The Report contains the Committee’s review of four treaty actions:
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) General Capital Increase and Selective Capital Increase (Washington DC, 1 October 2018);
International Finance Corporation General (IFC) Capital Increase (Washington DC, 16 April 2020);
Amendments to Appendices I and II to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Gandhinagar, 17–22 February 2020); and
Exchange of letters terminating the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia concerning the Promotion and Protection of Investments (Jakarta, 6 February 2020).
The first two treaty actions concern capital increases for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which are both organisations within the World Bank Group (WBG). While the IBRD supports low-income countries to reduce poverty and extend the benefits of sustainable growth, the IFC provides services to encourage private sector development in developing countries. Both organisations are playing a key role in supporting vulnerable economies during the COVID-19 crisis and their work will remain critical during the recovery phase after the pandemic has passed.
Australia supports the work of these two organisations and recognises the important part they play in maintaining economic prosperity in our region. Australia’s commitments amount to $154 million over four years for the IBRD and $144 million over five years for the IFC.
The amendments to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals add seven additional species of migratory animals to Appendix I of the Convention and five additional species to Appendix II. Appendix I species are endangered and Appendix II species have an unfavourable conservation status.
To avoid unintended measures under its domestic law, Australia will lodge a reservation for two species included in Appendix II, the Smooth Hammerhead Shark and the School Shark. The Committee notes that the clash between the requirements of the Convention and Australia’s domestic law in the form of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 are of long standing and continue to cause difficulties. The Committee has once again suggested that this issue needs to be addressed by the Government.
The Committee recommended the termination of the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia concerning the Promotion and Protection of Investments (IPPA) during its inquiry in 2019 into the Comprehensive Partnership Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Indonesia (IA-CEPA). There was concern that the overlapping investment provisions would cause difficulties for the Australian Government and for investors.
The Committee welcomes the prompt action taken to terminate the IPPA and acknowledges that implementation of this treaty action will provide certainty and improve conditions for investors.
The Committee recommends binding treaty action be taken for each of the treaties under consideration.
The Report also contains the Committee’s review of the following six minor treaty actions:
Agreement between the Government of Australia, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, the Kingdom of Thailand, the United States of America, and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, pursuant to Article XIII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, on the establishment of country-specific quotas in the Republic of Korea’s World Trade Organization Tariff-Rate quota for Rice;
2019 Amendments to Annexes II, VIII and IX of the Basel Convention on the Control of the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal;
2019 Amendments to Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade;
2019 Amendments to Annex I of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation International Convention against Doping in Sport;
Changes to Schedule 1 of the Annex on Chemicals to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction; and
Amendment of 2018 to the Code of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006.