Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding
Australia has been integrally involved in global efforts to build and restore peace for more than 60 years. As a capable and dependable partner, Australian expertise is sought after in developing the frameworks for promoting human rights, protecting the most vulnerable and preventing a return to conflict.
UN Peacebuilding Commission
Australia’s long-term commitment to peacebuilding efforts through the UN system has most recently been demonstrated by our active engagement as a member of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission in 2010. Australia contributes to the UN Peacebuilding Fund and supports peacebuilding initiatives in Africa identified as priorities by the UN Peacebuilding Commission. In Burundi for example, our assistance includes support for the conduct of free and fair elections in 2010. We have also contributed to peacebuilding priorities identified by Sierra Leone in its agriculture sector.
Children and Armed Conflict
As a member of the Group of Friends on Children and Armed Conflict, Australia supports the Secretary-General’s recommendation that the issue be included in the mandates of all relevant Security Council sanctions committees. We support stronger and more effective measures to protect children from harm and exploitation during armed conflict, including rehabilitation efforts. We continue to support UN efforts to advocate for the release of child soldiers and to educate former child soldiers, including UNICEF’s work to protect children in conflict zones.
Responsibility to Protect
Australia was a leading advocate for the international adoption of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine. R2P is an expression of the irrevocable collective commitment to ensure that never again will the world be confronted with the horrors of genocide and other mass atrocities. We are a member of the Friends of R2P grouping at the United Nations and we support projects and research in support of R2P.
We support strengthening the office of the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, to enable it to provide a broader early warning and assessment role in relation to mass atrocity crimes.
Protection of Civilians
Australia has taken a leading role in international initiatives on the protection of civilians in peacekeeping operations.
Australia is working with the African Union and the United Nations Secretariat to strengthen protection of civilian capabilities in peace operations. The protection of civilians was the subject of a symposium co-hosted by Australia and the African Union in Ethiopia and at the third International Forum for the Challenges of Peace Operations held in Australia.
Australia's peacekeeping history
Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament
Australia has a long and distinguished record of promoting global disarmament and nonproliferation. Australia is party to and fully implements all major disarmament treaties, including those prohibiting weapons of mass destruction and inhumane conventional weapons. Our work with regional partners and civil society to reduce the supply of weapons into and within fragile states is complemented by the broader objectives of our aid program - poverty reduction and sustainable development – which seek to reduce the demand for weapons.
How the Australian Government responds to security threats
Millennium Development Goals
It has been 10 years since Australia and 188 other nations adopted the Millennium Declaration and committed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs are a set of measurable targets to reduce extreme poverty, hunger and disease; and to promote gender equality, education and environmental sustainability.
Australia's commitment is reflected in the doubling of its official aid since 2005, with a further doubling anticipated by 2015, and its emphasis on aid effectiveness. New programs in the areas of education, maternal and child health and food security will help accelerate progress on the MDGs over the next five years.
Australia's efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals
Climate change poses a major threat to the very survival of a number of small island states, and by its nature and impact, is a threat to us all. Australia is working hard to help shape a strong global solution. It must include credible commitments by all major economies and assistance for the most vulnerable countries.
We will contribute our share to fast-start climate change financing and ensure our adaptation funding has a clear focus on small island developing states and least developed countries.
Australia is helping the most vulnerable countries, particularly small island developing states, plan for and adapt to the impacts of climate change. We are working with Pacific, Caribbean and South and South-East Asian countries, as well as contributing to multilateral adaptation funding mechanisms like the United Nations Least Developed Countries Fund.
Australia also supports developing countries to access finance, technology and technical assistance to help reduce carbon pollution. We have established the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute to speed up the development of this important technology. We are helping to demonstrate that reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries can be part of an equitable and effective global agreement on climate change.
We are active in multilateral, bilateral and regional activities that contribute to the global effort to respond to climate change, including the UNFCCC agenda, the G20 and the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.
Achieving environmental sustainability is a key theme of the Australian aid program.