- Today, the Prime Minister of Australia and the President of the French Republic met in Paris to reaffirm their commitment to building a closer and stronger bilateral relationship based on mutual trust and respect.
- Australia and France share enduring bonds forged through two World Wars. Thousands of Australian and French soldiers fought side by side to defend shared values of liberty, democracy, rule of law and protection of human rights. These values are still at the core of our societies and underpin our international engagement.
- Australia and France are nations of both the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. As neighbours, we share a long history of cooperation in the region, including French territories such as New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna and Réunion Island. We share a vision for a free, open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific, enabled through dialogue and joint initiatives with regional partners. Australia warmly welcomes France’s cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and its strategy for further engaging the region as well as the European Union’s Indo-Pacific Strategy and its commitment to long-term investment in the region.
- To take the bilateral relationship forward, we agree to establish a new agenda for cooperation based on three pillars: defence and security; resilience and climate action; and education and culture.
DEFENCE AND SECURITY
- We condemn Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and underline our solidarity with the government and people of Ukraine. We agree to continue to stand together to defend the rules based order and the integrity of international law, which are fundamental to our shared security and prosperity, both in Europe and the Indo-Pacific. Given the consequences of this aggression on food security, Australia will support the French-led FARM (Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission) initiative, including through continued funding for the Agriculture Market Information System, which plays a key role in providing timely information on the supply of the main food commodities.
- Australia and France will shape a new defence relationship and strengthen our collaboration and exchange on shared security interests, including through operational engagement and intelligence sharing. We are determined to be active in regional fora and to enhance security cooperation with Pacific countries, in particular on maritime surveillance with regional agencies, and in the Indian Ocean, including in partnership with India. We will support each other’s deployments and conduct more joint maritime activities in support of the rules-based global order. We will also explore initiatives to deepen and facilitate better reciprocal access to our defence facilities. This will build on our long-established mutual logistical support arrangements.
- Australia and France will explore initiatives to increase defence industry cooperation to support and deliver capabilities to our respective defence forces. We will explore cooperation on strategic space issues, such as space domain awareness, to promote a safe, stable and secure space domain, and ensure freedom of access to, and action in, space.
- Australia and France will enhance cooperation on countering terrorism and violent extremism. In this respect France welcomes Australia’s deepening engagement with the Franco Ivorian led International Counter Terrorism Academy in Côte d’Ivoire. We will also explore new areas of cooperation to strengthen cyber, critical technology and critical infrastructure resilience.
RESILIENCE AND CLIMATE ACTION
- France welcomes Australia’s new commitment to ambitious action on climate change, which is a global challenge and the single greatest threat to the peoples of the Pacific. This includes Australia’s strengthened 2030 target in its enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, Australia’s net zero by 2050 target and the Government’s intent to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
- France also welcomes Australia’s commitment to advance nature-based solutions to address climate change and protect biodiversity in the Indo-Pacific, and in particular its leadership through the International Partnership for Blue Carbon and commitment to contribute an additional A$2 million to the regional Kiwa Initiative on biodiversity and climate change.
- We commit to exploring opportunities to work together more closely to further support a just and clean energy transition and adaptation in both countries, through the mobilisation of private sector finance and investment, including for nature-based solutions, low emissions technology and clean infrastructure. Expertise and investment from our companies is welcome to further advance renewable energy deployment that will be required to achieve our shared climate goals. We will conduct further discussions on critical minerals, clean energy and hydrogen, including supporting the ambitions of Pacific Island neighbours. We will also foster private sector partnerships in these sectors, within the framework of the Trade and Investment Dialogue.
- We express our support to the ongoing negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the European Union as an opportunity to boost mutual trade and further strengthen the relationship between both partners. Given our mutual interest in enhancing further the contribution of trade agreements to sustainable development, it should include ambitious commitments on sustainable development and support action to combat climate change, protect the environment and labour rights.
- We will deepen cooperation on a range of civilian and defence issues of common interest, including through the FRANZ (France-Australia-New Zealand) arrangement to deliver coordinated humanitarian assistance to support the Pacific to respond to disasters. Enhanced dialogue will foster new prospects for economic and scientific cooperation in sectors such as maritime transport, space, artificial intelligence and quantum.
- Australia and France stress the urgency of adopting a new global biodiversity framework in 2022 and its timely implementation for halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030. We call for a progressive and transformative post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework with ambitious goals and targets and strengthened implementation, monitoring and review. We share the same ambition for protecting our biodiversity, and commit to the objective of 30% global land and sea protection under the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, and the Global Ocean Alliance.
- We will enhance cooperation on sustainable oceans management, including coral reefs and combatting marine plastics pollution. We support the development of an ambitious United Nations treaty on plastic pollution and the Blue Carbon Global Coalition. We are also committed to seeking conclusion of a new United Nations oceans treaty in 2022 that protects and conserves marine biodiversity in the high seas. France supports Australia’s interest in hosting a future UNFCCC Conference of the Parties meeting and welcomes its intention to work and consult closely with Pacific Island countries to explore options for jointly co-hosting this event.
- We will expand and strengthen our long-standing logistical and scientific collaboration in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, including in the protection and management of the environment. We will seek to ensure a strong and effective Antarctic Treaty system; to work closely together on marine ecosystem protection and combating illegal fishing; and deepen dialogue on the joint use of research facilities and transportation means.
EDUCATION AND CULTURE
- We are determined to build upon our long-standing cultural ties, as reflected in the 1978 Australia-France Cultural Agreement. We agree to enhance cultural relations and explore mechanisms to further support cultural and creative initiatives, exhibitions, and artists in residence exchanges, with an Indo-Pacific dimension.
- Australia and France strongly value cultural heritage. In this regard, we will continue to work together to determine solutions to enable the return of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestors held in French institutions.
- We will enhance people to people dialogue, especially for our youth. We will bolster education and higher education cooperation, including for students from the Indo-Pacific region. We will also promote the uptake of the Australian International Section of the baccalaureate, already taught in New Caledonia, in a greater number of French schools as well as the teaching of French in Australian schools.
- We will pursue cooperation and closer linkages in the context of our respective hosting of major global sporting events, including the 2023 and 2027 Rugby World Cups, and the Paris 2024 and Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- The Prime Minister and President instruct their officials to develop a detailed roadmap based on these three pillars, to be delivered before the end of 2022.