Australia pursues important national interests in the bodies that comprise the UN system. These interests are engaged primarily in the General Assembly and its committees as well as specialised agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), and affiliated organisations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The UN is important to Australia in the core areas of international security and disarmament, environment, human rights and development assistance. Australia plays a strong role in these and other UN areas such as agriculture, refugees, health and meteorology. Australia has also been active in ensuring the acceptance of arms control treaties, such as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, by the UN General Assembly, and in international environmental negotiations. The emphasis in the latter is on working towards international action which contributes to sustainable development, while protecting Australia’s national interests.
An ongoing priority for Australia is the reform of the UN so that it can effectively manage growing demands with static or declining real resources. One element of the reform program is to improve financial management. In line with Australia’s broader desire for reform of the UN, the Government decided in 2000 to promote reform of the UN treaty committee system.