As the world grapples with a new era of global politics, a clearly articulated strategy for Australia’s international engagement is vital to support the world’s poorest communities and deliver peace and stability to our region.
In its submission to the Australian Government’s foreign policy white paper, CARE Australia reinforced the need for Australia to bolster its engagement in the world and not retreat.
CARE Australia Chief Executive Sally Moyle said addressing poverty and inequality was essential to advancing Australia’s interests.
“As a middle power in a region that will be affected directly by the outcomes of changing relations between the world’s major powers, such as the USA and China, it is vital Australia establish a set of principles to guide engagement in what is re-emerging as a multipolar world,” Ms Moyle said.
“Australia is largely surrounded by emerging economies and developing nations. We will thrive or fail depending on the ability to lift developing nations in our region out of poverty.”
Ms Moyle said the White Paper was an opportunity for Australia to declare what it stood for.
“We are a nation known for its generosity and the spirit of the fair go. The strategy defining our international engagement must reflect that. It is the right thing to do, but it is also in our interests.”
Specifically, CARE is calling for the White Paper to:
- Articulate a set of values to guide Australia through the swiftly flowing currents of international relations.
- Commit Australia to advancing gender equality at a global level.
- Conduct gender analyses to inform all international engagements — including, for example, in developing aid and investment plans, negotiating trade deals, and engaging in military operations or training exercises.
- Commit to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals with strong targets of our own to contribute to this agenda, and to support the countries of the Indo-Pacific region.
- Explicitly champion the role of civil society organisations.
Ms Moyle said Australia, first and foremost, needed to maintain a strong focus on being a good global citizen.
“In these turbulent times, an approach based on being a good global citizen will help Australia navigate a strong and coherent course.”
CARE Australia is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities. www.care.org.au
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