Chapter 9

Chapter 9

Conclusion—Partnerships for Security

9.1        In this volume, the committee underlined the findings in Volume I which stressed the importance of building the self sufficiency and resilience of Pacific island states so that they are able to take advantage of trade opportunities and deliver essential services. It stressed the need to develop more robust policing and regulatory capacities to deal with breakdowns in law and order and demonstrated the importance of building regional cooperation to deal with major disturbances. The committee also identified the need to develop communities that are better able to withstand the adverse effects of natural disasters and climate change. In so doing, the committee has reemphasised the findings of its report into peacekeeping that it is critical that Pacific island states, and donor partners alike, understand that the most important task is to address the root causes of conflict.

9.2        Both volumes of the report have made clear that the Pacific Partnerships for Development (PPDs) present a significant opportunity for Australia to contribute to improving the economic and security status of Pacific island states. The committee has already stressed the need to establish links between the separate priorities in PPDs. This should extend to the security sector where there are many opportunities to better integrate security priorities into the PPDs.

9.3        While the PPDs may have a strategy regarding the reform of policing and law and the justice sector, few of the immediate outcome priorities are focused on traditional security concerns. The only PPD that directly addresses justice sector development is that signed with Samoa. The agreement addresses human resource constraints among government legal services and supports a proposed Law Reform Commission in order to improve Samoa's 'rule of law score in World Bank Governance Indicators'.[1] The law and order and justice sector is also addressed in the PPD with Nauru but as an enabling outcome to assist achieve development outcomes. The Australia–Nauru PPD notes that the absence of a law and justice sector strategy constrains Australia's ability to provide assistance to Nauru. However, it also notes that the AFP and the Attorney-General's Department are expected to lead development in this sector under their existing bilateral and regional programs.[2] The PPDs with Vanuatu and PNG note policing and law and justice sector reform as potential future priority outcomes.[3]

9.4        The committee notes that at the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Cairns, in August 2009, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced bilateral Partnerships for Security with Pacific Island countries. The Forum Communiqué states:

Leaders welcomed Australia's initiative to develop, in close consultation with Pacific Island countries, bilateral Partnerships for Security with Pacific Island countries as a complement to Australia's successful bilateral Partnerships for Development. They agreed that such Security Partnerships could streamline, consolidate and strengthen existing bilateral security cooperation between Australia and Pacific Island countries. They underlined that negotiation of the proposed partnerships would be based on mutual agreement, reflect the needs and priorities of each partner and take account of the capacity and resources of both parties.[4]

9.5        Beyond this statement, the committee has received little evidence about the character of these Security Partnerships. When Defence was asked about the nature of these partnerships at the recent Supplementary Estimates hearings, in October 2009, it was limited in the amount of detail it could provide.[5]

9.6        While these Partnerships for Security are still in their initial or developmental stages, the committee considers that they represent a significant opportunity to address some of the challenges outlined in this volume. The committee therefore recommends that when developing the partnerships the government consider the concerns raised by the committee throughout this report.

Recommendation 10

9.7        The committee recommends that in developing its Pacific Partnerships for Development and Partnerships for Security, the Australian Government ensure that the link between development and security is strong. Moreover, it recommends that close attention be given to developing Partnerships for Security which:

9.8        Recognition of the following issues is essential to the process of developing the Partnerships for Security.

Coordinating Australia's security-related initiatives through:

Working with bilateral partners through:

Complementing the work of regional organisations and international donors through:


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