 2011 has given these efforts renewed momentum, purpose and direction.

20. Both countries have committed to significant emission reductions at the national level, including through carbon pricing, and share the vision of a transformation towards a low carbon future that goes hand in hand with building an environmentally sustainable, innovative and highly competitive economy, in an international environment marked by cooperation, transparency and open markets.

21. In the field of climate, energy and resources policy, Australia and Germany will continue to facilitate connections between German business and Australian business, particularly in low-carbon technology and carbon markets, raw materials and energy sectors, as well as between research and other institutions involved in clean technology development and raw materials recycling and substitution, as set out in their "Joint Declaration on Energy and Resources Cooperation" signed in Canberra on 1 June 2011.

22. Australia and Germany will work cooperatively to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation activities in their regions and exchange information on their respective strategies and plans to adapt to climate change, taking into account activities in different sectors.

IV. International development cooperation

23. The Australian-German development partnership is underpinned by the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Berlin on 9 February 2007 between the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Australia and Germany reaffirm their commitment to strengthen their development partnership, including through regular engagement at ministerial, senior official and working levels and annual reviews by AusAID and BMZ of their "Progressive Workplan" on development cooperation. Australia and Germany will continue to work towards maximising the advantages of donor cooperation and influencing the international donor community's approach to shared development priorities.

24. Australia and Germany will continue to build on their strong program of collaboration and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

V. Education, science, research and innovation

25. Both countries commend and remain firmly committed to cooperation within the framework of the "Schools: Partners for the Future", PASCH initiative, which promotes, inter alia, study of the German language in Australia. Australia and Germany both recognise the German International School Sydney and the German School Melbourne, as important places of educational and cultural encounter between Australians, Germans and students of other nationalities.

26. Both countries will continue to encourage the study of each others' language and literature, including through exchange programs with the Educational Exchange Service (Pädagogischer Austauschdienst of the Kultusministerkonferenz, PAD), the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation (AvH).

27. Australia and Germany will continue to promote the objectives of the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, done at Canberra on 24 August 1976, including by enhancing collaboration and linkages for innovation between business, science and research, particularly in marine sciences, manufacturing, climate change and renewable energies.

28. Australia and Germany acknowledge the importance of the link between business and science and wish to further strengthen those connections.

29. Australia and Germany will continue to encourage collaboration on renewable energy research and technology, taking into account existing bilateral MOUs.

30. Australia and Germany will continue to exchange ideas and promote best practice with respect to each other's national science, innovation and research strategies and university systems.

31. Australia and Germany will work to increase the visibility of their bilateral scientific excellence and cooperation, including through embassy-hosted "Science Circles".

VI. Culture, media and people-to-people links

32. Australia and Germany will continue to promote the unique cultural heritage and artistic excellence of each other, within the framework of the Agreement between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of Australia on Cultural Cooperation, done at Dresden on 7 November 1977. Both countries will encourage collaboration and exchange between their respective cultural institutions.

33. Both countries welcome initiatives which support greater engagement under the German-Australian Films Co-production Agreement, done at Canberra on 17 January 2001 ("Films Co-production Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany").

34. Australia and Germany strongly support work of their respective cultural institutes and programs, including the Goethe Institutes in Australia and Australian Studies programs at German universities. Both countries will engage as necessary on issues related to the operations of these institutes.

35. Both countries will continue to promote contact and dialogue between representatives of the German and Australian media, including through DFAT's International Media Visitors (IMV) program and German government initiatives.

36. Australia and Germany will consider ways to further encourage the use of work and holiday and student visa programs by young people via awareness raising through their respective websites and other means.

37. Australia and Germany will continue to collaborate on the repatriation of Australian Indigenous human remains held by institutions in Germany.

VII. Social and labour policy

38. Australia and Germany face many similar social, demographic and economic challenges. The German and Australian governments will, as appropriate, look to share their experiences and best practice in social and labour policy.

Signed at Berlin on 28 January 2013 in duplicate, each copy in the English and German languages.

Berlin-Canberra Declaration of Intent on a Strategic Partnership: Annex




Steering Committee

Hold first meeting of the Strategic Steering Committee (SSC) as part of next senior officials consultations

Strategic political dialogue, security policy and defence cooperation

Political dialogue

Conduct foreign minister consultations on a regular basis

Conduct senior officials consultations, led by respective foreign ministries, on a regular basis

  • officials to develop options for strengthening the bilateral relationship and to discuss priority strategic policy issues, which will be reviewed regularly
  • continue to encourage bilateral parliamentary exchanges

Strategic dialogue

Hold security talks, with participation of relevant senior officials, on a regular basis, focussing on international security issues

Enhance dialogue on strategic issues in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, North Africa, Europe and its neighbourhood

Support partnership between Australia and NATO

Consider joint initiatives in the ASEAN Regional Forum and Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) frameworks

Conduct bilateral consultations on UN policy affairs at director-level and at UN missions in New York and Geneva

Use international meetings and G20 meetings to also hold bilateral discussions on relevant aspects of the G20 agenda

Conduct more regular/structured exchanges between policy planning units, with a particular emphasis on Asia-Pacific strategic developments


Hold bilateral meetings in the margins of Global Counter-Terrorism Forum meetings

Enhance dialogue on assessments of the threat of terrorism in South-East Asia

Non-proliferation and disarmament

Explore joint capacity-building workshops on arms control and disarmament in South-East Asia

Cyber security

Explore opportunities for bilateral dialogue on international cyberspace policy issues, with particular focus on international cyber security, through respective memberships of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security

Defence cooperation

Foster dialogue on strategic issues of mutual interest through military-military talks to focus on developments in the Asia-Pacific and other regions as well as on bilateral military issues

Cooperate on current and future defence materiel programmes through the established channels

Continue current exchanges of scientific and operational information

Diplomatic exchange and training

Continue participation of DFAT officers in German diplomatic training programmes

Discuss the exchange of diplomats between the foreign ministries in Berlin and Canberra

Visa/Immigration cooperation

Share information to ensure the integrity of each country's respective immigration laws

Economic relations, trade and investment

Economic and trade consultations

Conduct regular, if possible annual, consultations on bilateral, regional and global economic, trade and investment issues, EU trade and investment developments, and developments in the global economy

Continue to work towards concluding the negotiations on the revision of the 1972 bilateral double taxation agreement


Both sides commit to further efforts to advance the WTO trade liberalisation agenda and conclude the Doha Round. Both sides will also work closely together on new approaches to advancing global trade reform

Business and industry exchange

Encourage strengthened links between peak industry/business groups with an interest in advancing bilateral trade and investment, including the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Encourage industry/private sector involvement in key trade fairs and events, including CEBIT, Intersolar and the Frankfurt Book Fair

Raise awareness of respective trade and investment opportunities within each market

Encourage the establishment of internship programs for university graduates

Energy and resources, climate change and clean technology

Joint Declaration on Raw Materials and Energy

Continue to encourage cooperation, dialogue and joint activities between relevant government agencies, industry and private sector groups and researchers

Work together to encourage countries to support or implement the principles of the "Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative"

Promote collaboration in resources and energy field, including by Australian and German companies or experts in third markets

Renewable energy and clean technology

Support growing R&D cooperation in the field of clean energy and energy efficiency, including by linking Australian and German companies and researchers at events in either country or third countries

Identify areas for exchange and information sharing (such as energy efficiency guidelines, renewable energies policies, sustainability certification in agriculture), as both countries proceed towards a low carbon future

Review and upgrade, as appropriate, channels for disseminating information on changes in government support for clean energy, with a view to unlock further potential with regard to Australian and German companies with R&D capacity that are considering expanding into new markets

Climate change

Identify opportunities to jointly deliver climate finance in developing countries, through bilateral as well as multilateral channels

Pursue closer coordination in UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations, in particular through the Cartagena Dialogue

Conduct regular policy exchanges on climate change policy and economic transformation strategies

Identify opportunities for joint outreach/activities on the security implications of climate change, possibly a joint workshop for an Asia-Pacific regional organisation (such as ASEM) or with regional governments

Reaffirm their clear and firm commitment to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and work together with others to help it achieve its mandate as "the global voice for renewable energy"

Identify opportunities for enhanced cooperation in the field of international and domestic carbon markets – including through the exchange of information, ideas and experience of building up an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)

Work together towards integration of the global carbon market, including through future linking of systems and further development of our cooperation in the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) and other forums, including the World Bank hosted Partnership for Market Readiness

Cooperation in international development

Implementation of the 2007 MOU

AusAID and BMZ to continue to implement the "Progressive Workplan", including:

  • climate change adaptation and mitigation policy engagement and joint activities in the Mekong region and the Pacific
  • improving water and sanitation services and transboundary water management in southern Africa
  • increasing the acuity and accessibility of education in Pakistan and the Philippines
  • delivering youth training and employment assistance in Egypt
  • facilitating access to health services for poor people in Cambodia
  • improving local governance through capacity building in Afghanistan
  • improving social services in Paraguay
  • prevention of youth violence in Central America
  • cooperation within the global initiative "Energizing Development" (EnDev)
  • increased policy engagement on global development issues of shared priority

Culture, media and people-to-people exchange

Ludwig Leichhardt commemoration

Mark the 200th anniversary of the birthday of Ludwig Leichhardt in 2013, including through joint scientific initiatives, where possible

Media exchange

Promote media exchanges through government and private sector mechanisms

People-to-people links

Give active consideration to avenues for promoting people-to-people links

Consider the establishment of mechanisms for facilitating visa and entry permits under the 'Agreement on Cultural Cooperation'

Education, science, research and innovation

Scholarship programs

Support and encourage appropriate collaboration and links between the tertiary education and training institutions

Continue to provide scholarship support for students to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia, and for Australians to undertake study, research and professional development overseas, through its Endeavour Awards program

Scientific collaboration

Promote CSIRO and Fraunhofer linkages to the broader public, including in relation to manufacturing innovation and lessons to be learned in the manufacturing industry

Carry out the Australia-Germany Joint Science and Technology Committee meeting in 2012 and facilitate associated follow-up activities

Promote awareness of successful Australian and German scientific collaboration/initiatives


Encourage scientific and commercial linkages associated with the SKA telescope project

Science Circles

Hold science circles on a regular basis to promote scientific excellence and bilateral collaboration in priority areas to be determined between respective embassies

Social and labour policy

Encourage discussions between respective line agencies, think tanks and other stakeholders on social and labour issues confronting both countries, including: migration; ageing populations; skills shortages; implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The initiated dialogue regarding best practices for introducing and implementing approaches to individualised care and support will be continued

Last Updated: 29 January 2013
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