Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Federal Minister for Trade
18 May 2004
The Governments of the United States of America and Australia signed in Washington
today an historic Joint Statement on Environmental Cooperation.
The Joint Statement acknowledges the two countries' many shared environmental
priorities and challenges, including improving air and water quality, protecting
their natural resources and biodiversity, better understanding climate change,
mitigating the effect of chemicals on the environment, and protecting the marine
The Statement strengthens the Governments' commitments to knowledge sharing
and cooperation in addressing environmental issues. It also expresses the desire
of the United States and Australia to continue cooperative efforts and to strengthen
their ties in regional and international forums in which environmental issues
are considered, including the United Nations and WTO.
Signing on behalf of the Australian Government, Trade Minister Mark Vaile
said the Statement reflected deep levels of cooperation between Australia and
the United States.
"The relationship between the United States and Australia is as close as it's
ever been. At a time when we are embarking on a ground-breaking Free Trade
Agreement that will benefit current and future generations of both countries
enormously, it is appropriate to formalise our strong cooperation towards sustaining
and protecting our environment," Mr Vaile said.
"Our increased cooperation better equips our two countries to develop new
technologies and to implement world-leading approaches to addressing environmental
issues — both now and in the future," he said.
Mr Vaile and US Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky
signed the Statement during Mr Vaile's visit to sign the Australia-United States
Free Trade Agreement. While the Joint Statement is not a part of the legal text
of the Agreement, it does formalise the good work that Australia and the United
States already do together through the United Nations, international conventions,
and with other countries.
United States-Australia Joint Statement on Environmental Cooperation
- The Government of the United States of America and the Government
of Australia recognize that they share common concerns and similar responsibilities
for protecting and conserving the environment in their respective jurisdictions,
and have a common interest in advancing global environmental improvement
and protection. The Governments further note that they face similar environmental
challenges such as expanding urban populations, concentrated industrial
activity, and sustainable use of natural resources.
- The United States and Australia have a long and productive history
of cooperation on environmental issues. The Governments recognize the important
environmental work that they have accomplished bilaterally, including
through the U.S.-Australia Climate Action Partnership and in areas such
as botanic gardens, endangered and migratory species,
and oceanographic research and management, and whale and ozone protection.
The Governments look forward to continued cooperation in these areas
and to future bilateral environmental activities in other areas, including
national parks, wetlands, oceans management, conservation of Antarctic
and sub-Antarctic ecosystems, biodiversity conservation, invasive species and
natural heritage management.
- The United States and Australia share common goals in advancing science
and technology initiatives to address environmental challenges. These
initiatives include improving productive and sustainable natural resource
use and global observation, developing cleaner, renewable and more efficient
energy, and advancing agricultural technologies, including biotechnology.
The United States and Australia are close partners in the Carbon Sequestration
Leadership Forum, the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy,
and the Ad Hoc Group on Earth Observations, and they look forward
to the completion of a bilateral agreement
on science and technology cooperation.
- The Governments also recognize the importance of multilateral environmental
activities and acknowledge the close cooperation between the two countries
in preparing for and participating in international environmental meetings
and conferences on topics including protection, conservation or management
of national parks and world heritage sites, endangered
and migratory species, Antarctica, ocean affairs, marine living resources,
chemicals and hazardous wastes, ozone protection, global climate change,
forests, coral reefs, biological diversity and biosafety. The Governments
further note the close cooperation between the two countries in environment
related meetings of the United Nations agencies and
the WTO. The United States and Australia intend to continue these cooperative
efforts and desire to further strengthen their ties in these and other
international forums in
which environmental issues are considered.
- The Governments also acknowledge their successful environmental cooperation
in the Asia Pacific region, including as members of the South Pacific
Regional Environmental Program, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum
and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. The Governments recognize
the importance of these regional efforts and intend to continue to pursue
joint efforts to build capacity in the region for improved
environmental stewardship and protection. Such future regional work may
include developing or supporting further WSSD Type II initiatives in the
Asia Pacific region.
- To further advance the collaboration and cooperation between the United
States and Australia, the Governments intend to consult
regularly to review ongoing cooperative activities, identify priority
areas for potential future cooperative activities, and to the extent
appropriate, review other matters related to this statement. In particular,
the Governments intend to consider bilateral collaborative efforts to
assist third countries build capacity in the areas described in Paragraphs
2, 3, 4 and 5 above.
- The Governments believe that participation of the public , and
cooperation between governments and the community, are important means
of enhancing environment stewardship , protection
and conservation and sustaining natural resource management . The
United States and Australia will continue to promote public participation,
including soliciting and taking into account, as appropriate views
of the public, including stakeholders,
with respect to ongoing and future cooperative activities between the
|For the Government of the
United States of America:
|For the Government of
Under Secretary for Global Affairs
|The Hon. Mark Vaile , MP
Minister for Trade
18 May 2004