AUSTRALIA'S ENVIRONMENT INTERESTS
Australia attaches high priority to the protection, conservation and ecologically sustainable use of the environment. In international environment negotiations Australia pursues outcomes that advance its environmental and trade interests in a mutually reinforcing framework.
Australia plays a leading role in practical international efforts to address climate change. On 12 January 2006 ministers from Australia, China, India, Japan, ROK and the USA met for the first Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6) meeting in Sydney. The AP6 aims to manage greenhouse emissions while promoting economic growth and energy security. It features practical technology-based partnerships between government and business. The Australian Government is also active in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change where it is promoting practical and inclusive multilateral approaches to climate change. Australia has a series of dynamic bilateral climate change partnerships with the USA, EU, China, Japan, South Africa and New Zealand.
Australia is a driving force behind global whale conservation and is an active member of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Australia was one of the first countries to join the IWC. Australia supports whale sanctuaries and non-lethal research on whale populations to protect them as they recover from centuries of hunting. With New Zealand, Australia has argued in the IWC for the creation of a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary. At the IWC meeting in June 2006 Australia helped ensure continued protection of whales by upholding the moratorium on commercial whaling.
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity has the potential to impact on Australia as a developer and user of genetically modified organisms in agricultural applications. Although not a party to the protocol, the Australian Government engages actively at international meetings and consults closely with key domestic industries and like-minded agricultural exporting countries to protect Australia’s environmental and trade interests.
TSUNAMI WARNING MECHANISMS
The Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004 had a major impact on a number of Australia's neighbouring countries. Following the tsunami, Australia played a leading role in establishing an Indian Ocean tsunami warning system and developed a comprehensive national warning system. As part of the Indian Ocean system, Australia’s increased monitoring capacity off the west and north coast will provide vital regional coverage and early warning.