The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated geo-political changes previously forecast as taking years to unfold, bringing forward debates about Australia’s foreign policy options and opportunities in a challenging strategic environment. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated that Australia must prepare for a post COVID-19 world “that is poorer, that is more dangerous, and that is more disorderly” and has highlighted the importance of “using all the elements of statecraft to shape the world that we want to see”.
This research program proceeds from the premise that siloed approaches and a lack of integration of development, diplomacy and defence perspectives impedes the effectiveness of Australian foreign policy in an era of change, crisis and disruption.
This was a key finding of the inaugural AP4D forum, held at the Australian National University in November 2019. At this meeting, a group of Australia’s foremost development, diplomacy and defence experts called for “new ways [to] be examined by our fields and by the Australian Government to generate further understanding between fields, find complementary ways of working and achieve greater coherence and ultimately, a more effective and strategic Australian foreign policy.”
The sticking point remains, however, that it is not clear what using “all elements of statecraft” means in practice. Moreover, decision makers are busier, under more pressure and juggling more priorities than ever.
This 12-month program is designed to tackle these constraints by demonstrating the value of an integrated approach to the strategic challenges Australia faces in two key regions: Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
The program’s goal is to generate more effective approaches to advancing Australia’s influence in Southeast Asia and the Pacific through:
Outputs will include dialogues, options papers, roundtables, briefings and publications.
COLLABORATE to determine key operational and policy impediments to Australia's influence in Southeast Asia
CONNECT the development, diplomacy and defence communities to look at policy options in priority areas
CREATE a suite of strategies, policies and tools to enhance Australia’s relationships in Southeast Asia and the Pacific