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Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
World Summit on Sustainable Development
Sunday, 1 September2002
Good morning your excellencies, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.
It gives me great pleasure to address you today and share with you the range of partnership initiatives Australia is engaged in.
Being here in Johannesburg at the World Summit offers us a tremendous opportunity. An opportunity to reflect, to share ideas; to exchange views and to learn from one another. And, most importantly, an opportunity to join together as partners on our path toward sustainable development.
Australia is excited about the Type 2 partnership initiatives. These partnerships symbolise what we in Australia value; working together in practical ways to achieve on-the-ground outcomes.
Australia has initiated and is contributing to, a range of Type 2 partnerships. We are delighted to be working in close cooperation with partners from developed and developing countries on a range of issues, including oceans and coastal areas, climate change, health, land management, water, and energy. These initiatives are global, regional and sub-regional in scope.
In addition to government partnerships, these initiatives provide a framework for the marrying of private sector interests, including partners from agricultural, petroleum, tourism, aquaculture and energy industries and nongovernmental organisations including the World Wide Fund for Nature, Wetlands International, Birdlife International, the International Oceans Institute and the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning.
Our intergovernmental agency partners cover a broad range of sectors. They include the United Nations Environment Programme, the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the International Fuel Quality Centre; UNAIDS and the World Bank.
First, allow me to introduce our range of oceans partnerships. We are extremely pleased that oceans, coasts and small island issues have been highlighted in the Plan of Implementation. Australia's ocean initiatives are designed to make a practical difference to the way we use the oceans vast resources - so important to so many for food security and sustainable development.
We continue to stress the need for better conservation and management of the unique biodiversity of the deep oceans - the hydrothermal vents, seamounts, deep ocean trenches and the abyssal plains.
In April 2003, Australia will host a workshop in Cairns, adjacent to Australia's spectacular Great Barrier Reef. This workshop will identify practical measures the international community can take to conserve these remarkable but still largely unknown environments.
In partnership with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, we are also developing a coral reef and fisheries network. The health and sustainability of coral reefs and the fisheries they support is particularly important in our region and particularly important for Small Island Developing States. Coral reef ecosystems are essential for food security and sustainable development but they are under serious threat in many areas.
The network will provide a forum for collaboration and information exchange to link and build capacity among coastal communities, coral reef organisations and related industries.
Oceans policy capacity building for Pacific Island countries is the focus of another initiative. Australia developed the world's first integrated oceans policy for its exclusive economic zone and we will work closely with our neighbours in the Pacific to share our experiences.
It is only through properly integrated oceans management that we can sustain the benefits that oceans can provide. Australia has led the way at the national level. The Pacific Island countries are leading the way at the regional level.
Australia is also working with others in the Asia-Pacific region to conserve habitats for migratory birds.
Several species of ducks, geese and shorebirds fly from the northern hemisphere to Australia each year. This annual migration represents one of the greatest journeys on earth. During their travels, the birds depend on a diversity of ecosystems. We are pleased to announce this initiative to link internationally important sites across country boundaries.
Through the exchange of information and training opportunities, this partnership will be a powerful tool for cooperation to ensure that the chain of sites required by migratory birds along their route is conserved.
Illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing is one of the most serious threats to the oceans productivity. The depletion of fish stocks from IUU fishing has environmental, social and economic ramifications the world over.
Australia was a leader in the development of the FAO">FAO International Plan of Action on IUU fishing and we are looking to host another workshop to accelerate the implementation of relevant agreements.
A particular focus will be given to practical and achievable systems, the potential use of standards and independent documentation, verification and monitoring systems.
I am particularly pleased that we are working in partnership with the world's newest nation, East Timor. Together with Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, we will establish a new forum to focus on the sustainable management of the Arafura-Timor Seas.
Specifically, this new forum will identify cooperative research agendas and arrangements to enhance capacity and better manage the resources and ecosystems of this region.
Together with the World Bank, Australia is working to highlight the importance of water and coastal zone management as a key issue for development and poverty reduction. We are going to establish a Water and Coastal Resources Management Facility that will allow Australian expertise and experience to be made available to developing countries in the context of World Bank activities.
This facility will provide a mechanism for countries in the Asia-Pacific region and Africa to obtain expertise from planners, managers, scientists, engineers and community organisations.
Finally, in relation to oceans issues, we will establish, together with our partners, a system to collect and analyse data for the marine environment.
The objective of this new Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment is to provide accurate information for the users of marine and coastal areas. This information will assist in the provision of safer and more efficient ocean operations, improve safety and risk management and enhance the scientific basis for decision-making.
I will now move to the issue of climate change.
This is an integral issue for Australia, and we are mindful of the pressing need to work with our Pacific Island neighbours to build capacity to identify and respond to specific challenges.
We have two partnerships related to this issue. The first, the South Pacific Vulnerability and Adaptation Initiative, will enable countries in this region to adapt to the future impact of climate change, climate variability and sea-level rise.
Specifically, we aim to increase regional collaboration between relevant multilateral and regional technical agencies and other donors. Activities under this initiative will include vulnerability studies, pilot projects and institutional strengthening.
Our second initiative aims to increase Pacific Island countries' capacity to produce and integrate climate forecast information. Training and software will be provided to staff of national meteorological services in the Pacific, with a focus on interpreting and using climate probability forecasting.
This initiative, again, will improve accurate information for decision-making by Island governments and communities. This means that villagers can plan for upcoming climatic events and decide what the best way is for them to prepare for tides, floods and erosion.
Australia recognises that environmental, economic and social decisions, and the concept of sustainability are tied to human health. We are very pleased to be involved in building capacity in communities in the Asia-Pacific region to address HIV/AIDS.
As we are all aware, this pandemic threatens the health of men, women and children the world over and continues to jeopardise economic development and security of communities and countries. In addition to our ongoing aid program to combat HIV/AIDS, this initiative will contribute to the UN Joint Program on HIV/AIDS through the Asia-Pacific Leadership Forum.
This initiative will focus on Asian and Pacific Island countries, where low prevalence rates mask serious localised epidemics (especially in China and India).
In relation to energy, we are involved with two initiatives that will improve the link between energy supply and security and sustainable development.
Firstly, together with Mexico and our APEC partners in the Energy Working Group, we are pleased to contribute to a regional energy cooperation initiative. This partnership will identify impediments to energy exploration and development and investigate ways to increase the uptake of alternative fuels.
Secondly, we will contribute to the Clean Energy Initiative, announced a few days ago by the United States. Through this partnership, we will look at the most effective ways to reduce air pollution, increase access to modern energy services and investigate appropriate and environmentally friendly technology related to energy supply.
Recognising the fundamental importance of sustainable land management, Australia and South Africa have launched an initiative to deliver landcare projects in South African rural communities. Landcare is a community partnership approach to sustainable agriculture initiated by Australian communities in the 1980s to tackle land degradation.
This initiative will improve long-term food security and protect South Africa's environment both now and in the future.
Furthermore, an international landcare meeting and workshop will be held in Australia in April 2003 to further promote the Landcare model as a community based partnership approach to sustainable agriculture and rural development.
Australia has joined a global effort to clear the air in developing countries with a partnership to address urban air pollution by improving fuel quality.
The Global Partnership for Cleaner Fuels for Cleaner Air will focus on phasing out lead in gasoline, reducing sulfur in diesel and gasoline, and introducing vehicle and emission control technologies to reduce emissions. We are working with other key partners, including the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the International Fuel Quality Centre, automobile associations from Europe and Japan, and organisations to reduce the impact of vehicular emissions on human health.
New fuel standards introduced in Australia will have a major impact on reducing the amount of toxic pollutants in vehicle emissions over the next 20 years and we look forward to sharing our experiences with our partners and the wider community.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to announce Australia's involvement with Type 2 partnerships. We would be pleased to include further partners in our initiatives and I encourage you to contact my officials listed on the summary sheet if you are interested.
I am delighted to share with you our objectives for practical outcomes following the World Summit. I am confident that together we can indeed make a difference and improve our quality of life and the health of ecosystems immediately and in the longer-term.
Ten years on from Johannesburg, may we look back and reflect on our collective achievements. These partnerships will certainly increase capacity and improve our knowledge base necessary to achieve sustainable development.
Thank you very much.